Traffic worries stall Chapa-De clinic
In an unusual move, a Grass Valley city councilman has appealed a decision to allow a nonprofit organization to build medical offices at the corner of Sierra College Drive and East Main Street.
Chapa-De Indian Health Program Inc. of Auburn wants to build a 42,336-square-foot medical clinic on 12.1 acres. The Grass Valley Planning Commission approved the project with a 3-2 vote Oct. 15.
City Councilman Steve Enos, who filed the appeal Wednesday, said he stepped forward because no one else did. “This appeal is about three things,” he said Thursday. “Traffic, traffic, traffic.”
The impact methodology used for the traffic study is wrong and Chapa-De’s study is inadequate, said Enos, a former professional county planner. Enos, who paid $966.72 to file the appeal, said he wants to make sure road improvements are in place to handle the traffic.
Chapa-De representatives could not be reached for comment Thursday. However, in past letters and presentations to the City Council, representatives have repeatedly said their client’s traffic study has met all city requirements.
Enos said the traffic study should have used figures provided by the Institute of Transportation Engineers. Instead, the study used trip-generation data from Chapa-De’s facility in Auburn. (City staff said Oct. 15 that that was appropriate.)
Enos said he will vote on the appeal, citing an opinion by the city attorney issued Aug. 29.
City Attorney Claude Biddle wrote that council members can testify before the Planning Commission, appeal decisions made by it, and depending on the circumstances, vote on the appeals.
“It would depend on the scope and nature of the testimony at the Planning Commission hearing,” Biddle wrote. “Merely expressing one’s concerns regarding a particular aspect(s) of a proposed project would not appear to disqualify the person with such concerns from sitting on an appeal to the council.”
Biddle also wrote that in some cases, “personal embroilment in the issues and demonstrated animosity at the Planning Commission may disqualify the council member from participating in the appeal hearing.”
City Councilwoman DeVere Mautino, who could not recall another instance when a council member appealed a Planning Commission decision, said Chapa-De is not a bad project. “(But) it’s going to increase traffic, and we are going to have to look into that.”
Community Development Director Joe Heckel said the City Council will hear the appeal within 45 days. That public hearing has not yet been set.
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