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Troubled trail in Nevada City could close

Nevada City could craft an ordinance prohibiting sitting, sleeping and lying down during dusk hours on the public trail between the Stonehouse Restaurant and Red Castle Inn, according to City Attorney Jim Anderson.

Business owners and some nearby residents have asked for the changes to curtail long-term problems with some transients using the trail to allegedly drink alcohol or use drugs, as well as bother customers and others with loud and obnoxious behavior. It remains uncertain whether the owners will get what they want when Nevada City council members discuss the issue tonight.

Anderson makes no specific recommendations calling for an ordinance, but in a report to the City Council he details legal precedents regulating public trail access.



Specific restrictions such as ones banning sitting, sleeping and lying down during dusk hours can withstand legal muster, while general standards for all hours of the day on any public property have been struck down by courts, according to Anderson’s findings.

Council members could direct city staff tonight to draft a prohibition ordinance.




Some concerns exist, however.

“I’m not sure we can do this,” said Councilwoman Sheila Stein referring to a prohibition ordinance. “What does this mean for Red Castle Inn guests walking back to the bed and breakfast on the trail late at night,” she added.

Enforcement would be difficult, Police Chief Lou Trovato has said.

“If I had more people, I’d be there more often,” Trovato said at a council meeting earlier this month. Police need more officers for successful enforcement, he added.

Former Mayor and Red Castle Inn owner Conley Weaver wants the prohibition soon.

“As mayor, I couldn’t do anything because of conflict of interest rules,” Weaver said. Weaver served as mayor from April 2004 to July 2006.

Now that he’s no longer mayor, Weaver is banding together with Stonehouse Restaurant owners and others to form a “neighborhood watch,” according to a letter from John Vodonick, one of the Stonehouse Restaurant owners.

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To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail gregm@theunion .com or call 477-4234.


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