Nevada City considers street closures, affordable housing project | TheUnion.com
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Nevada City considers street closures, affordable housing project

John Orona
Staff Writer

Nevada City could get funding to build a 56-unit affordable housing complex on Ridge Road and Zion Street.

The Nevada City Council on Wednesday heard a presentation from county and regional housing officials about funding opportunities for the Cashin’s Field Affordable Housing Community Project, initial designs of which feature two outdoor/play areas, a community center and open green space.

The complex would include 11 one-bedroom units, 30 two-bedroom units, and 15 three-bedroom units, with one manager unit.

According to Nevada County Housing and Community Services Director Mike Dent, the county was allocated $424,000 in federal Disaster Recovery Multifamily Housing Program funding. The money stems from the 2017 Lobo Fire that burned 880 acres and destroyed at least 30 structures near Rough and Ready.

Additionally, the county will apply for $3.5 million in special disaster tax credits available to counties victim to the 2017 and 2018 fires. Officials expect to find out in September if they receive funding.

If funded, developers expect construction to begin spring 2021 with families able to move in summer 2022.

A community meeting on the project is planned for May 26.

STREET CLOSURE

The council tabled an ordinance that would suspend parking meter fees and close several blocks on Broad Street to vehicle traffic.

The city instead will allow businesses to use parking spaces in front of their property for outside dining or waiting areas while they monitor how the recent changes play out.

“If (businesses) want to then we can help them out and Public Works can bring the barricades over for them,” Nevada City Police Lt. Chad Ellis said at the meeting.

Businesses between the 200-400 blocks of Broad Street wanting to use their two parking spots for social distancing space need to get approval from the Nevada City manager.

The council plans to bring back the ordinance potentially closing the street from 6 a.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Monday at its next meeting after getting more feedback from the public.

The ordinance was proposed before Nevada County was approved to reopen dine-in restaurants and more businesses, and was meant to encourage social distancing and create an environment for people to patronize businesses that are open, Ellis said.

According to Ellis, the businesses he was able to speak to were split on whether the change would help in bringing in customers or give them no place to park. Other public commenters were concerned about how sanitary the city could keep the area and whether it may attract people from outside the county, potentially increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19.

City officials cautioned, if approved, it would not be a full reopening.

“We aren’t encouraging travelers, we aren’t doing events,” council member Erin Minett said. “It’s a slow roll-out.”

5G amendments on hold

The council also postponed a discussion that would amend the city’s 5G wireless telecom ordinance.

The city formed a working group last year to make changes to the ordinance after some residents felt it did not have enough protections. The working group conferred with the city’s counsel to create recommendations that would be stronger but still within the limited authority the city has to regulate telecommunications.

However, the amendments set to be voted on were not what the working group agreed to, Olson said.

“In a cursory review we heard back from the working group that there may have been some things that weren’t exactly as originally intended,” Olson said. “I think things got a little confused trying to put that together for the agenda at the last minute like that.”

Olson said the working group didn’t have much time to review the city counsel’s redraft of the ordinance before it went on a previous agenda.

The recommendations will be updated and the item will resume at the May 27 council meeting.

During the meeting the council also declared a fiscal emergency, which Olson said would allow for “personnel adjustments” and may help in getting funding from the governor and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The city is facing a $40,000-$50,000 shortfall this year and expects a deficit between $420,000 and $440,000 next year.

Olson said the city expects to use some funds that have already been committed to make up for the shortfall.

The city will hold a budget workshop on Wednesday.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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