Nevada City Council could look into decision to deny demolition permit for burned building |

Nevada City Council could look into decision to deny demolition permit for burned building

Janet Peake was working from home when she got a call that her office of 27 years was on fire.

“I came.. and just watched it burn,” Peake, a financial consultant, said, her voice quivering.

According to Peake, far from receiving minimal damage, Wednesday’s fire that razed a vacant home in downtown Nevada City left the roof of her building — next door to the structure that completely burned — nearly caving in, with a hole in one wall completely exposing her to the elements.

Her upstairs office is now completely unusable, she said. Over the last 48 hours she’s hasn’t had time for much but to reassure clients and thank her many well wishers for reaching out.

“I’m going to start looking for another space,” Peake said. “I mean, I’ve been in that office for 27 years. So it’s kind of a shock. It’s probably still a shock and I just don’t quite know it.“

Peake believes the city has some culpability over her damaged building, saying the danger was apparent to anyone who walked by.

“It was very preventable. The (Planning Commission) should have been bending over backwards for anybody who bought that place and wanted to fix it,“ she said. “Honestly, they should be giving people a grant to get that building taken down.“

Now the City Council may be looking into the decision that left the building up.

Some council members have expressed interest into further looking into the Planning Commission decision — which stated the building should be renovated, not demolished — though no immediate plans have been announced.

“I plan to talk to one other council member about it, as allowed by the Brown Act, as I believe we have a duty to investigate these serious allegations,” Council member Doug Fleming said.

Nevada City Mayor Erin Minett could not be reached for comment Friday.

It’s unclear what actions would be on the table for the council. According to Nevada City Planner Amy Wolfson, to her knowledge a planning commissioner, appointed by council members, has never been removed.

As for Kristine Lane, owner of the vacant building on 414 Broad St., she said the building was in escrow and is now a complete loss, apart from the brick basement.

“We’re still trying to figure out what’s next, I guess,” Lane said. “It was a really cool property. Now I’ll be selling a piece of land with hopefully a really cool cellar and a garage”

According Grass Valley/Nevada City Fire Chief Mark Buttron, there has been no update in the investigation on the cause of the fire.

Nathan Tomlinson, who was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of arson, burglary and trespassing, remained in custody Friday, according to county jail records.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email or call 530-477-4229.

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