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Nevada City receives housing and community development grant

As announced in a City Council meeting Wednesday, Nevada City has been approved for a housing and community development grant totaling $160,000.

The grant is funded by the Senate Bill 2 Planning Grants Program. The bill is also known as the Building Homes and Jobs Act. The city submitted its application for the grant to the California Department of Housing and Community Development on Feb. 20. The application outlined five proposed projects to be undertaken upon approval of the requested funds.

The first project would be an effort toward a currently drafted “Cottage Dwelling Development Ordinance, a measure which the city says would encourage the development of small residential units. According to the city’s projection, the ordinance could result in an increase between 238 and 395 small dwelling units, increasing the housing stock within city limits by between 17% and 28%.

The second proposed project would facilitate updates to the city’s General Plan Safety Element in order to help residents in obtaining insurance coverage and potentially quicken development processing applications.

The third and fourth also involve updates to existing city documentation. The former would modify the zoning ordinance to be more transparent and waive some resident fees, with the latter funding consultation for the latest update to the city’s Housing Element.

The final project proposed by the city addresses the need for land use permitting software, the use of which the city anticipates would shorten current processing times by between two and eight weeks.

According to Nevada City Mayor Reinette Senum, it has not yet been determined which specific housing development projects will receive funding from this grant. This will be determined after City Council opens an application process for interested parties.

Senum shared what she envisions for possible additions to Nevada City’s available housing as aided by this grant.

“What I’m looking for, just personally as a council member, is just creativity about how to house people,” she said. “That can include anything from including some type of economic development within the housing, to making sure it’s as safe as possible for catastrophic fire, or the use of alternative energy.”

Senum added that her primary focus with regards to future housing development in the city is affordability, with an emphasis in workforce housing.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union.

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