Nevada County pushes for power shut-off prep | TheUnion.com
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Nevada County pushes for power shut-off prep

John Orona
Staff Writer

In advance of fire season, Nevada County officials are pushing PG&E to ensure Grass Valley and Nevada City will have electricity during Public Safety Power Shut-offs this year.

During a Tuesday Board of Supervisors presentation, PG&E spokesperson Brandon Sanders laid out the company’s plans to make any outages “smaller, shorter and smarter” this time around.

According to Sanders, the company will be installing sectionalizing devices that will allow it to create micro-grids capable of keeping the power on with generators, as the Glenbrook Basin area of Grass Valley did last year. Five sectionalizing devices were installed within the county last year with plans for 16 more this year, which should also reduce the number of people affected by each outage, Sanders said.

Ideally, the changes would be implemented within the next four months, but one major hurdle is overhead power lines along Highway 49 connecting Grass Valley to Nevada City. According to Sanders, with major brush growth in the area the lines could pose significant enough danger to put the plan in jeopardy if the vegetation is not cleared. PG&E is currently studying the scope of that work.

Other step-ups from last year announced by PG&E include more weather stations and high-definition cameras that will help it monitor and pinpoint fire hazards. Sanders said PG&E was also considering more than 50 sites to expand community resource centers, including two indoor locations.

“I have to say this all sounds really good,” Supervisor Ed Scofield said. “But we will see.”

GRANT

During the meeting supervisors also approved a grant agreement with the Homeless Resource Council of the Sierras that will provide $300,000 in flexible funding for housing initiatives.

The funding opportunity was unique in that the county applied jointly with the area Continuum of Care. Typically the entities compete along with nonprofits for funding.

Because the agencies agreed on how the money should be used, they were able to work together and improve their chance of getting funding.

“It’s the first time they are giving it directly to a county,” said Nancy Baglietto, executive director of Hospitality House. “It’s unprecedented. We’re trailblazing.”

Hospitality House will get $160,000 of the funding; $100,000 will go toward flexible housing subsidies that could be used to help people pay for housing deposits or first and last months’ rent; and $40,000 will go toward emergency/extreme weather sheltering.

The money will be available to the county immediately.

Supervisors also approved an ordinance allowing residents in zones R1 and RA to own chickens.

The move allows residents with at least a 6,000-square-foot property to have up to four chickens; eight chickens for people with 10,000 square feet of space; and up to 14 chickens for residents with a minimum of 20,000 square feet of space.

Commercial operations are not allowed, though people can share eggs with their neighbors. To own chickens residents must have a fenced in, single family dwelling with a secured pen or coup on site and must be able to manage manure and feed properly.

No roosters are allowed.

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


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