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Nevada County supervisors tweak Outdoor Event ordinance

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to amend its Outdoor Event ordinance, allowing twice as many events per year in a move proponents say will help the event industry survive.

Supervisors voted unanimously for the changes that starting next month will allow eight events a year, so long as they are not in residential zones R1, R2, and R3. The ordinance also limits events to no more than three weekends in a row or three weekends in one month.

The amendments would also require one portable toilet per 50 people in attendance at the event, remove the criminal record check requirement, and move the permitting process to the Community Development Agency from the Sheriff’s Office, which will now review them.



“There’s no way to make money with four events per year,” said Robin Davies, Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce CEO. “With eight there’s at least an opportunity to break even, if not make money.”

Site plan requirements, attendance limitations, noise mitigation and other health and safety regulations remain unchanged.



District 5 Supervisor Richard Anderson initially had objections, believing the changes would affect residents’ quality of life, but signed on and implored the board to return to the table if more complaints are raised.

“Hopefully this will work out,” Anderson said. “But if it doesn’t there may be an uproar in the neighborhood.”

Davies said proponents are approaching the ordinance as a pilot program, willing to make changes if needed.

“It’s also a trial to see if, in fact, our existing venues … will thrive with these changes,” Davies said.

FEE WAIVER

At the meeting the board also voted unanimously to waive fiscal year 2020-21 Environmental Health permitting fees for bars, body art facilities, organized camps, restaurants, and public pools and spas in recognition of the local impact in-person business limitations due to COVID-19 have had.

Annual environmental health permits are valid from Nov. 1 to Oct. 31, and are determined by in-person capacity. Fees can range from about $100 to $1,000.

Business owners will need to fill out an online application to receive the waiver. Applicants must be in compliance with all local, state and federal regulations, including executive orders and state public health orders. They must also have completed a COVID-19 Workplace Specific Plan, be current on fees, and remain in good standing with the Environmental Health department.

Businesses that already paid for the upcoming year will be eligible for a refund or credit toward the next year’s permit.

The waiver application is still being developed. Business owners will have until Nov. 30 to submit.

MOBILE CRISIS TEAM

The board also went forward with a two-year pilot project that will pair Nevada County Sheriff’s Officers with a Behavioral Health clinician in a mobile crisis team that responds to calls ranging from domestic violence, to substance abuse issues and any crisis-related needs.

According to Sheriff Shannan Moon, while officers are already trained for crisis intervention situations, they only have three outcomes available when dealing with a mental health episode: reporting the incident and referring the patient to services on their own, determining a crime was committed and arresting them, or detaining them for an involuntary mental health hold.

Behavioral Health Director Phebe Bell said the goal of the program will be to expand those options and divert mental health patients away from the criminal justice system at the point of contact and into needed care providers.

“A trained professional person should be able to help differentiate what’s happening (with the patient) and find other ways of building rapport with that person to keep everybody safer in that interaction,” Bell said.

Moon said the program builds on other county programs that focus on treatment over criminalization, like the HOME Team and Crisis Stabilization Unit.

“The training that we do in the academy today is by far better than it was years ago when I was in the academy,” Moon said.

The team will also proactively follow-up with cases if there are not enough calls to justify the clinicians during the pilot period.

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


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