Outdoor alcohol to be allowed on Mill Street in Grass Valley | TheUnion.com

Outdoor alcohol to be allowed on Mill Street in Grass Valley

Residents and visitors to Grass Valley will soon be able to enjoy an alcoholic drink within the downtown Mill Street closure on weekends.

The Grass Valley City Council on Tuesday voted to allow outdoor alcohol consumption for the purpose of supporting commerce to downtown businesses, but stressed they don’t want to encourage large gatherings or events.

The move allows the Grass Valley Downtown Association to hold a special event permit and sell alcohol downtown, which will be restricted to Friday through Sunday.

The association will need to acquire the special permit and state alcohol license before it goes forward.

The resolution also provides the police chief the authority to add restrictions, make modifications, or disallow such activities based on existing law or safety concerns.

Officials said the city is working to come up with ways to implement monitoring, signage, and ways to prevent alcohol from outside the area being brought in.


The Grass Valley Police Department was awarded a $570,000 grant that will allow it to create a homeless street outreach team consisting of an officer and Hospitality House clinician to respond to homelessness-related calls requiring de-escalation.

Between January and August last year, the department received nearly 400 calls related to homelessness leading to 55 arrests. Most of those were related to violent crimes, according to the department’s grant application.

“Absent substantial federal or state policy changes, no decrease of this trend is in sight,” Grass Valley Police Chief Alex Gammelgard told the City Council. “However, local communities are best suited to make meaningful impacts.”

The grant will fund an officer, clinician, and related expenses for the three-year program. Between calls the clinician will visit homeless camps and provide resources for services, as well as food, hygiene kits and clothing as part of an effort to build rapport with the community.

The California Violence Intervention and Prevention grant aims to reduce violence through de-escalation, and build trust by providing case management for mental health, housing and substance abuse issues.

Homeless street outreach team onboarding, including training, developing protocols and evaluation plans, is expected to be completed by November, when the program will begin.


The council also received a Public Safety Power Shut-off update from PG&E spokesperson Brandon Sanders.

Mayor Lisa Swarthout encouraged Sanders to provide the presentation and answer questions to the larger community in a town hall meeting.

Council woman Hilary Hodge agreed, saying the outreach so far has not been interactive and has not answered questions.

“This company still hasn’t answered for the fact that we have been paying for infrastructure upgrades for 30 years and now they’re backtracking and making it our fault,” Hodge said. “I think PG&E could do better by rural people.”

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

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