Poll results not positive for Nevada City business district
Nevada City Chamber of Commerce members dealt a setback to the city’s nascent business improvement district in an internal poll tallied Tuesday.
Only a third of the 358 chamber members returned the mailed ballots, but 83 of the 126 respondents voted to withhold support from the district.
The vote does not rule out the district’s creation, which supporters say would attract local shoppers, boost community cohesiveness, and ensure all core Nevada City businesses participate in joint efforts.
Each business within the district ” which stretches from the Broad Street split to Sacramento Street and from the intersection of York and Pine streets to the Pine Street bridge ” would pay less than $1 a day and eventually be able to vote how to govern themselves.
The chamber polled its members to determine whether it would support the district, president Bob Buhlis said.
District supporters would like to link chamber and district fees for downtown businesses, so each business owner would only pay one fee.
The chamber vote puts that plan in jeopardy.
Buhlis said he doesn’t know if the chamber will actively oppose the project. Its Board of Directors will meet next week to determine the group’s response, Buhlis said.
Buhlis said he was disappointed that only 126 chamber members had voted.
“I’m not too sure that everybody understood all the benefits and advantages and disadvantages,” Buhlis said. “Lots of times, that’s the case when people don’t vote.”
Pam White, owner of Prospector’s Nursery and a chamber member, said she didn’t vote.
“I didn’t vote because I really didn’t have time,” White said. “I don’t usually like to vote unless I’m really clear (on the issues).”
Chamber member Jane Smith, a co-owner of Sisters Consignment Boutique, also didn’t vote.
She said she was originally opposed to the district, but had learned recently of its benefits.
“I hadn’t come to a definite conclusion. I felt like I needed more clarity about what they were going to do,” Smith said. “I think that’s why they didn’t make it.”
Peggy Peterson, owner of Asylum Down and Yabobo, voted for the project.
“Any energy that someone is going to put in it, must be good, right?” Peterson said.
Business improvement district supporters Stu Wolfson, co-owner of Maiden Lane, Leonard Berardi, owner of Mountain House Books, and Lee Ann Brook, of Brook Design Group, were not available for comment Tuesday.
To create a district, the plan must be supported by a majority of business owners within district boundaries and have the authorization of the Nevada City City Council.
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