Real-estate offices can stay downstairs in downtown Nevada City |

Real-estate offices can stay downstairs in downtown Nevada City

Nevada City real-estate agents can rest easier today, knowing street-level locales are safe for such businesses downtown.

The city’s Planning Commission Thursday night squashed a proposal that could have required such businesses be located upstairs if they could not obtain a special permit.

An idea to prohibit street-level nonretail uses ” such as real estate and loan offices ” in downtown was initially proposed several months ago.

Planning Commission Chairwoman Laurie Oberholtzer said the proposal stemmed from a “concern that we as are getting in downtown too high a mix of nonretail uses, which creates less commercial vitality downtown.”

These offices would have been required to either obtain a permit to operate on the street level or locate upstairs.

Oberholtzer had supported the plan, but it was dropped after the commission heard several business members from the community speak in opposition to it Thursday.

Oberholtzer said the new regulation “would not affect businesses that are there now,” but local business owners were not convinced it was a good idea.

Patrick Dyer, owner of Utopian Stone Goldsmith on Broad and Pine, said he was leery of putting any sort of governmental prohibition on the types of uses downtown.

“It is my feeling it needs to be left to natural selection,” Dyer said.

Real estate businesses would have been most affected by the prohibition. Chairs at Thursday’s meeting were filled by several local Realtors ready to defend their spaces downtown.

Realtors who spoke said they considered themselves to be “ambassadors of Nevada City” because they direct their clients to local restaurants and shops.

“Even though people come to Nevada City to meet our agents, they are shopping,” said Mimi Simmons, owner of Cornerstone Realty Group.

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