Sierra Terrace housing moves forward in Grass Valley |

Sierra Terrace housing moves forward in Grass Valley

A Grass Valley project to build as many as 36 residences, most of them priced in the middle range of housing or lower, took a step forward late Tuesday.

City council members approved a zoning change for the Sierra Terrace LLC project that is being built by Philip and Pablo Zeiter. The 2.3-acre parcel sits at 130 West Berryhill Road near East Main Street and Harris Drive. Matson Creek, encased in an old and broken flume, runs through the property.

The parcel originally was zoned for commercial use. Council members voted to change the zoning to allow housing at their regular meeting late Tuesday.

The plan has changed since it was proposed last year after several meetings with the Zeiters, city staff, Vice Mayor Mark Johnson and Councilman Dale Williams.

“I think your project is better than it was seven or eight months ago. I appreciate the time and energy taken to make the changes,” Johnson said. “Is it perfect? No.”

The plan now proposes 30 units on lots ranging from 2,500 to 3,500 square feet. They would have:

– 14 detached, two-story single-family houses ranging from 1,300 to nearly 1,600 square feet. Six of them would have detached garages placed at the edges of the property. At the owners’ option, they could have apartments over them that could be rented as affordable housing, but there is no requirement that they be built or rented.

– Four duplexes with units of nearly 1,200 square feet.

– Two buildings with four units each of 800 square feet. Six of these would be sold at “affordable” rates, fulfilling the city’s requirement that 20 percent of the project be made available for sale to families earning 80 percent of the county’s median income, city associate planner Daniel Chance said.

The median income for Nevada County currently being used for calculating affordable housing is $44,500 for an individual and $63,600 for a family of four, based on the United States Census and the Consumer Price Index.

The other units would be sold at market prices. Philip Zeiter told council members he expected those prices to range from $250,000 to $450,000, given current conditions.

Members of the audience late Tuesday whistled and chuckled in response.

The median price for a single-family house sold in Nevada County in 2005 was $460,000, a price beyond the reach of most families who work in the county.

Zeiter said those sales-price estimates are very rough. He still needs to do soil work, and his costs of labor, materials and fuel are rising at a rate of about 20 percent yearly.

The project could be completed in about two years, Chance said.

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