Storm damage, Loma Rica annex at GV Council meeting |

Storm damage, Loma Rica annex at GV Council meeting

City officials took stock of storm damage at Tuesday’s Grass Valley City Council meeting. At the gathering, Public Works Director Tim Kiser apprised the council of the storm damage from a series of downpours that dropped nearly a foot of rain on Grass Valley more than a week ago.

“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” said newly-appointed Mayor Dan Miller.

Kiser assessed a grim situation in which already-saturated soils did not absorb precipitation causing creeks and streams to flood, swamping areas all over town.

As Kiser apprised the council, images of partially submerged cars in parking lots and flooded homes and businesses cycled through the council’s projector. One slide captured what appeared to be a river pouring into a business drive-thru.

“This is not a storm that anyone would design to.”
— Public Works Director  Tim Kiser

While Kiser said the city’s infrastructure, such as storm drains and wastewater treatment plant, could use an upgrade, he attested that the late November storm was an unprecedented challenge to the city.

“This is not a storm that anyone would design to,” Kiser said.

Two residents implored the council to consider prioritizing funds to prepare the city for similar floods.

“I think most of us were overwhelmed,” said newly sworn-in Councilman Howard Levine.

Kiser praised the cooperation of the city’s various agencies that dealt with the storm. Police helped clear rocks washed into streets and firefighters cut down trees as Public Works staff attended to clogged drains and the city’s overflowing wastewater treatment plant, Kiser said.

“I can’t thank enough the other jurisdictions that responded,” Kiser said.

Kiser estimated that city property alone sustained between $60,000 and $80,000 worth of damage. The city was unable to provide an estimate on the total amount of private property damage, Kiser said.

While Tuesday’s council meeting was chock-full of ceremonial promotions, the appointment of a new mayor and a council member’s resignation, but perhaps the biggest news out of gathering was not on the agenda.

During the nonagendized public comment portion of the meeting, Planning Director Tom Last announced the city had annexed the 452 acres of the planned Loma Rica development.

The proposed mixed-use project is expected to feature single-family houses, cottages and multi-family units along with commercial properties.

The site abuts Loma Rica Industrial Park and Nevada County Airport.

Last was informed Tuesday afternoon that the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), which regulates district and agency borders, had filed paperwork with the Nevada County Clerk Recorder’s Office making the city’s effective annexation date Dec. 11, Last said.

While that paperwork needs to be approved by the California Board of Equalization, Last expects certification within a few weeks.

“It’s in the developer’s court at this point,” Last told The Union, noting that developer Steven Garrett of Castle Companies in San Ramon might next submit maps or development proposals.

Garrett is reportedly pursuing economic feasibility studies to determine the market priority for the first leg of development, Last said.

In addition to Miller and Levine’s ascensions, Councilman Jason Fouyer was appointed to the position of vice mayor by a unanimous vote of the new council.

Councilwoman Lisa Swarthout and former mayor Jan Arbuckle were reseated following their respective November re-elections. Levine was elected to fill Councilwoman Yolanda Cookson’s seat, who chose not to seek re-election. Cookson was honored Tuesday for her service.

To see a video of that presentation, as well as others from the meeting, visit and click on this story.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call (530) 477-4236.

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