Jerry Henderson: No to hotel; yes to housing
Do you want more congestion at the intersection of Brunswick and East Main? Do you want to remove affordable housing to make room for a fast-food restaurant and a bank?
The Brunswick East Main intersection is already racked with congestion. Now a developer wants to increase the traffic at this intersection by building a hotel, a bank, and a drive-through restaurant. Yes, you read that right. Another drive through restaurant in “Burger Basin.”
When you’ve been sitting at that traffic light waiting for several turns of the signal haven’t you said to yourself, “I’d sure like to have another drive though restaurant”? Likely not.
And, to make this development possible, low-cost rentals housing about 30 people will be torn down to make room for the hotel, bank, and drive-through restaurant. The housing element of the General Plan cites a need for more low-income housing in Grass Valley. Yet here is a proposal that will require the removal of housing to make room for commercial development — development for which there is no demonstrated need.
In fact, the property is currently zoned for residential and office and professional use. Zoning is a planning tool. But in this city, zoning is almost useless. What is all too typical in Grass Valley is that a developer comes along with a plan that is not in tune with the zoning for a parcel. What the developer does is submit an application that includes a zoning change to accommodate the planned development. Too often the proposal is accepted with the zoning change. I submit that if the city thinks a property is improperly zoned then the city should rezone that property. It shouldn’t be left to a developer to determine the zoning for a property.
A case in point is the proposed Dorsey Marketplace. It is currently zoned as commercial/business park. For the development to proceed the zoning must be changed to commercial/retail. If the city believes that the opening of the Dorsey interchange calls for a rezoning of the parcel, then the city should have rezoned the property. But what happened is that the developer acquired the property after it was clear that the interchange would be built. The final application will include changing the zoning to match the proposed development.
If you think that low-cost housing is important, if you want to let those 30 people stay in their homes, if you don’t want more congestion, if you think we have enough fast-food restaurants you have to get involved.
And here’s how you do that. Contact Kristi Bashor, email@example.com, and ask to be put on the mailing list for meetings of the Development Review Committee, Planning Commission, and City Council. This is where the decisions are made.
If you don’t go to these meetings, you’ll wake up one day to find yourself waiting longer in traffic at that light at Brunswick and East Main and 30 people will be put out of their homes.
Jerry Henderson lives in Grass Valley.
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