Web Exclusive: Supervisors’ decision ends ban on steep-slope home construction | TheUnion.com

Web Exclusive: Supervisors’ decision ends ban on steep-slope home construction

Dave Moller

Contractors won a battle of sorts Tuesday when Nevada County supervisors voted to let homes be built on slopes of 30 percent or more on older lots.

Supervisor Barbara Green called the move “the Los Angelization of Nevada County” and voted against it. Green said the plan could lead to septic tanks leaking onto nearby properties and increase wildfire dangers.

Supervisor Peter Van Zant also voted against the measure and said he wants a warning issued from the county building department that fire insurance may be hard to get for a home built on a steep slope.

Local builder Bruce Ivy differed with Van Zant. “Slope restrictions are about stopping growth,” Ivy said in backing the plan.

Their vote ends the county’s ban on building homes on slopes of more than 30 percent for lots subdivided before Oct. 12, 1981.

Representing the Nevada County Contractors Association, attorney Jim Curtis said the board started to think about relaxing the ban on homes built on slopes of more than 30 percent last year.

“You wanted to let people develop their property,” Curtis said.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection area chief Tony Clarabut insisted the plan include provisions to keep brush and other fire fuels cleared around homes, and he got it. “Fire behavior is extremely accelerated on steep slopes,” Clarabut said.

As part of Supervisor Sue Horne’s motion of approval, the plan included provisions for clearing fuels 100 feet around homes in grasslands and 200 feet around those in brush and timber. Clarabut said the clearing did not mean removing 100 percent of the vegetation, but did mean trimming limbs low to the ground, cutting grass and thinning brush.

Voting with Horne were supervisors Drew Bedwell and Robin Sutherland.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User