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‘Youth of today’ making choices for tomorrow

Eileen JoyceYouth representative Amanda Courtney listens to discussion at an NH 2020 Community Advisory Committee meeting at St. Joseph's Cultural Center in Grass Valley on Thursday.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Natural Heritage 2020 is defined as a planning process for the future, and 17-year-old Amanda Courtney thinks youth should have a say.

Most of the people making decisions for Nevada County’s future are “old,” said the Nevada Union High School senior and NH 2020 Community Advisory Committee youth representative. “But they’re not the ones that are going to have to deal with their decisions – it’s the youth of today.”



Courtney took a seat on the advisory committee last October as part of her senior project at Nevada Union, but started attending meetings long before that.




With all the scrutiny that surrounded NH 2020 and the talk about property rights restrictions, Courtney said, she wanted to find out what it was all about and how the process would impact her family’s ranch near French Corral.

Courtney said she got involved because she plans to move back here after college and wants to participate in the future of Nevada County.

“There has to be some give and take on both sides,” she said.

She said she doesn’t agree with all the NH 2020 recommendations, but stressed that Nevada County needs some type of conservation plan.

She pointed to Litton Hill near Nevada Union to illustrate her point.

“My mom has pictures when there were pear trees on Litton Hill, and it was beautiful; and now it’s consumed by development,” Courtney said. “I don’t want to live in Nevada County if it’s going to turn into Roseville, where acres and acres of ag land have been paved over by urban development.”

On the other hand, the diplomatic youth said, the concerns of property owners who oppose NH 2020 must also be heard.

“When I sit on the committee, I look at the positives and negatives and how it’s going to affect Nevada County. You have to consider all sides,” she said. “We need a conservation plan that allows private property owners the right to utilize their land for the uses they desire.”

Courtney will attend Fresno State this fall, where she’ll major in agricultural education and biology, and after graduation plans to return to Nevada County and teach at Nevada Union.

But aside from teaching, Courtney wants to stay involved in planning for Nevada County’s future in a big way.

“When I come back, I’m going to run for supervisor, because I believe we need someone who’s open-minded and seeks all opinions,” Courtney said. “I would love to see a supervisor that listens to a) the youth, and b) everybody in the county that has an opinion.”

Courtney brings a youthful perspective to the NH 2020 planning process, said Nevada County Planning Director Mark Tomich.

“She’s the next generation of our community, and the values she expresses will help shape land-use policy for her generation,” Tomich said. “She brings the perspective of those who will inherit Nevada County.”


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