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Don Bessee: A place for everything and everything in its place

Other Voices
Don Bessee

Commercial activity in residentially zoned neighborhoods is fundamentally in conflict with their land use protections that everyone agreed to when they signed their title papers that included mandated disclosures.

There are allowed things like piano lessons and day care and there are limits on the traffic those produce in your neighborhood that are meant to protect your peace and personal space.

There is a concept that your home is your castle, but I would submit that your home is your place to relax and enjoy the fact we live in a pine forest and the joy that brings to us all. Avian joys as well as the critters wandering around who are not threatened by us. Ticks notwithstanding. A tranquil island of peace in a sea of turbulence, if you will.

For some reason the county is considering an assault on our homeowner’s rights by expanding commercial activity in peaceful residentially zoned neighborhoods.

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The idea to double the allowable events to eight from four in your neighborhood is intolerable.

They are still looking to abuse the neighborhoods again by trying to repeal or grossly modify the Outdoor Event Ordinance that became necessary to protect our neighborhood from folks who didn’t care about your block’s peace or your property values. It was all about the “Benjamins” for those abusers. Some years ago, there were people who disrespected their neighborhoods to grab a quick buck and endangered their fire evacuation routes in spite of their zoning not allowing their commercial party plans.

It was the road association folks who were having their pockets picked for road maintenance to support one property’s commercial parties that led the way from across the county to stop it with the outdoor event ordinance.

The wedding planners who did not want to pay their way were incredibly aggressive against the neighborhoods in the committee that developed the ordinance with rhetoric that did not stand up to the actual wedding license activity record. Then Chair Nate Beason bought their own industrial journal to refute the spin and hyperbole. I believe the video is still available.

Beason and Supervisor Richard Anderson were on that committee with me that included department heads, county counsel, both sides of the issue as well as fire, law enforcement to speak to the reality on the ground and the very real fire threat to neighborhoods as well as environmental health issues. Code has no presence on Friday afternoon to Monday to protect you and they knew it. That’s why we need the sheriff to protect the neighborhoods’ peace on the weekends.

Recently I was being lobbied with the line that the hospitality industry was crushed by the heartless Outdoor Event Ordinance. Yet again the facts do not support the narrative no matter who is repeating the tired narratives.

The numbers tell the story as they always do. Weddings are a trackable metric with the license data just like they were the last time around.

The average number of wedding licenses issued in Nevada County over the last five years was 453, according to the county clerk-recorder’s office.

In 2015, there 435 licenses issued.

In 2016, there were 480 wedding licenses and that was very near the highest ever. In 2017, there were 465 licenses issued. In 2018, there were 432 licenses issued. In 2019, there were 457 wedding licenses issued in Nevada County. If you live in Lake of the Pines or Lake Wildwood, you might think it’s not your issue because of your CC&Rs that won’t allow a property to do that there.

The real financial threat my friends is that they want to do for-profit events that will not generate new business but just cannibalize the business of those venues that have to pay a ton to support their commercial infrastructure in the properly zoned areas such as country clubs and event centers.

The idea to double the allowable events to eight from four in your neighborhood is intolerable. One Saturday event in your neighborhood means trucks moving in on Friday to setup then departing, the event and all the cars of the attendees in and out, then another caravan to breakdown on Sunday. Does that sound like something you want eight times a year in your neighborhood? The agricultural tourism project portion of this proposal looks totally viable and appropriate.

If you live in an R1 or RA neighborhood then you are threatened by this erosion of your established rights as a homeowner. If you live in Lake Wildwood or Lake of the Pines, the financial stability of your country club/restaurant is at risk. Tell your supervisors what you think of this assault on neighborhood rights.

Don Bessee lives in Alta Sierra.


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