Keith Thomassen: RV resort a boost to the community |

Keith Thomassen: RV resort a boost to the community

Two recent “Other Voices” columns that appeared on Jan. 11 and 12 in opposition to a proposed RV resort across from the Nevada County Fairgrounds were expressed by two neighbors in the area. Their self-interest is understandable, as is their desire to see the land remain vacant, but we suggest the greater interest of supporters and the benefits to a larger majority should override these objections, many of which the Planning Commission felt were not cogent.

As owners, we’ve discussed this project with many businesses and individuals in the area and determined that there is broad support for this resort. Letters of support to the Planning Commission came from the Chamber of Commerce, the Nevada County Contractors Board, local business owners and many individuals.

In one letter to The Union, the author admitted, “More RV parks are needed, everywhere,” but apparently not in the author’s back yard. A city is made vibrant by the things it has to offer to residents and visitors, including a variety of businesses, recreation, the arts and entertainment, and dining.

A growing city can offer these things. Stagnant cities decay in time and people leave. So, decision makers need to take a broad view and look to the future and help shape it.

The authors’ objections are based largely on traffic fears both on normal days and during a possible fire evacuation. Let me address the points made in the commentaries.

While there is added traffic, it’s minor. If one quarter of the RVs depart each day that’s about 30 to 40 rigs coming in and out over an entire day. This is a small number compared to normal traffic flow on both South Auburn and McCourtney. We’re constructing an extra lane on South Auburn for vehicles entering from McCourtney.

Stagnating the traffic at this intersection (the confluence of three evacuation routes) with our added traffic during a local fire evacuation is equally unlikely.

First, it’s likely that the RVers would stay put, as the resort is a large open area easily protected with a fire engine sent there. Also, with the California Highway Patrol across the street, directing traffic at the intersection would certainly be done promptly. For other more distant fires, the resort could be an evacuation center as the fairgrounds are now, since a variety of services are available (showers, bathrooms, and a mini store).

Concern was expressed for the safety of bikers and pedestrians going to town. The City Manager addressed this issue at the Planning Commission meeting by noting that the city has grants to build sidewalks between the fairgrounds and Mill Street and that will be done. A bus from the fairgrounds is also available.

Another complaint is that the space would better be used by low-cost housing, but that’s not permitted in the city’s general plan. The RV resort is consistent with the plan.

One of the added attractions of this project is the annexation of neighboring properties that will have access to city services and enhance the values of those properties. Around 30 properties could have this opportunity. The Lone Star Annexation adjacent to the property has been in planning for some time. If that happens, it would create a significant synergy with the resort and the fairgrounds in creating recreational opportunities in this area for the benefit of all.

As one of the owners of the proposed resort, I can say we initiated this not simply as a business opportunity but to fill a need we saw for such a facility in this area. Our dedication on this project is to do something good for the community, do it right, and contribute to the growth of the city in which we live and work. We have the support of the Planning Commission, which voted 4 to 1 to recommend the project to the City Council.

Keith Thomassen is a retired research scientist (fusion energy) from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and university professor (MIT, UC Berkeley). He’s also a pilot and current instrument flight instructor, has written a half dozen manuals on GPS systems for aircraft, and writes articles for trade journals on the subject. He’s lived in Grass Valley for 20 years.


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