Paul Matson: No reason to remove areas from Nevada City’s Sphere of Influence |

Paul Matson: No reason to remove areas from Nevada City’s Sphere of Influence

It was my privilege to serve as a Nevada City Council member for 20 years. For 15 of those years, I also served as a Nevada County LAFCo commissioner.

In 1987, Nevada City’s Sphere of Influence was created and then adopted by LAFCo. Our sphere is and was based on those areas that drain to the Nevada City Wastewater Treatment Plant by gravity flow; in other words, the Deer Creek watershed. Grass Valley used the same principle with their Wolf Creek watershed. The spheres are land areas in which each respective city has a say in what happens there.

I see no reason to remove any of the areas LAFCo staff recommends for removal from Nevada City’s Sphere of Influence. One example that stands out glaringly and that should be retained is the area south of Banner Lava Cap Road. It should absolutely remain in the city’s sphere.

It meets the criteria of “gravity flow,” is residentially developed, and has Nevada City addresses. This neighborhood already uses many city services by way of shopping, public schools, employment, parks and recreation.

It also serves as an extremely important buffer and demarcation between our sphere and Grass Valley’s. This region separates the two towns from each other and outlines the borders of our unique identities as incorporated cities and neighboring communities.

Additionally, the Environmental Impact Report notes that there is little negative impact from including this and other areas within the city limits, at some point in time. I believe the original price for creating the EIR was $77,000.

“The city is capable of providing service to this and all other areas within the existing Nevada City Sphere of Influence. This has been the case with previous annexations such as Grass Valley Group, Robinson Enterprises, Northridge Inn, Gold Flat Industrial Park, Church of the Lube, Nevada City Elks, the Providence Park Office complexes, and the Eric Rood Administration Center,” states Assistant Nevada City Engineer, Bill Falconi.

One big highlight of my LAFCo tenure was the hearings for the incorporation of the Town of Truckee. Truckee had the brilliance, foresight and good fortune to incorporate 34 square miles within its city limits! They took “ownership” of their sphere. It runs from Donner Lake all the way to the agricultural inspection station. While I thought it rather large at the time, I now see the brilliance of what they accomplished. Nevada City is entitled to the same privilege by retaining the integrity, size and scope of its Sphere of Influence.

When there were public hearings held at the Eric Rood Administration Center some years ago, the Supervisors’ Chambers were packed to the brim with people supporting Nevada City and its Sphere of Influence just as it stands. They would return once again if that was possible.

Since that is not possible due to the pandemic, you can comment through the Commission’s Executive Director SR Jones at Ask that your comments be read into the record. Comments need to be received by 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19, to be included in the record for the meeting on the following day. To view the agenda and learn how to watch the meeting please visit

Paul Matson, who lives in Nevada City, is a former Nevada City City Council member and current member of The Union Editorial Board. His opinion is his own and does not reflect the viewpoint of The Union or its editorial board. Write to him at

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