Steve E. Orlik: Giving Gilded Springs project a thumbs up |

Steve E. Orlik: Giving Gilded Springs project a thumbs up

We recently read about the proposed Gilded Springs residential project in the June 12 edition of The Union and are writing to express our enthusiastic endorsement and support for the project.

We moved to Nevada City nearly 20 years ago and, after looking at nearly 40 houses, purchased a home situated on 2.5 acres on Banner Mountain. However, now in our 60s, we find ourselves losing the enthusiasm and stamina required to properly care for a 3,200-square-foot home and forested acreage. Much as we love our home, we’ve begun to consider the options available to us to downsize in this area.

We love our community and are actively involved in many local organizations and nonprofits. However, as we’ve started to explore downsizing, we’ve become discouraged by the lack of available options that meet our vision of well-designed, high-quality, smaller-square-footage homes, close enough to Grass Valley or Nevada City to walk or bike.

Many of the local residential developments built in the last 25 years seem skewed in the direction of co-housing (e.g. Nevada City’s co-housing development on Chief Kelly; Grass Valley’s Wolf Creek co-housing); or developments of large “trophy” homes (e.g. the Cedar Ridge development in Grass Valley; and the developments in Forest Knolls, Success Cross, Altair, Jasper Agate Court and The Woodlands in Nevada City). Neither of these options appeals to us.

(W)e are compelled to express positive support to encourage the development of more infill projects like this one …

Much has been written about the need for affordable housing that will attract and retain young families to our community. This is a real issue, and it seems there are a number of projects currently in development to address this problem. By the same token, an equally compelling argument can be made at the other end of the housing spectrum. From a diversity perspective, communities also need to build developments targeted to people (often local retirees) who prefer to live in smaller-sized homes that are built with keen attention to detail, higher quality materials and craftsmanship. This kind of development has particular appeal from the standpoint of “aging in place,” along the same lines as the craftsman-style bungalows in which our grandparents enjoyed their later years.

We were beginning to think we might need to leave the area, until we read about the proposed Gilded Springs development. We believe this development will appeal to other local people like us, who wish to live in smaller scale homes close to town, built with a unique design aesthetic that complements the local ambience of our charming community.

Our understanding is that the proposed project meets all city and county development requirements and is nearing approval by the Planning Commission, which will then be followed by City Council approval.

It’s understandable that a project like Gilded Springs may engender some opposition. Yet we are compelled to express positive support to encourage the development of more infill projects like this one that considers the full spectrum of Nevada County demographics.

We believe this project represents the highest and best use of this particular infill acreage and is a wonderful complement to Grass Valley’s Community Development Plan.

Steve E. Orlik lives in Nevada City.

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