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Commission still at it

Time again for the grand jury to investigate the Nevada City Planning Commission (NCPC)?

The 1993-94 Nevada County Grand Jury investigated the NCPC for citizens’ complaints, many applying to (some of) today’s commissioners.

Recent denials for construction of homes on Chief Kelly Drive are examples of whimsical abuse.



The grand jury concluded NCPC decisions appeared “inconsistent, arbitrary and capricious.

“Commissioners often appear to vote on personal preference and bias rather than impartiality.” The grand jury admonished the NCPC, “The Commission should avoid mandating compliance with their personal point of view and rather should allow individual applicant freedom while protecting the public’s interest.”




Arbitrary decisions ride in on the back of so-called “public’s interests.” Witness denial of Nielsen and Gangemi applications.

Commissioner Oberholtzer asserts they should not be built with attached garages. The NCPC consistently agonizes over setting precedents. Precedent? In the past 15 years eight new attached-garage homes were approved by the NCPC on Spring, Monroe, Austin and Drummond. Commissioner Phelps is concerned the Nielsen home is “big.” The phony “too big” issue, raised a few years ago for one home on Spring, did not stand, as four recent, adjacent homes were all larger. The grand jury said, “The Commission should avoid reducing the size of projects only for the sake of reduction.”

Phelps claims, “The home should be built to be unassertive.” Nevada City ordinances have no statutory language requiring “unassertive” construction. These NCPC decisions are inconsistent with dozens of recent home approvals. Nevada City’s planning process has been hijacked by a vocal minority hellbent on misguided political correctness as applied to home construction. The grand jury: “Is there a real threat from the project, or is it just that those testifying don’t personally care for the project?”

Mark Weyman

Nevada City Planning commissioner, 1984-88


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