Our View: Decision needed on Dorsey Marketplace | TheUnion.com

Our View: Decision needed on Dorsey Marketplace

The Union Editorial Board

When it comes to Dorsey Marketplace, it’s like the song says: We’ve got to make a decision.

This decision isn’t merely about an in-fill commercial and residential development at Dorsey Drive and Highway 49. It’s not only about questions of increased traffic and outside businesses coming to our town.

This is about the future of our community and what we want it to be.

This development — a proposed 172-unit apartment complex with 104,350 square feet of space for commercial and community use — potentially is a significant step toward getting closer to our housing goals. Few would argue we don’t need more housing. Under this proposal, the project would bring plenty of it to an area that’s currently a brownfield. Hospital employees could walk to work, back to Dorsey Marketplace to shop and then saunter back into their homes, all without using a car.

This development — a proposed 172-unit apartment complex with 104,350 square feet of space for commercial and community use — potentially is a significant step toward getting closer to our housing goals.

This is what we want, isn’t it?

Plenty of questions remain, and should be answered before the Grass Valley City Council gives the green light to developers. How much will the development impact traffic? What do local fire officials and first responders say about the effect to response times? Wasn’t this a major selling point of the Dorsey Interchange, that ambulance and fire engine response times would improve? What stores will fill the commercial area? Will the city place limits on what types of businesses could go there? Does it even have that power?

Elected leaders must ensure they hold public meetings addressing these questions, and answering them, before moving forward.

Our community performs a balancing act with any large development, and Dorsey Marketplace is no different. Many people oppose any large commercial development, saying it will hurt existing small businesses and change the nature of our rural town. Those in favor point to the clean up of a brownfield, which likely wouldn’t happen otherwise, along with increased housing and tax revenue from new businesses.

And the city must balance what a majority of its people want against what’s best for the community.

Our leaders must consider the amount of housing in this project that would be affordable, and decide whether they can make the project contingent on a certain percentage of the housing falling within that price range.

People must have affordable places to live if they’re going to work here, and businesses must pay a living wage in order for those employees to pay rent.

It’s a classic chicken-versus-egg problem, and it brings us right back to the decision that must be made.

The contingent of people who want to raise the drawbridge at the Bear River are loud, much louder than those who want to see the community bring jobs and housing here.

Maybe the Grass Valley City Council should listen to them. If that’s what the majority wants, why shouldn’t our government enact those wishes and put the brakes on the Dorsey Marketplace?

It shouldn’t because the council should listen to everyone who stands before it, weigh their words and make a decision founded in the best interests of the city and its residents.

And if you want your opinion heard, you must make the effort to speak it. There’s no room to complain if you don’t.

The council must consider the clean up of a brownfield, and the creation of housing and commercial space at an in-fill location. Consider the jobs created, the cost of the long-term rentals and the traffic on Dorsey Drive.

Make the decision and act on it.

Otherwise, we’ve got no plans and we’re going nowhere.

The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of informed community members, as well as editors and writers from The Union. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.


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