Past decisions haunt quaint Nevada City, need rectifying
Another new year. Another chance to make up for things we did not accomplish in the past. And another opportunity for the powers that be in Nevada City to make up for a muddled mess that those who have gone before them have placed us in.
To set the record straight, I did approve, with some reservation, the plans of the people who were involved in keeping Nevada City a quaint Victorian city.
It was only when the decisions were made to capitalize on this quaintness that I began to wonder. I saw that the coming of tourists, who by all means had the right to begin the search for property in my hometown, would mean that others, who had just recently moved to Nevada City, would think that we needed to put constraints on the number of people we allowed in. These newcomers also would want to limit what others wanted to do with their property.
I still believe that when a home or a piece of property comes up for sale, anyone has the right to buy it. Future visions for that property may not be feasible, but, in all fairness, it should be talked about in public meetings, not private back-room encounters with those people who believe Nevada City must not change.
I really didn’t mind the newcomers at first. But I began to wonder where these people were taking us when they became part of city government.
They began changing my town into something they perceived as not a quaint Victorian city, but what they considered as a traditional Victorian village that had no opportunity to grow and change as all cities must eventually do.
Sitting through a Nevada City Planning Commission meeting today will show you just how far out in left field most of the commissioners sit. It will also show you that most of them are only puppets of the people that want Nevada City to be kept for the elite. They want no affordable housing for anyone.
Up to the present time, only one serving Nevada City planner spends his time looking through past variances given to a particular piece of property. The others, including one who has been there and been a City Council member as well for the most part of the time spent since moving to Nevada City, find the the efforts too time-consuming to rightfully look into the changes that a person wants to make to any particular piece of property within the city limits, as well as some properties outside of the city limits that they deem will have an impact on the city itself.
With apartment rentals starting at $450 a month and houses sometimes three times that amount – one that would accommodate a family of four starts at over $800 a month – it is not feasible for any young family to find a place to live inside the city limits of Nevada City. The price of a home that is deemed ready to move into starts at $280,000. The ghost that runs through one high-profile house on Broad Street must be ranting and raving at the new price, over $700,000. How can he possibly haunt new owners at that price?
Too bad, you say. And I say, what a shame.
These people who are looking for affordable housing are not the dregs of the community. They are people who serve you your dinner, keep the all-night markets and service stations open so that you can get anything you forgot at a moment’s notice, as well as fill your gasoline tank when you need to take an emergency trip. They are also the people who answer the call when you dial 911.
Think about it.
Affordable housing, apartment house complexes as well as multi-storied parking facilities can be made to fit into the Victorian atmosphere. Nevada City can continue to be the queen of the Sierra Nevada foothills by working with developers who are not only interested in making money, but who are willing to work with city planners and city engineers with future development.
The new year gives us all a chance to wipe the slate clean. May the City Council and the city planners of Nevada City give that idea more than thought – it is now time to do more than look at the mistakes of the past. It is time to rectify them.
Rosalee Evans, a resident of Nevada City, writes a monthly column.
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