Quit using fear tactics on growth | TheUnion.com

Quit using fear tactics on growth

It’s campaign time in Nevada County, and this year it seems to be accompanied by a lot of fear-mongering about growth – in particular, about four large housing developments being proposed for annexation to Grass Valley.

The Union has written extensively about these proposals, called Special Development Areas. And that’s all they are at this point – pie-in-the-sky proposals.

None of these four plans – Loma Rica, Bear River Mill, Northstar and Kenny Ranch – has been considered at even the lowest level of government. They have been bandied about for years, going back to the 1980s, and yet Chicken Littles in our community are now running around telling people that it’s a done deal – thousands of homes are going to be built soon.

Sure, these project designs include hundreds of homes for thousands of people. But the truth is that all of them have to jump through many hoops, conduct studies, and be grilled in hearings before many public agencies. There will be workshops and other opportunities for the public to comment on the proposals, which must meet the requirements of Grass Valley’s General Plan.

Maybe one or two of the plans will be approved; maybe none of them will. But it’s way too early to be raising alarms, much less using scare tactics.

An example of this is a public forum planned for Sept. 22 in – of all places – Nevada City. The flyer says, “There are now more housing units proposed than currently exist in Grass Valley and Nevada City combined. This will change our lives. The decisions are being made this year!” And so on, with additional exclamation marks.

Some distinguished panelists have been rounded up for this forum, including Grass Valley Director of Community Development Joe Heckel, Nevada County Planning Commissioner Kurt Lorenz, County Supervisor Peter Van Zant, and Brian Bisnett, developer of Kenny Ranch. Grass Valley Planning Commissioner Jim Bair will be the moderator.

We hope these folks will tell the panicked attendees to calm down. It is not the end of the world as we know it. Members of the community will have plenty of time to send a message to their elected and appointed representatives when – or even if – these developments are actually submitted for consideration.

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