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Roadblocks will cost us more for bus barn

Lately some local school officials have learned how difficult it can be to get anything built in Nevada County.

The school districts own a bus barn on East Bennett Street, but the buildings are no longer considered safe. So the plan is to tear down two structures and build another. Sounds simple enough. After all, the site has been used as a bus barn since 1961.

This is Nevada County, however, and a lot of bureaucrats and other folks have come here in the ensuing decades. Now there are a lot of documents and officials to overcome.



Apparently, some folks would like the bus barn to be somewhere else. For instance, the city of Grass Valley wants to annex the area and zone it for multi-family housing.

The property owners – the Nevada Joint Union High School District and Grass Valley, Nevada City, and Pleasant Ridge school districts – could find another location where industrial use is more common. Loma Rica was mentioned. But that would add longer commutes for the buses and drive up costs. That extra cost would come straight out of the classroom, said Terry McAteer, the county superintendent of schools.




School officials have also indicated they searched for three years without success to find another centrally located site.

To keep costs down and keep transporting students to and from the classroom, school officials would like to stay at the current site. But apparently they need to rezone the property for their project – a continuation of its existing use.

The Nevada County Planning Commission balked at the request. It’s not consistent with the county’s vision for the area, or the city’s. Forget the existing use. Forget the needs of students and parents. The bureaucrats have their paperwork.

Fortunately, the school officials appear to have won a slightly more receptive audience with the county Board of Supervisors. Instead of rejecting the project, supervisors recently told the school districts to do a noise study and obtain the blessing of Grass Valley.

While the school officials have been negotiating these hurdles, the project’s costs have risen from $350,0000 to $750,000 to $800,000. And since the school districts are operating with taxpayer dollars – our dollars – we can only wonder how much this project will ultimately cost us after the bureaucrats decide to stop throwing roadblocks in front of it.


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