Planning Commission: Proposed Zoning Change Provokes Passionate Public Comments

The Nevada County Planning Commission meeting held yesterday in the Board Room at the Rood Center consisted essentially of one agenda item, and that item didn’t sound all that controversial:ORD10-001 Contractor’s Equipment Yard Definition and Accessory Storage.”

But the meeting was well attended both by local citizens opposed to and by contractors supportive of this proposed change to the General Plan definition of storage facilities for commercial equipment (derived from the 1983 Ballot Measure A).

The General Plan Policy 1.28 currently reads as follows:

But county staff is now recommending a modification to the General Plan zoning code to include a definition of “Contractor’s Equipment Yard” that would permit, within prescribed limits, some storage of commercial equipment on residential property.

The signature benign example cited yesterday by several commenters sympathetic to this change is the plumber parking his equipment truck, with its pipe racks and tools, in his residential driveway.

But residential critics vigorously expressed concern about the non-benign possibilities of multiple forms of conspicuous heavy equipment being located in residential neighborhoods.

Ray Bryars, who was the first member of the public to speak yesterday, had this to say in his April 25th letter to the Planning Commission:

“Dear Commissioners:

I am strongly concerned that the proposed addition of Sec. LII-3.29 will dramatically change the quality of life and cause environmental harm in our residential zoned areas.

The proposed ORD10-001 is one of the scariest ordinances I’ve seen. It gives preferential treatment to certain residents while reducing the quality of life for others. At the same time, it is putting the environment at a much higher risk level.”

Barbara Bashall, Executive Director of the Nevada County Contractor’s Association (NCCA), in her March 17th letter to the county, expressed support for a modification of the Zoning Code:

“We believe that the use, operation and storage of owner operated construction equipment is an essential part of maintaining an economically vibrant rural county character and therefore needs to be limitedly allowed in rural zoning areas. Many local contractors are small businesses that operate out of their homes. They play an important role in our local economy and their ability to do business is paramount to a successful community.”

Other commenters yesterday included Helene Hall of the Federation of Neighborhood Associations (FONA) and Laurie Oberholtzer of the Rural Quality Coalition, as well as several local contractors.

Written comments over the last several months, in addition to those already cited above, were submitted by the Scott’s Flat Road Association, SYRCL, Cascade Shores Homeowners Association, Rattlesnake Neighborhood Association, and several other individuals (all documents on this subject are available in a single county online directory here).

The Planning Commission concluded its meeting yesterday with a resolution to keep the public comment period open until its regular July 14th meeting (1:30PM), with at least one informal public workshop to be held in the meantime.

As soon as I can edit a few video clips of yesterday’s public testimony, I will post them to this blog.

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One Response to “Planning Commission: Proposed Zoning Change Provokes Passionate Public Comments”
  1. Jeff Pelline says:

    Thanks Don for covering this. NCCA vs. RQC. It never changes around here. People never see the big picture either: Who’s going to move into a community with a big rig on their neighbor’s property. And we wonder why it’s a declining population. Good for the “gated” communities though.

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