Housing challenge on once more by Tech Middle

A proposed 71-unit development of homes and town houses next to the Nevada City Tech Center has a second chance.

The City Council this week unanimously approved The Grove, whose building permit had elapsed after an initial approval in 2017.

Council members were enthusiastic about the plans put forward by the same company that developed the Tech Center, Campus Property Group, for nearly 13 acres of a 19.6-acre site at 500 Providence Mine Road.

“I just look at the need of housing in the community,” council member Gary Petersen said. “I think it is entirely appropriate in our community. That is one of the things I think is really important about it. I’m not going to stand in the way of this project at all.”

Among the residences will be 15 single-family lots grouped together. Lots will be sold as undeveloped parcels for custom homes, City Planner Amy Wolfson told the council. The lots are grouped together around a common landscape area and will include a community garden.

Living space of the town houses and homes to be sold at market price will range from 1,250 square feet to 2,100 square feet. A number of the homes are proposed to incorporate an accessory dwelling unit, or granny unit.

“We’re looking to partner with a builder, a partner who is trying to create the right sense of community,” said Robert Upton, co-founder of Campus Property Group. “We would not be building the clustered homes, the 44 units. We’re looking for a builder to purchase the property or joint-venture it with us. We don’t have the capability to operate as a builder in Nevada City.”

Vice Mayor Duane Strawser recalled he was on council from the beginning of the project when it was initially launched.

“It was scrutinized from top to bottom by the council, planning commission and members of the community,” he said. “Robert Upton and his group met our requirements, the look, the style — and we were adamant the homes have a walk-ability to the Tech Center and allow the children in the homes to get to one of the schools in the proximity easily. So, I’m looking forward to this coming back through again.”

The project’s original building permit expired 24 months after it was issued. Upton said the process in California can be complicated, especially with California Environmental Quality Act standards that must be met.

The next step once a builder is secured will be grading the landscape. Upton said he does not have a precise timeline but said he hoped construction would start before the end of the year.

“I’m actually glad to see this project moving forward,” Mayor Erin Minett said. “It’s been a long time coming.”

Normally, the Planning Commission has the authority to approve tentative subdivision map applications, said Wolfson. But the City Council is required to make a specific finding for proposals of more than 35 lots intended to promote the health, safety and welfare of the community.

Nevada City Tech Center office, a research and development complex, was completed 14 years ago by the Campus Property Group, a Bay Area real estate developer established in 1998 by co-founders Upton and Michael Hooper.

William Roller is a staff writer for The Union. He can be reached at [email protected]

The City Council this week unanimously approved The Grove, whose building permit had elapsed after an initial approval in 2017.
Courtesy Campus Property Group

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