Outgoing Grass Valley Mayor Lisa Swarthout, City Council Member Chauncey Poston and Supervisor John Spencer all will be recognized at Tuesday’s Grass Valley City Council meeting.
At the same time, the Berriman Ranch development goes to the council for approval (see here).
The project has fanned the flames of fairness — a recurring issue in our small towns.
“Will Berriman Ranch housing get to ‘cut in line’?” as I wrote last year.
“The Mayor is carrying water (again) for SCO Engineering — comprised of local ‘powers that be’ — and San Diego-based Asset Management to fast-track the Berriman Ranch housing project. The development is on a farm just south of McKnight Way near Highway 49,” I said at the time.
“Construction could start years earlier than targeted under the General Plan in a proposal to be discussed at Tuesday’s council meeting. It is a smaller-scale proposal than initially planned, at least at the outset.”
The details are here: Berriman 2009
“Will decision on Berriman fan flames?” I wrote later.
“Though the Council’s decision is a boon for the project’s supporters, including SCO Engineering, others are raising the issue of fairness.
“It’s just this concern — how the Council deals with changes to the general plan — that led to the Measure Z and Measure Y growth measures (AKA “let voters decide”) that were defeated last fall.”
At that time, Poston was the lone “no” vote, who raised the issue of fairness to fast-tracking this project at the expense of others.
He also was concerned that the decision would lead to piecemeal planning and still wanted to know the the plan for developing the full 121 acres, not just the current 30 homes on 10 acres.
In October, the city planning commission approved the project — this time by a 4-1 vote.
The Union, which sometimes suffers from a “revolving door” of reporters and dearth of institutional knowledge, has not included this background in its recent stories.
But letters to the editor in its archives raised concerns.
“Plans were discussed to start developing land off Picadilly for homes called Berriman Ranch. It was amazing to see three councilmen just sit on their hands as the mayor pushed for this to go through with her cohort in tow — the developer,” read a letter by Miriam Martin.
“Members of Carriage House and members of the Gazebos had comments and questions, but they mostly landed on deaf ears.”
Council members no doubt will talk up the deal as helping to pump up a downtrodden economy. But other developers, who are still waiting in line with their projects, could make the very same argument.
In addition, there is a glut of existing homes on the market.
You can expect the deal to be approved tomorrow night — and for the questions of fairness to linger.
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