Instead, the sound bite of “no more regulation” — so prevalent in politics now — carried the day.
Though a bitter pill to swallow, Grass Valley could have taken a cue from neighboring Nevada City, which has been blasted for strict planning for years but — frankly — enjoys more prestige as a “postcard-perfect” Sierra Foothills town.
A movie called “The Chirstmas Card” with Edward Asner was filmed in Nevada City, which has been good for business and civic pride. Visitors still mention it when they come into town.
Real estate values in downtown Nevada City neighborhoods are holding up better than their counterparts in Grass Valley too, for the most part.
There’s much potential for Grass Valley, and it has some real advantages over Nevada City — like flat streets for better walkability. And to be sure, we were proud to promote Grass Valley on the cover of our current magazine, promoting it as a “destination” in the foothills.
Grass Valley’s proposed historic preservation ordinance — sensible in addressing the fronts of homes, for example — reflected a pragmatic business mindset, not the creep of regulations by liberal “do-gooders.”
Grass Valley still suffers from a simplistic “all or none” view of “regulations” — much to its detriment. Some long-timers who spoke out against the ordinance grew up in the town, presumably making them more passionate about preservation.
The Council will tackle the issue again in July, but it’s likely to be watered-down guidelines. Whether you like it or not, most of the great historic towns in California and the West have more than “guidelines” supporting them — they have historic preservation ordinances.
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