Scoop: Nearby owners nix new Hospitality House plan in Grass Valley

Nearby owners rejected a proposal that was needed to clear the way for a new Hospitality House in Grass Valley, according to Executive Director Cindy Maple.

The action puts the new Hospitality House in jeopardy, despite a $1 million government grant to help build it.

“We did not get a positive vote from the neighboring property owners in order to amend the CC&R’s,” Maple wrote on her Facebook page last night. “Only 3 of the owners were in favor. Not much else I can say at the moment.”

I spoke to Maple last night, and she confirmed the action. She tried to remain upbeat.

Building “Utah’s Place,” named after Utah Philipps, had been a longtime goal for many residents. The City of Grass Valley had supported the plan. A vocal group opposed the plan, however, based on safety and other philosophical concerns.

The location planned for Hospitality House, at 964 Golden Gate Terrace in a light industrial area, has a CC&R attached to its title that restricts property use for residential purposes. The parcel is part of a 16-lot subdivision.

Maple had hoped to work out an arrangement with the property owners.

Other plans to help the homeless in our community are running into opposition. Divine Spark’s plan in Nevada City to feed the homeless also has been derailed.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

17 thoughts on “Scoop: Nearby owners nix new Hospitality House plan in Grass Valley”

  1. This is a bunch of BS. A group that hasn’t met in years are now holding the keys to the building. We have a long way to go as species if we cannot even be there for each other during the worst economic times in over 70 years. Hospitality House is proven good for our community. I guess this is NIMBY at its worst.

  2. What a shame…..and I do mean shame.

    Shame is a painful emotion caused by a sense of guilt, shortcoming or impropriety.

    Leading up to Good Friday, the date of crucifixion, which many are celebrating today, one of the most important acts was the ritual washing of the feet of the Apostles by Jesus Christ

    “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

    I am not a Christian, but I have learned and internalized this from western Civilization: we may judge a society and its ethics by how we treat the least fortunate, not by the acclaim we give the most fortunate.

    I am ashamed that in our community we care so little for the homeless that we would value our property, status and ego above the lives of others.

    The most important message of western Civilization, which as an agnostic/atheist/secular humanist I must partially credit to religion, is that the greatest value is love…love of our fellow man…love of dignity…love enough to wash the feet of your fellow man when you face your own sorrow, betrayal and pain.

    We should be ashamed.

    Hospitality House is welcome in my neighborhood any day….

    Kudos to you Cindy Maple for advancing Utah House, and may you find a location where your friends will be welcomed into the love of the community.

  3. If this location did not work out, and likely the homeowner’s covenant can’t be broken, or the legal expense to make the attempt would be too great, HH BOD should keep looking, as I’m sure they will. A problem I can see, which might play into the NIMBY factor, is that HH will not accept applicants with drug and alcohol addictions, and probably obvious “crazies,”and turned away, these people can be a problem for the neighborhood. Reasonably, they should not be mixed in with the general homeless population which includes children and women, but some separate provision should be made for them other than sleeping on the street or overnight in a jail cell. Something needs to be worked out for this problem, possibly in conjunction with other organizations or agencies with similar programs to help those in need of community support and understanding.

  4. Too bad as this site was in foreclosure, but now let the bank get it back…..

    I think that your grant will expire shortly too if you don’t have a site and are moving. Maybe you can find something in the Crown Point area?

    I’m a bit disappointed that the group in charge of acquiring this building didn’t check into the CC&R’s (in the first place) as that’s what all businesses do when they are looking at a specific site with a “unusual” usage such as HH.

    Best of luck finding in finding a second site and if nothing else values are still down, but move quickly as things will rebound and you’ll have wasted a lot of time and have nothing….

  5. The lesson I take away from the Greg Mortenson scandal is that many, including Mortenson, were carried away with the story and assumed there were results. What are the results of the hospitality house in the long run for its recipients?

    I never favored the Mortenson model of building schools instead of building lives and I question what I might understand about the Hospitality House. Are the homeless learning to find stability and purpose in their lives or is this just a band-aid?

    I’m involved with the homeless problem on my own in several ways now and I question the shelter concept unless it is a transition to something sustainable and better.

    Please educate me if you disagree-but note these are all questions- or have something more to add.

    1. Hi, Greg. . . (The Salvation Army) works very closely with HH and I have been quite impressed at their “success” rate in finding housing for the guests that they have at the center. The HH is involved in the HPRP (Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program) as a major partner and are very committed to getting them housed, seeing them make and keep appointments at One-Stop or other community agencies, and giving them good guidance in better decision making. After 20 years of working with homeless shelters in five other communities, HH has the best track record I have ever seen (and I have to humbly admit, even beats many of the Army shelter rates).

      Martha Sheppard, Captain
      The Salvation Army
      Grass Valley – Nevada County

      1. Thank you Martha! That is really good to hear. I’m involved in a homeless project in Davis. It sounds like I could learn something from HH.

  6. Greg, 90 percent of our guests move on to other housing, go back to their families or find other ways to live. HH gives people a chance to stabilize their lives and move on. HH is not a warehouse or a day-care center. We have staff actively dedicated to helping our guests rise out of homelessness. I know this, because I am a staff monitor at HH.

    1. Thanks, glad I asked. Are you somewhat selective to have a 90% transition success? That sounds too high the way I have been imagining it.

  7. Greg, yes, we are very selective. We have zero tolerance for alcohol. Every guest is breathalyzed every day. Every guest is cleared with the Grass Valley Police Department. No sex offenders are allowed. Violence, thievery, possession of illegal drugs and other unacceptable behavior is grounds for termination from the program.

  8. While I support the efforts of HH and I support the need for a shelter I find it hard to deal with those that refuse to look at the negatives resulting from transients and the negative impacts HH has on my neighborhood and the downtown area.

    One thing I am concerned about is the quality of the screening process at HH. Here’s an example:

    Tom Durkin posted “No sex offenders are allowed”.

    Tom… is it true that in 2010 an HH volunteer/worker was arrested for failing to register as a sex offender? This person is a pedophile that was convicted of indecent liberties with a child and child porn.

    Why was a convicted pedophile helping out at HH where childeren sometimes stay with their parent? Why did HH fail to know about this guy? Did HH screen him and if not why not? Since kids and females use HH having a sex offender, an unregistered sex offender helping out at HH sure doesn’t instill a lot of faith in the operation.

    In addition I keep hearing the claim how folks that drink and do drugs are not allowed at HH. But the reality shows a number of HH guests do drink and use drugs during the day before they return back to HH for the evening.

    A number of people arrested for drugs and drinking and booked into the NC jail have provided HH as their place of residenance when booked. Their booking information shows HH’s address. This is public information that is available via the NCSO website or via The Union.

    The simple point I’m trying to make is… some fail to address the negatives and if anyone dare to raise these issues they are attacked and called heartless and a homeless hater.

    The issues are real and some refuse to address them or even talk about them. Why can’t the negatives be discussed too?

  9. Greg Mortenson made the mistake of twisting his story to drive his fund raising machine and apparently lost his footing on the slippery slope. The main lesson is that the public must learn to accept that there are no fairy tales and demand authentic and realistic reporting. In Mortenson’s case it wouldn’t be enough to verify the number of schools, or even the number of students. The only fair evaluation would be the number of lives changed. Fair enough for Tom Durkin to report a 90% success rate but this number should come with independent verification to be trustworthy. It’s a fine number, but I asked someone who would have some idea and she surprised by it.

    Many propose that Mortenson get a free pass because of the good work he has done but such an idea will never fly in the long run. It won’t for HH as well if the problems that Steve Enos mentions can’t be put on the table and dealt with openly. The HH mission is noble , necessary, and tough. It must not be handicapped by necessitating a story that isn’t completely accurate and reliable.

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