The Nevada County Economic Resource Council has signed a lease to create its long-discussed Sierra Digital Media Campus at 104 New Mohawk Dr. in Nevada City, as Sierra Foothills Report first reported earlier this month. Its tenants will include the ERC and up-and-coming tech firm Gyro-Stabilized Systems. The ERC hopes to add “major global corporations” next, according to its plan. The ambitious plan stems from a $500,000 federal grant, along with county funding. (The Union chased down our “scoop” though it didn’t have the couth to credit SFR).
Now, in an ironic twist that could spark another full-fledged “NIMBY” debate, it turns out that the Digital Media Campus — meant to be a “cutting edge” showcase for job creation in the Sierra Foothills and beyond— is the next-door neighbor to a new homeless day care center that is feeding people in need but also drawing scrutiny from Nevada City for permitting issues.
The new Divine Spark Streicher House (which serves the chronically homeless and people in need) is in the heart of a “Tech Corridor” that includes the new ERC’s headquarters/Sierra Digital Media Center, Telestream and Ensemble Design. Prospective tenants of the ERC’s new Sierra Digitial Media Center’s look out onto the Streicher House, which feeds the homeless lunch on fold-out tables, thanks to some diligent volunteers.
“In Nevada City this zone is designated ‘light industrial’ in which emergency shelters, transitional, and supportive housing are allowed without a conditional use permit, or any other discretionary permit,” writes Pauli Halstead, a volunteer chef at Streicher House and a former board member of Sierra Roots, who owns the land at 606 Gold Flat Rd., in an “Other Voices” in The Union.
To further bolster the cause, The Union reports that the homeless day care center helps achieve the “vision” of homeless consultant Robert Marbut, whom The Union Publisher Jim Hemig and homeless advocates invited to a recent “Town Hall” meeting. Wearing another “hat,” Hemig is the MC at the upcoming ERC “Regional Economic Summit” in April.
I visited the Streicher House this weekend and spoke with Pauli, who was out in front. She said the Streicher House helps a wide range of people, including veterans and seniors.
The City of Nevada City, however, said Streicher House (named after Divine Spark’s late founder Thomas Streicher) lacks the proper permitting. In the past, some local residents have complained about Divine Spark’s plan to feed the homeless at the Vet’s Hall in downtown Nevada City; the Hospitality House in Grass Valley has drawn criticism for some of its past locations.
The Union failed to “connect the dots” between the job-creating, “cutting edge” Digital Media Campus and its neighbor, the Streicher House that feeds the homeless (either out of ignorance or some ulterior motive).
But it no doubt will be the source of a robust local debate about jobs, “nimbyism,” homelessness and job creation — not just a permitting discussion. I would support that!