CEA joins Dorsey Marketplace lawsuit challenge

I received this press release this afternoon from Community Environmental Advocates, a “responsible land use and environmental protection group”:

Community Environmental Advocates (CEA) has joined with Protect Grass Valley to challenge the legal adequacy of Grass Valley’s EIR and approval of the Dorsey Marketplace project. The suit was filed on August 3.

Dorsey Marketplace is a proposed 104,000 square foot shopping center with 172 residential apartment units located at Dorsey Drive/Highway 49. It required a general plan amendment and a zone change for approval. It was approved by the Grass Valley City Council on April 28.

On May 26, the City Council removed the only minor condition of approval which would have achieved a partial reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG) and save energy costs for tenants. The requirement was to use electric space and water heating, which could be powered by the rooftop solar.

Flawed Project

♦ Provides no affordable housing. Dorsey Marketplace as approved will include 172 residential apartments, none specified for moderate, low, or very low-income housing. It marks the third major project approved by the City within the last year which includes no affordable housing. And there were no phasing requirements to assure that they would be built anytime soon.

♦ Will negatively impact the economy of our downtowns and existing businesses. The shopping center is a large drive-to project which will impact the success of our downtowns in an era when on-line shopping is taking a big share of the retail market. CEA recommended reducing the scale of the commercial businesses and providing restrictions on the mix of allowable businesses so that it does not compete with the successful entertainment/dining/specialty store focus of our downtowns. We do not need a third downtown.

♦ Does not address climate change. Creates significant traffic impacts. During the hearings, CEA asked that the project address the climate change crisis by including a project-based solar system with electric space and water heating to reduce GHG emissions. We also asked that the developers reduce the overall size of the commercial portion of the development and eliminate the 3 drive-up windows to reduce excessive traffic, a major source of GHG emissions.

♦ Will recast our image as a charming mountain community. Aesthetically, the project would eliminate a forested ridgeline, cutting off 20’ and the existing woodlands, and replace it with massive built up pads (45-60 feet of fill) and vertical structures 20-30 feet tall, plainly visible throughout the valley.

♦ The EIR and the City of Grass Valley, in its approval of the project, did not adequately address these concerns.

CEA advocates for responsible land use and environmental protection policies and actions in Nevada County. Our goal for Nevada County’s future is a thriving community, a strong economy, and a healthy environment. CEA’s parent groups, the Rural Quality Coalition and CLAIM have been working for Nevada County since as far back as 1999.

Who is this group?

Community Environmental Advocates Foundation (CEA Foundation) was formed as a conceptual unification of three local advocacy groups: Rural Quality Coalition (RQC), Citizens Looking At Impacts of Mining (CLAIM-GV), and Citizens Advocating Responsible Development (CARD).

The RQC has often taken positions on development projects and planning issues, as well as promoting more progressive political candidates. Recent work has helped shape more positive outcomes on Loma Rica.

CLAIM was formed to address the impacts of the proposed Idaho-Maryland Mine / Ceramics factory, and ultimately worked to defeat the project due to its environmental impacts. CLAIM also addressed other local mining projects.

More recently, CARD was an ad-hoc group formed to address an expansive zoning text amendment in the Whispering Pines Special Development District. CARD challenged the amendment legally and was successful in getting the City of Grass Valley to reverse its action.

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.

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