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Three added to NH2020 advisors

Grace Karpa, Sun News Service

NEVADA CITY – Three more people may serve on a Nevada County open-space committee, county supervisors decided unanimously Tuesday.

Members of the 11-person Natural Heritage 2020 community advisory committee asked supervisors to consider adding three more positions to represent timber, agriculture and a combination of recreation and eastern county interests.

The three vacant positions must be advertised for 10 working days, County Counsel Charles McKee stated at the meeting.

A resolution printed last week was replaced Tuesday by one that left out names of three candidates proposed for the spots: Dennis Ball, owner of Indian Springs Winery; Bruce Van Zee, a retired forester who teaches at Sierra College; and Debbie Casey, director of amenities for East West Partners, a resort developer in Truckee.

The notices are posted in the clerk of the board’s office, in the lobby of the Rood Administrative Center and in the Madelyn Helling Library, all in Nevada City.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, several Natural Heritage 2020 opponents took turns reading dozens of names of people they said signed letters denying access to their land for field surveys the program calls for.

Mark Tomich, planning director, confirmed Monday that Government Code Section 65105 allows planners access to private lands.

Planning agency personnel are permitted to enter any land and make examinations and surveys, provided that the entries, examinations and surveys do not interfere with the use of the land by owners or tenants, the code states.

“We don’t use it like a blunt instrument,” Tomich said. “We don’t wander onto property without notice.”

“We were going to ask people anyway,” he said about field surveys that biologists plan to conduct in Nevada County starting in late May and early June.

Supervisor Sue Horne cited statistics about land use in California to suggest that 1 percent of all land has been developed.

“I think we’re being scared into the concept of there’s no open space,” she said.

Calvin Clark, who organized a recall effort against Supervisor Elizabeth Martin, asked Ted Gaebler, county administrative officer, for an accounting of how much money the county has spent on Natural Heritage 2020. Tomich said he will provide that information for a meeting on the program in August.

Clark said he needed 2,300 valid signatures of voters by July 4 for his recall effort to be successful. He estimated he had half that.

Margaret Urke, executive director of California Association of Business, Property and Resource Owners, and Pat Davison, field director of CABPRO, presented supervisors with a quarterly report card concerning the NH 2020 program. The association gave supervisors five Fs, a B and a C, but the community advisory committee received As and Bs for providing information and chances to comment on the program.

John Regan, a member of the community advisory committee, and Chauncey Poston, chairman of the committee, presented the committee’s recommendation to form three working groups to study timber, agriculture and eastern county/recreation. Each 15-member group would include a CAC member and professionals and experts on those fields.

A fourth working group to study habitat, which would include all 14 CAC members as well as professionals and experts, would be formed later.

Supervisors plan to discuss or vote on the three new members at their May 24 meeting at 4:30 p.m.


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