Current Projects

Tracking the Idaho-Maryland Mine

10/1/18 RISE violations continue -- CEA continues to monitor the activities of RISE Gold Corp, the new owner of the Idaho Maryland Mine. RISE has now acquired most of the land that was previously owned or lease-optioned by Emgold, in addition to some other parcels. Since Fall 2017 they have been doing extensive drilling at the “New Brunswick” site located near the intersection of East Bennett and Brunswick Rd, adjacent to the old SPI site. (Millsite Rd).

– In mid-September 2018, RISE moved their drilling operations from near the old SPI site to the newly constructed pad at the west side of their holdings (12603 East Bennett Rd). In setting up their equipment, RISE again violated the 100’ setback from the creek! This was in spite of having been required to hire a biologist to prepare a Biological Management Plan as a consequence of prior violations last winter (see below). Also, there has been some controversy regarding their method of measurement for establishing the 100’ setback. County ordinance requires that the setback be measured from the high water mark or the top of bank, which is apparently not the case here. The County is now requiring the biologist to reflag the correct setbacks and possibly restore a larger area in the riparian zone.

– Local residents have filed complaints about noise from the drilling operations. To mitigate that, RISE has constructed a sound wall.

In March, 2018, RISE was cited for failing to obtain a Timberland Conversion Permit (as per CCR 1103.1 Conversion of Timberland). Two citations were issued: Violation of Section 4581 (PRC) – to the landowner Violation of Section 4571 (PRC) – to the logger, who was not a licensed timber operator

2/16/18 More Violations -- In addition to the County grading violations, Idaho-Maryland Mine owner RISE Gold Corp failed to submit the required timber harvest plan and timberland conversion document, as per the local CalFire (CDF) Forester in charge of permits.

1/30/18 Update of RISE Grading Violations -- The grading work that was done was reportedly not in conformance with the submitted plans, resulting in failed inspections failing in December/January. In addition to failing to protect against storm runoff into South Fork Wolf Creek, grading work was done in violation of the 100' setback from the creek and a large number of trees had been logged and staged within the setback. Because of these violations and encroachment into the setback zone, a comprehensive Management Plan, to be prepared by a qualified biologist, was requested. (as per Nevada County Land Use and Development Code Section L-II 4..3.17.) County reported back that RISE must submit revised plans showing accurate depiction of work completed, erosion control measures, 100ft setback, and site survey. This submission and a biologist recommendations will be reviewed by county.

11/27/17 Idaho-Maryland Mine Grading Protections Inadequate -- Local advocates from Wolf Creek Community Alliance (WCCA) and CEA noticed grading work to create a road and pad on a parcel between Bennett St and South Fork Wolf Creek. The work was done clearly without adequate storm water management protections. Complaints were lodged with Nevada County Building Dept. This property is on the western portion of the Idaho-Maryland Mine (IMM) New Brunswick site. A county permit had been taken out to build a pad. Unfortunately, the new owner of IMM, RISE Gold Corp, failed to comply with the county grading guidelines.

11/5/17 A New Mine Owner -- The Idaho-Maryland Mine was acquired from Emgold Mining by Rise Gold Corp, another junior mining company from Canada. The new owner has recently completed exploratory drilling at the New Brunswick site. This site is situated at the headwaters of the pristine South Fork Wolf Creek near where Bennett Street intersects Brunswick Road.

Walkability Project

CEA is dedicated to improving the livibililty of our communities. Our first focus is to work to improve walkability by advocating specific improvements to codes and policies regarding sidewalks, footpaths, and bike lanes.

10/1/18 Do you have any suggestions to improve walkways or bike paths? Now is your chance to actually put them into a planning map. The Nevada County Transportation Council (NCTC) is working on an “Active Transportation Plan” and is asking for public input for pedestrian and bicycle needs. Go online and use the interactive map to add in your ideas until Oct 7. http://www.nctc.ca.gov/Projects/Nevada-County-Active-Transportation-Plan/index.html If you prefer, you can email your list of improvements to: Rodney Brown, R.Brown@fehrandpeers.com

2/27/18 Subdivision Development Guidelines and The New Sidewalk Waiver -- The City of Grass Valley recently considered measures to address the housing shortage. One of the items the city identified was to allow for reduced street widths in some minor residential developments to provide some cost savings and allow for more density in some subdivisions. This is a trend in development which has the effect of calming traffic and making neighborhoods more walkable and cohesive. It can be a good thing if done right, moving away from a car centric design and also reducing impermeable surfaces. (Note: These measures address the development of new subdivisions and not the sidewalk requirements for existing parcel improvements discussed on 1/26/18.) CEA became concerned because the proposals to reduce street width may not provide the desired benefits. Some of the street section details were too broadly applied. In particular, it had a measure that allowed for omitting sidewalks on one side of the street. The wording seemed ambiguous and insufficient for avoiding abuse at the expense of walkability and bikability. Fortunately, the city is supportive of enhancing walkability, traffic calming, and friendlier more livable neighborhoods. the City manager met with CEA and WCCA representatives and was open to improving the wording to achieve that goal. As a result, the goals of the sidewalk waiver were made clearer, the waiver limited to “minor residential streets” having 20 or fewer units, and some checks and balances were added to the wording. The measure was approved by City Council on Feb 13.

Initial wording from the proposed City of Grass Valley Design Standards 6-6 E:
E. Sidewalk Omission Option – Sidewalks may optionally be omitted on one side of the street for
developments of 40 units or less providing:
1.   The Subdivision must provide a separate trail within the subdivision (loop trail or connection 
to trail system).
2.   Traffic calming such as raised intersections, raised crosswalks, dips, etc. (Bulbouts will not
suffice for this requirement) is required to slow traffic and to physically reduce traffic speeds 
and maintain accessible pedestrian connectivity at:
	a. Intersections, and
	b. At 500' intervals on residential streets.
Final approved wording New City of Grass Valley Design Standards 6-6 E:
E. Sidewalk Omission Option – The overall goal is to provide for accessibility, walk-ability, and 
bike-ability residential developments. Subject to approval by the City Engineer, sidewalks may 
optionally be omitted on one side of minor residential streets (only) in developments have 20 or 
fewer units per minor residential street provided that:
1. Create an accessible, walkable and bike-able development.
2. The Subdivision must provide a separate trail within the subdivision (loop trail or connection 
to trail system).
3. Traffic calming such as raised intersections, raised crosswalks, dips, etc. (Bulbouts will not 
suffice for this requirement) is required to slow traffic and to physically reduce traffic speeds 
and maintain accessible pedestrian connectivity at:
	a. Intersections, and
	b. At 400' intervals on residential streets or at the discretion of the City Engineer.
4. Pedestrian connectivity to existing or future off-site sidewalks, trails, and street 
intersections is preserved/maintained.
	[Figure 6.6E omitted]

1/26/18 CEA Believes that the Grass Valley Sidewalk Waiver Provisions are Flawed -- When a parcel is developed, the City of Grass Valley requires the street frontage to be improved with sidewalks, curb and gutter. However, in order to accommodate property owners who are making improvements on streets that are already largely developed and don't have sidewalks, building a sidewalk may not make sense, so a waiver is provided in section 12.08.070. However, CEA feels there is flawed wording in the sidewalk waiver provisions which technically creates the opposite result. Also, CEA is concerned that current sidewalk waiver code may allow streets to be developed piecemeal which ultimately should have had sidewalks. Also, rather than creating more obstacles to future pathway development by doing nothing, CEA is seeking better options for sidewalks or trails that might be substituted for a total waiver. Requiring at least a graded compacted gravel walk area is one possible alternative suggested. CEA and WCCA introduced these concepts in a meeting with GV City manager on Jan 25. These items are now under review. One idea which seems immediately acceptable is to require a 5 foot easement so that future sidewalks would at least have an easement.

Municipal Code 12.08.070 - Limitations on requirement to construct sidewalks.
A. The provisions of this chapter relating to construction of sidewalks shall only apply to property in residential use in 
blocks where the frontage of existing sidewalks, when added to the frontage of unimproved properties, constitutes more 
than fifty percent of the front footage of the block where the property is located. The city engineer may, upon application 
of a property owner affected by the provisions in this section, waive and/or modify the requirements for installation of 
sidewalks because of unusual circumstances or hardship. Such decision of the city engineer may be appealed to the city 
council, consistent with the procedures established in the city's improvement standards. 
B. The term "block" as used in this section means property facing one side of any street between an intersecting street 
and the next intersecting street or between an intersection street and the end of a street which terminates in other than 
an intersection. The term "unimproved property" means parcels of property not devoted by means of buildings or facilities 
to residential, commercial, or accessory uses. 

C. The street and sidewalk dedication and construction provisions of this chapter shall not apply to building permits for 
additions and accessory buildings incidental to a residential building existing on a lot if such additions and accessory 
buildings have less than three hundred square feet as a total cumulative floor area.

(Prior code § 21-14; Ord. No. 711, § 7, 11-10-2009)