Following are a few of my current projects:
Former Bear River Mill site General Plan Amendment and Rezone - The County’s acquisition of property for a Corporation Yard on the old Bear River Mill (BRM) site has kindled new interest in the ultimate development of the County property and surrounding parcels. The current designation of “Business Park”, which seemed very appropriate years ago, now appears to perhaps not provide for the highest and best use of these parcels. I have been working with the County and the City of Grass Valley to enhance prospects for development, including rezoning to light industrial and seeking funding for infrastructure. The City of Grass Valley has recently announced its intention to annex a portion of the Bear River Mill site. For more information, contact the Planning Department at 530-265-1222.
Expansion of High Speed Internet to our rural neighborhoods
The key to success in getting faster internet to rural areas is showing the providers that there is a DEMAND. Just like the “squeaking wheel” – the more people who become involved, the greater the potential demand and the easier for the Internet Service Providers to make the business case needed to justify their vestment in infrastructure.
In support of bringing high speed internet to our area, I have:
• Obtained a letter of support from our Board of Supervisors, for a grant proposal, resulting in nearly $150,000 per year for up to three years for the Sierra Economic Development Corporpation (SEDCorp). Note that the grant does not provide for subsidies of broadband physical expansion.
• Represented Nevada County at the California Public Utilities Commission statewide launch of the broadband program
I am working with a local task force, the Nevada County Broadband Advisory Group (consisting of elected officials, internet providers, County staff, education officials and technicians, businesses and citizen representatives, etc) to develop plans and recommendations for expanded broadband services through education, community outreach and regulatory reform. For more information on the County's efforts to expand broadband, see our Broadband page.
For information on regional efforts to expand Broadband, visit the website for the Gold Country Broadband Consortium.
As our County’s representative on the Northern Sierra Biomass Task Force, I continue to seek ways of implementing biological resources to produce local, renewable energy while creating sustainable employment, reducing climate impacts and reducing our need for imported energy.
The recent expansion of new technologies to recover and utilize natural gas poses a significant challenge to biomass energy production, but the task force is working to identify ways to make biomass competitive. For example, Davis area task force consultants are developing a potentially valuable investing tool that identifies existing biomass processing facilities and their fuel needs, markets, constraints, etc. All have different characteristics but the study allows investors to find opportunities that meet specific investing goals. Other task force members studying Northern Sierra biomass businesses have identified highly inefficient operational practices that may be easily altered, greatly reducing expensive transportation costs. With these issues resolved, biomass technology is a natural fit for our region in improving forest management and reducing fire danger.
The Northern Sierra Biomass Task Force presented an update on its activities at the March 26, 2013 Board of Supervisors meeting. You can access the three power point presentations that were shown as follows:
Presentation by Malcolm North, Research Forest Ecologist, USDA Forest Service
Presentation by Steve Eubanks, Forestry Consultant
Presentation by Joanne Drummond, Fire Safe Council of Nevada County