Ag Dept

Department of Agriculture

Where did spring go? Seems just like yesterday we were experiencing non-stop rain and cold weather. Now it is predicted to be 95° early next week. It truly is a busy time for all of us in agriculture. Here are just a few highlights and things on the horizon that Department staff has been hard at work on.
Beekeeping Ordinance- In May, the Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that will now require a 2-mile buffer between new commercial apiary locations as well as limit the number of hives per location to 48 hives during the nectar flow season (May 15th- Oct 15th).  This ordinance was created in cooperation with the Nevada County Beekeepers Association and the Nevada County Agricultural Advisory Commission and will ensure the sustainability of beekeeping for those in Nevada County.
Industrial Hemp- In May, the Board of Supervisors passed a moratorium on the cultivation of Industrial Hemp. The recent 2018 USDA Farm Bill has now made Industrial Hemp an agricultural commodity. As such, Industrial Hemp can now be transported across state lines and is also available for crop insurance. County staff is using this time to further analyze what industrial hemp means for Nevada County and if needed, the best way to regulate it.
Pilot Program with CalCannabis- The Nevada County Department of Agriculture recently entered into a pilot program contract with CDFA’s CalCannabis division to conduct licensed cannabis cultivation inspections on behalf of CalCannabis. Staff is currently in the process of being trained and will be conducting these inspections later in the year.
FSMA- CDFA has begun conducting on site Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) inspections. While many growers are exempt, those with an average annual monetary value of produce sold greater than $25,00 can expect these inspections to start in early 2020. For more information please visit: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/producesafety/about.html

For more information you can contact the Department of Agriculture at 530-265-1222 or go to https://www.mynevadacounty.com/982/Agricultural-Commissioner


Code Compliance Division

Fire Season 2019...Are You Ready?

With fire season right around the corner, the Code Compliance Division has been working diligently to address properties that pose a high risk of fire, such as unpermitted structures with electrical violations, and unpermitted RV related violations.  These types of code violations typically involve gasoline generators, which are an imminent fire danger during the dry season.  Another current focus of the division is to motivate property owners remove solid waste and inoperable vehicles from their properties.  Having these violations present poses an increased threat to property owners or first responders in the event of an emergency, as required access may be inhibited. The Code Compliance Division is also collaborating with the Office of Emergency Services to address and enforce the hazardous vegetation ordinance through the abatement process.  The County recently completed its first nuisance abatement under the Hazardous Vegetation Ordinance.  This property posed serious health and safety risks to neighbors, which have been mitigated through the nuisance abatement process.  The division will continue to look for opportunities to reduce fire risk by collaborating with other departments and agencies, and working with property owners to maintain compliance with County codes and regulations.

For more information please contact the Code Complaince Division at 530-265-1222 opt. 4 or visit our website at https://www.mynevadacounty.com/1306/Code-Compliance-Division

Cannabis Compliance

Cannabis Compliance Division

Commercial Cannabis Cultivation

On May 14, 2019, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors passed the Commercial Cannabis Cultivation ordinance by a vote of 4 to 1. This ordinance adopted Section L-II 3.30 into the Nevada County Land Use and Development Code, legalizing commercial medical marijuana cultivation.
With no cap on the number of permits the County will issue, 64 applications are currently being processed, and a few have already been issued. These applicants are undertaking a remarkable and historical feat. These are cultivators, business owners and entrepreneurs all wanting to operate within the law. The steps to become compliant can seem overwhelming to an industry that has largely operated underground without regulation. In response to this, the County has established a two year transition period to help cultivators bring their property into compliance while still having the ability to obtain a commercial cannabis cultivation permit.  Legal cultivation sites must comply with all state and local health, safety, and environmental regulations. The County will continue to collaborate with cultivators, design professionals, and cannabis organizations to clarify procedures, simplify guidelines, and maintain a positive working relationship. 
If you have any questions regarding the permitting process, please contact the Cannabis Compliance Division at (530) 470-2626 or https://www.mynevadacounty.com/2646/Cannabis-Compliance-Division .


Department of Public Works

It’s going to be another busy season for DPW. Engineering has lined up a number of projects that will keep them hopping from early spring through the end of the year. Their project line-up includes:
Completing the new bridge over Purdon Road at Shady Creek – this project was started in 2018 and delayed due to winter weather. Work is expected to be completed by early June.
Widening Combie Rd from Hwy 49 to Cascade Crossing – The Combie Road widening project will be in full gear through the end of the year and will include road widening and a new sewer line.
Striping Projects - Our annual Road Striping projects gear up in late June and runs through mid-October replacing roadway striping on nearly 125 miles of County roadway
Roadway Sign Replacement Project – Crews will be replacing missing, worn-out and out of date roadway signs on 130 miles of roadways throughout the County.
New Staff
We would like to extend a warm welcome to Richard Poole, our new Assistant Civil Engineer. Richard onboarded with us in early April. And, we cannot forget to welcome back Doug Farrell who is temporarily filling in as our Sr. Civil Engineer through the Summer.

For more information please contact the department at 530-265-1222 opt. 5 or visit the website at https://www.mynevadacounty.com/218/Public-Works


Environmental Health

Water, Water, Everywhere 

The Environmental Health Department is tasked with working to protect public health and the environment through multiple programs.  One program that gears up in the summer time involves inspection of public swimming pools.  Improperly managed public pools can cause a variety of illnesses, especially in children and the elderly who are drawn to them to cool down in the summer heat.  Environmental Health has a data base of all public pools in Nevada County, which also include pools in apartment and condominium complexes (private swimming pools are not inspected).  Inspectors are assigned pools to inspect once swimming season begins, so you may see them coming around to have a look at the pool and its equipment.  Inspectors check the balance of purifying chemicals in the water.  These chemicals are designed to sterilize the water and keep algae from forming.  Too little can allow bacteria and algae to grow, and too much can cause irritation to the skin.  Having a good balance is essential to a healthy pool.  Inspectors use a variety of tests to determine if a pool has the proper balance of chemicals.  Inspectors also look at the proper function of the filtration system and its settings, as well as signage that informs the public of safety concerns.  If you see a problem with a public pool, please contact us at (530) 265-1222 extension 3.
  • Mosquito season is here!  Environmental Health oversees a vector control program in order to minimize the possibility of mosquito-borne illnesses such as Zika or West Nile Virus in Nevada County.  West Nile Virus has been detected in many species of birds, so a flock of chickens is monitored for these viruses on a regular basis, and dead birds that are reported to (877) 968-2473 are also tested for the virus. The best way to control these viruses is through prevention, and you can help!  The County has a mosquito fish giveaway program that is free to County residents!  These fish can be put into ponds or small water features on your property.  They multiply and feed off mosquito larvae that hatch in standing water.  Even if you don’t have a pond on your property, you can help by making sure there is no standing water near your house.  Look for tires, empty flower pots, tarps, toys, outdoor furniture or other things around your property that may have captured rainwater.  These are favorite places for mosquitos to lay eggs. 
For more information please contact the department at 530-265-1222 opt 3 or visit the website at https://www.mynevadacounty.com/1470/Environmental-Health
Building Department

Building Department

Satelite Outpost at the Nevada County Contractors' Association

Customer often get tired of waiting in a line when obtaining building permits, submitting construction plans, or completing other related Building Department service requests. Well customers are in luck!  The Nevada County Building Department has a satellite outpost at the Nevada County Contractors’ Association building located at 149 Crown Point Court in Grass Valley. Building Department staff are onsite Thursdays from 8:30am until 12:30pm. Services available at this site include application submittals, obtaining over-the-counter permits, project resubmittals, fee estimates and general building permit and plan review questions. Also, there is a self-service kiosk available during regular business hours Monday to Friday to assist customers with digital application submittals, scheduling building inspections, checking project statuses, completing property research, and accessing resources on the County website.
So if customers are tired of lines and wait times they can go straight to the front of the line at the Nevada County Building Department Outpost at the Nevada County Contractors’ Association. Service is quick, more personal, and you rarely have any wait times. 

For more information please contact the Builidng Department at 530-265-1222 opt. 1 or visit our website at https://www.mynevadacounty.com/1114/Building-Department


Planning Department

Nevada County Safety Element Update 2019

The Safety Element is a required element of Nevada County’s General Plan; the comprehensive and long-term plan that provides a blue print for development in Nevada County.  The purpose of the Safety Element is to reduce short and long-term risks to life, property and natural resources resulting from both natural and human-caused safety hazards.  The Safety Element identifies the safety hazards we have experienced in the past, continue to experience and/or have the potential to experience into the future in Nevada County and the level of risk posed by these hazards.
The Safety Element addresses the following topic categories:
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Geologic Hazards/Seismic Activity
  • Flood Hazards
  • Airport and Military Airspace Hazards
  • Hazardous Materials and Mining Hazards
  • Public Safety Services and Facilities
  • Fire Hazards and Protection
  • Severe Weather Hazards
  • Climate Change Resiliency and Mitigation
  • Environmental Justice
There have been a few new and amended state laws pertaining to the content of a local general plan and specifically the content of the Safety Element since Nevada County last updated the Safety Element in 2014.  One of the new requirements includes updates to address the risk of fire in the State Responsibility Areas (SRA) and the mapped Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (which makes up approximately 96% of the County’s land mass). This requires uses of land and policies that reduces wildfire risks as well as the identification of methods and strategies for risk reduction.   The update is required to reflect accepted best practices in the most recent Governor’s Office of Planning and Research’s “Fire Hazard Planning, General Plan Technical Advise Series”(2015).
The first internal draft of the Safety Element has been completed and is currently under review by the Planning Director. The current draft reflects written and verbal feedback provided by both internal departments such as Public Works, Environmental Health and Office of Emergency Services, and outside agencies such as the Office of State Fire Marshal Land Use Planning. Consistent with and required by SB 1241, the Safety Element will be sent to the California Geological Survey of the Department of Conservation (up to a 45-Day review), the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection and all local agencies that provide fire protection to territory in Nevada County (up to a 90-day review). 

Concurrent with the State Board and Geological Survey reviews of the document, the Planning Department will prepare the necessary environmental clearance document (CEQA) and circulate the CEQA document (30-day circulation). 

For more information please contact the Planning Department at 530-265-1222 opt.2 or go to https://www.mynevadacounty.com/512/Planning-Department

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