Our local lefty blogger states the obvious in a recent post at the Sierra Foothills Report.
Now we’re competing against North Auburn, including a Walmart, Costco — and maybe — a Trader Joe’s. It’s going to take real pragmatic thinking in our community, not just a pro-development religion, to help us succeed. Our community’s future is on the line.
It was inevitable that we would someday arrive at this point when the toiling of our local stasis cohort came to fruition. The circumstance the community finds its self in was launched in the late 1990s when the County General Plan was undated and later the implementing polices and regulations were put on the books under the guidance of the Green Gang of Four and their fellow travelers in the progressive community and on the County staff. Their mission was to forever insure “big box” stores would never be allowed in Nevada County. Under their guidance we were to forever be a quiet rural community in the foothills, where liberals could bask our mining past, breath unattained air, all the while relishing our environmental sustainability. Fantasy land!
Now we are living with the consequences. Over the years I wrote about these consequences in Union Other Voices, paid Union columns and for the Grass Valley/Nevada County Chamber Magazine. Mostly to a small audience who understood the issues, and set about to remove the Gang of Four. But, once they are gone could not change the County staff as quickly. Unfortunately, the changes embedded in the General Plan and the Zoning Regulations were too big of a challenge to change, either though the lack of political will, or knowing full well that when the economic manure hit the fan, it would not be on their watch.
Well, the fan is in place and the barrow of steaming manure is posed on the edge of the ramp, and our leaders are coming to the realization the communities economic future is on the line. In the early 90s the economic leakage (people shopping out side the community) was $40 million, then $80 million and once the Galleria Mall, Costco and Walmart opened in Roseville and Home Depot and Target came to Auburn the leakage shot up to over $150 million and now is estimated to be over $200 million. When Costco and Walmart, and maybe even a Trader Joe’s, arrive just 35 minutes across our southern border in Auburn, the leakage may double, or it could triple.
Millions of tax dollars that could be flowing into Nevada County City and County coffers will be enriching Placer County Governments and they will have the tax revenue to make shopping in Auburn even more attractive.
Combine that with the growing Internet shopping trend, when Nevada County citizens can shop from the comfort of their homes and have the products delivered to their doors, no hauling stuff in from the car, no trying to find parking, no driving on slick roads, and not having to deal with indifferent service staff in local shops. As more local shops close due to Auburn competition, Internet shopping will increase as the selection and availability declines in local shops. No need to drive to Auburn, just log in and have the product delivered the next day for a small fee, or free the following day, at prices much lower than they would had to pay if shopping locally.
The challenges facing local leaders is huge. They are already struggling with declining revenues and the future is looking bleaker and bleaker, once the “big box” stores open on the Southern boarder of the County.
Solutions? The time for solutions was back in the 1990s and early 2000s. We are now past the tipping point, on the cusp of an economic death spiral for the community. Out liberal former editor is right “Our community’s future is on the line.”
What is your solution?