The Rural Quality Coalition Did Enough Damage

Russ Steele

Our local lefty blogger wants to “revive” the Rural Quality Coalition to limit growth in Nevada County once again. Do we really need the RQC once again? They did enough damage to our local economy, putting in place through the Green Gang of Four Supervisors in the 1990s zoning regulation that will inhibit our local economy for decades to come.

They zoned big box stores and brand name stores out of the County. Now we have big box stores and name brand stores on the southern boarder of the County in Auburn. When corporate decisions at Costco, WalMart, Home Depot and Target were made to put stores in North Auburn, they were factoring in the thousands of customer that would come from Nevada County to user these stores.

Now our lefty local blogger “The Purple Man” want to revive the RQC to bring forward an initiative to stop any commercial development especially around the Dorsey Drive Interchange. To stop the development of alternatives to shopping in Auburn, the opening of national name brand brand stores in Nevada County.

Cabalas wanted to open a store in Truckee, but they were stifled by the plethora of County zoning regulations and moved the store to Boom Town in Nevada, just across the boarder of California, were their main customer base is. Think of all the tax revenue that a Cabalas could have generated for the County.

The RQC and the Gang of Four brought us NH2020. This split the community between those that wanted economic growth and those desiring stasis through punitive zoning. When they lost the NH2020 drive they worked behind the scenes to bring us the unfriendly zoning, which we have today. Zoning that is having a negative impact on our local economy. The County economy may not survive the revival of the RQC. We do not need more stasis, we need growth to survive.

About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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2 Responses to The Rural Quality Coalition Did Enough Damage

  1. Russ Steele says:


    It is highly unlikely that Nevada County can now attract any big box stores. We have stopped growing and the 100,000 population bench mark will not be reached anytime soon. The real issue is that Nevada County took action, under the Green Gang of Four in the late 1990s, to slow growth that was about 5%. It is now totally flat, and may decline as schools are closing and the economy is not growing.

    In a recent consumer survey participants listed some name brand stores that they would like to see in the community. I do not have access to the study right now to list the options. The Brier Patch could expand, but I am not sure they could compete with a Costco and Target Superstore. The best feature of the new center off of Dorsey would be if it became a shopping experience like the Fountains In Roseville. An alternative to driving 35 minutes to Auburn. Wealthy seniors may find spending a little more for the experience may off set the trip to Auburn. That scenario would depend on the mix of stores and the degree of the shopping experience, street side cafes for husbands while the wives shop is one I would like. Stores with husband chairs and WiFi access would be a real asset to the shopping center.

    Staples announced that they will be closing stores all across the county, especially those that are not performing well. Not sure how our Staples are doing.

    Have you read the ERC economic development strategy? You can down load a copy at the ERC web site. I would be interested in what your think of the plan. I have written my views on this blog and will have more to say.


  2. Fuzz says:

    Hi Russ,

    I’ve only lived here 3.5 years, though I’ve come to this area since the early 50’s. (My grandfather came to Nevada City on a gold venture and lived on Uren St. In those days, the local reservoir fishing was fantastic. My grandfather kept a 12′ aluminum boat permanently in the back of his Chevy pickup, ever ready when someone said, “Lets go fishin.”

    I’m not tuned in on past development squabbles, but now that Auburn is getting Costco and Walmart, what big boxes are left to come north? Those two, coupled with Home Depot, Best Buy, and Target, have solidified the draw of shoppers south….”critical mass” if you will. If a large discount grocery store, such Food 4 Less or Winco, comes to the upcoming Combie development, or Auburn, I’d say its game over. You could have Trader Joes or Whole Foods, but they’re much more likely to stay with the other boxes. (Briar Patch could expand up to the size of Whole Foods, which could fill that niche.) It would appear that the north county is going to have to settle with Hills Flat, Staples, Kmart, and a large Briar Patch. Nevada City and Grass Valley are just a little too far off the beaten path to have their own separate collection of big boxes. Your thoughts?


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