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Nevada City voters to determine fate of Measure W, establishment of new historical district

Nevada City voters will decide Nov. 8 whether to approve Measure W, a ballot initiative seeking to amend the city’s general plan and municipal code to designate a portion of residential homes as part of the Historical Neighborhood District.

The initiative, both supporters and opponents say, is largely in response to Senate Bill 9, the California HOME Act, which seeks to ease the state’s housing crisis by allowing homeowners to create a duplex or subdivide an existing lot.

On Monday, Oct. 3, public presentations on Measure W, and Nevada County’s Measure V, a half-cent tax for wildfire protection and disaster readiness, will take place at the Rood Center, 950 Maidu Ave, Nevada City (See details below).

Members of the League of Women Voters of Nevada County will provide a factual and unbiased review of Measure V from 5:30-6 p.m. If passed, the measure would levy a half-cent sales tax to raise funds for wildfire prevention, emergency services and disaster readiness.

SB 9, which went into effect in January, allows up to two duplexes to be built on single-family lots in an effort to address the housing crisis in California.
Measure W’s approval, supporters say, “reinstates local control” and will “protect historic neighborhoods.”

Opponents say the measure would “overregulate homeowners and make us a less vibrant community, while making it “difficult to afford to care for and protect their property investment.”

Supporters says SB 9 allows single-family residential owners to “split parcels and build up to 6 or 8 dwellings (including primary and accessory units) on the split lots,” a ballot argument supporting Measure W reads. The argument states Measure W would only apply to “delineated neighborhoods where 50% of the homes are 50 years or older. Younger neighborhoods will fall under SB 9.”

Without passage of Measure W, such projects under SB 9 would offer residents “limited design review is by staff only. You will not receive a public notice or opportunity to comment.”

“It is clear that SB 9 threatens the historic nature and small-town character of Nevada City,” the argument reads. “However SB 9 legally exempts historic districts. For this reason, the Historic Neighborhoods District is proposed to protect our small-town heritage and take back local land use control.”

Opponents say “Measure W would overregulate exterior home improvements, making repairs more expensive” and “subject Nevada City homeowners in residential neighborhoods to strict historical preservation rules by placing most of our town in a new, virtually all-encompassing Historic Neighborhoods District.”

According to the League of Women Voters of Nevada County, which will host Monday’s forum, the Measure V (5:30-6:30 p.m.) and Measure W (6:30-7:30 p.m.) will be discussed by advocates for and against the measures. Questions can be submitted in advance to

“Each presentation can be seen in-person, streamed live on Comcast and Suddenlink Channel 18, on the Nevada County Media website and the League’s Facebook page,”
according to the League of Women Voters. “They can be viewed on demand within 24 hours after the event on NCM’s Local Politics YouTube channel and on the League’s website.”

For information on Measure W, see reporting by The Union newspaper and

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