NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Monday, March 14, 2005

No Vision, No future worth having

Chris Crain, Patty Parks, Carol Wong and Rose Asquith write about Our county's vexing issue: How to grow?
The Union's front page Feb. 9 featured an article on the general plan's 150,000 population estimate for Nevada County vs. 96,000 today. That's a huge amount of growth, though our area's trends and attractiveness make it plausible.

Left unanswered is the nature of that population growth:

Will we be a retirement community?

What kinds of jobs can we reasonably expect to create locally?
How do we avoid losing the unique community character and balance which we cherish.
It appears that we are growing with out a plan, with out a vision of what we want to be, when the population reaches 150,000, or 200,000.

According to the front page , County population nears 100,000
The state's most recent population estimates show that newcomers are continuing to fuel Nevada County's steady growth.
The NCCLI Students asked the vexing question: "How to grow?"

It appears we are growing at a rather rapid clip, adding about 1726 citizens a year, answering the nature of the growth question.

The real vexing issue is what kind of community do we want to be? The numbers tell us that most of the new residence are older, more mature and retired. What does a large influx of seniors do to our community, it drives up housing prices.

Let’s assume that two thirds of the 1726 new residence are retired, making the senior population grow by 1140, producing 570 new senior family units. Looks like a retirement community to me.

The remaining new residence produces the need for 147 more homes, if we assume that they are typical families with 2 children. This raise the question, how may houses were build in 2004 for these 717 new families? The average number of houses build over the last four years was 408, that is about 308 short of the need in 2004.

What kind of jobs can expect? I would guess, lower paying service jobs. Jobs that can support a growing population of seniors. But, were are these lower paid service folks going to live? It takes a salary of $80,000 a year to afford a $400,000 home, which is the current median price, how can they live in Nevada County?

The hardest question to answer is: “How do we avoid losing the unique community character and balance which we cherish?”

My plan:

Step one: A vision for the kind community we want to be.

Step two: A plan on now to make the vision real.

Step three: Community leaders willing to implement the plan.

Step four: Citizens willing to support the leadership and work on specific projects.

Step five: Enjoy a future worth creating

Tell me what you think

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