Sphere of Influence Issue
The City of Nevada City has been advised by the Nevada County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) Officer SR Jones that she is recommending a substantial reduction of the LAFCo-approved Sphere of Influence (SOI) boundary for Nevada City. This webpage has been developed to provide residents of the City of Nevada City and residents residing within the Nevada City SOI more information about this proposal and concerns.
What is the City’s Sphere of Influence? A City sphere of influence (SOI) is a plan for the probable physical boundaries and service area of a local government agency. Territory is included in a SOI to:
- Apply zoning and development standards, including environmental protections
- Create efficiencies in service delivery
- Protect and expand the tax base
- Provide municipal services beyond those available in rural areas.
Who approves the City Sphere of Influence? The seven member Nevada County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) is responsible for determining the City’s SOI.
What factors were considered in developing Nevada City’s SOI? The current SOI boundary was based upon several factors, including, but not limited to:
- Consideration of septic systems that will eventually fail able to be served by Nevada City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant
- Protecting the immediate watershed from adverse impacts from development
- The City’s view shed that preserves the community’s sense of history and general character
- Nevada City’s ability to facilitate thoughtful higher density smart growth near commercial districts
- Ability of the City to provide recreation, fire protection/emergency services, law enforcement services to SOI residents
- Primary access routes associated with arterial roadways and collector roads that originate in the City
What is the history on Nevada City’s Sphere of Influence? Nevada City’s Sphere of Influence was carefully developed and approved by the Nevada County LAFCo Board in 1983. The Sphere was again reviewed and approved by the Nevada County LAFCo Board in 2008. Since incorporation, Nevada City has approximately doubled its incorporated territory.
If my property is removed from the Sphere of Influence, is it possible the County could change the zoning of my property or neighborhood? Yes, if your property is removed from the SOI, then the City would only be able to comment on proposals to change zoning. It is possible the County could modify the zoning to a more intense or different land use (e.g. multi-family, commercial, industrial, etc.).
My property is on a septic tank that is aging. If my septic tank fails, will I still be able to connect to City sewer if my property is removed from the SOI? Standard septic systems last approximately 50 years and possibly less in this region given substandard soils associated with previous mining activities. Removal of your property from the SOI would complicate your ability to connect to City sewer.
Does the City have sewer capacity to accommodate properties in the current sphere of influence? Yes, the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant has capacity for 0.69 million gallons per day (mgd). Current average dry weather flow ranges from 0.38 to 0.47 mgd and has capacity to serve the entire SOI.
February 13, 2017 Letter to Residents
February 8, 2017 Staff Report - Protection of the Nevada City Sphere of Influence
January 25, 2017 Staff Report - Informational Update: 2017 Nevada County LAFCo Sphere of Influence Update for Nevada City