Government business continues in isolation during COVID-19 pandemic – The Union of Grass Valley

Elected officials are balancing public participation and the need to keep government operations moving.

Following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order temporarily suspending some provisions of the Brown Act for the duration of the pandemic, local officials have had to weigh what is appropriate to act on given the limitation of public input without in-person meetings.

While some major projects across Nevada City, Nevada County and Grass Valley have been put on hold, others have continued despite the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on public access to information.

According to Nevada City Manager Catrina Olson, the city is trying to limit what it takes on during meetings.

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“The public requested early on that the city only address COVID-related and essential, time sensitive business,” Olson said in an email. “The city has tried very hard to adhere to those requests. We have continued items to a later date.”

The city has postponed a public hearing on a sign variance for the National Hotel and work on some projects like the parking structure on Spring Street.

The city’s 5G wireless telecom ordinance was set to be amended at a City Council meeting last month, but the item was held as well.

The amendments went before the council again this week, but were continued to its next meeting to further modify the recommendations.

Olson said the online participation has been below the amount the city is accustomed to for in-person meetings.

In Grass Valley, Mayor Lisa Swarthout said the city hopes to have a way to more meaningfully take public comment by July, but so far projects like Dorsey Marketplace and a recent move directing staff to prepare for attempts

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