NEVADA CITY, Calif. — Owners of “granny units” can’t turn them into short-term rentals under new rules recently passed by the Nevada County Board of Supervisors.
Supervisors made the change, one of many to the county’s accessory dwelling unit ordinance, in their attempt to bring more affordable housing here. Other tweaks include removing a requirement that the property owner live on land with a granny unit, as well as defer certain fees, if the unit meets specific requirements.
The changes become effective in 30 days.
“I don’t see this guaranteeing affordable housing,” Supervisor Sue Hoek said in a March 26 meeting, noting that the restriction of short-term rentals — the government interfering in property rights — concerns her.
Supervisor Ed Scofield also had concerns, though both he and Hoek joined the other three supervisors to unanimously pass the new ordinance.
“I think we’re on the right track here,” Supervisor Dan Miller said.
Under the new rules a granny unit — called by county officials an accessory dwelling unit — built after the ordinance change cannot be rented for under 30 days, unless it’s in the Soda Springs Rural Center or qualifies for agritourism activities. Supervisors are deferring to Truckee’s regulations if the property falls within that town’s sphere of influence.
Accessory units in Grass Valley and Nevada City’s spheres of influence aren’t exempt, and may not be rented short-term.
Both the accessory unit and the primary home can be rented, though only accessory units are restricted from short-term. The property owner is no longer required to live on site.
Property owners can defer road and sewer mitigation fees, along with permit costs, if they either restrict their property to very low or low income renters or have a unit that’s under 800 square feet.
Additionally, the change to the ordinance clarifies existing language that requires accessory dwelling units to have a separate septic tank.
Existing accessory dwelling units are grandfathered from the more restrictive requirements like short-term rentals and septic tanks.
Teresa Dietrich, with the Nevada County Association of Realtors, praised supervisors for updating their ordinance.
“I’m really worried a lot of our seniors are going to be forced out of their homes,” she told supervisors during public comment, referencing rising home insurance rates.
Alta Sierra resident Lee French questioned the need for accessory dwelling units in what he called a county with a falling population.
“Are we creating a problem with empty buildings due to the lack of jobs and people coming?” French asked.
Don Bessee, with the Alta Sierra Property Owners Association, said some rentals in his neighborhood have become virtual hotels. He urged supervisors to not allow the short-term rental of primary residences.
However, supervisors opted to adopt the new ordinance as presented.
“Smaller units are going to be more affordable,” Supervisor Richard Anderson said.
Republican Rex Hime raised the most money in the last reporting period before the District 1 state Senate race, according to campaign disclosures.
Hime raised $155,979 between Feb. 10 and March 9 — the last reporting period in advance of the March 26 special election for the state Senate seat. Republican Assemblyman Brian Dahle, whose district includes Nevada County, is a close second with $153,067. Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, the District 6 Republican, came in third with $83,011.87.
Republican Theodore Dziuba garnered $28,487.30 during the reporting period. Democrat Silke Pflueger raised $19,150.
The five candidates are running for a seat vacated by former state Sen. Ted Gaines, who left office after winning a spot on the state Board of Equalization. The election is Tuesday, March 26. Click here for more information about voting.
Dahle, 53, of Bieber, started the campaign disclosure reporting period with $423,871.48. He raised $153,067 and spent $485,673.83, leaving him $91,264.65 in the bank.
Dziuba, 34, of Placerville, had $60,637.85 on Feb. 10, the start of the period. He raised $28,487.30 and spent $82,142.76. He had $6,982.39 remaining.
Hime began with $26,565.51. He raised $155,979 and spent $157,912.27, leaving him $24,632.24.
Kiley, 34, of Rocklin, started with $468,513.61. He raised $83,011.87 and spent $248,646.98, leaving him $302,878.50 in the bank.
Pflueger, 53, of Truckee, started with $8,169.49. She raised $19,150 and spent $10,869.49. She had $16,450 remaining.
Five people are running for the District 1 state Senate seat.
Republicans Brian Dahle, 53, of Bieber; Theodore Dziuba, 34, of Placerville; Rex Hime, 70, of Sacramento; Kevin Kiley, 34, of Rocklin; and Democrat Silke Pflueger, 53, of Truckee, are running for the seat vacated when Ted Gaines won a spot on the state Board of Equalization.
Democrat Steve Baird has dropped out of the race, though his name will still appear on the ballot.
The March 26 election already is underway for El Dorado County voters.
A candidate must win at least 50 percent plus one vote to secure the seat. If no one candidate does, the top two vote-getters will advance to a June 4 runoff.
The district includes all of or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.
Brian Dahle points to his accomplishments in the Assembly when asked why he's running for office.
As the District 1 assemblyman, Dahle said he's brought 110 legislators to the area. A view from District 1 makes them realize this wide swath of the North State is different from the rest of California.
"Our health care systems are spread out differently," he said.
As a state senator Dahle said he can educate that chamber about the North State and be more effective in serving his constituents.
Dahle said he's been successful in the Assembly. He pointed to $1 billion for vegetation management he helped secure before the Paradise fire erupted.
Additionally, Dahle noted that he's a business owner who has a payroll every two weeks.
Dahle said he can accomplish goals in the Legislature as a minority party member by working with Democrats on goals they share. He pointed to the Bridgeport Bridge restoration as one example.
An assemblyman since 2013, Dahle said public safety is a key goal of his. He wants funding for both law enforcement and firefighters.
Some propositions have changed certain crimes to misdemeanors and released others from prison early, Dahle said.
The assemblyman said he worked on the "Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act," an initiative that will appear on the 2020 ballot.
If passed, the act would reclassify certain crimes as violent and stop the early release of prison inmates.
Dziuba wants to stop illegal immigration. He also wants to eliminate the sanctuary state.
These, along with the protection of Second Amendment rights, are messages he emphasizes in person and on his website.
"I think our Republican leadership has failed us pretty significantly," Dziuba said.
Dziuba wants more Republicans elected to office, though he concedes that goal is long term.
Electing Republicans to local offices like district attorney and sheriff can lead to a piecemeal dissolution of the sanctuary state. According to Dziuba, counties can opt out. Get enough that refuse to be a sanctuary and the status dissipates.
"The more liberal counties certainly are not going to want to do that," he said.
A member of the Placerville Planning Commission, Dziuba sees his goals as public safety and moral issues. Immigrants who come to this country legally have respect for the law, he said.
"I think it's a moral duty for us, especially as conservatives, to begin addressing it," he said.
The founder of three companies in this state, Dziuba said state government makes it difficult to run a business. Taxes and fees burden business owners.
"It's like they're trying to kick business out," Dziuba said.
Rex Hime touts his experience in the public and private sectors, noting that he worked with Ronald Reagan when he served as governor of California. However, he's never held political office and calls himself an outsider.
Hime said neither major political party is providing the governance that's needed. Republicans say "No." Democrats say they hate President Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, there's a significant part of the state that isn't getting the representation it needs.
"The rest of us, I think, are given short shrift," Hime said. "I can help set a tone."
Hime said he can properly articulate why any particular issue is good or bad. He wants to explain what he called basic principles: what's best for the economy and families, and how to move the state forward.
Pointing to state Senate District 1, Hime said forests must be thinned to ensure the blazes that tore through Paradise don't happen again.
Urban areas in the district suffer from homelessness. The state has high poverty, yet says it's the fifth largest economy in the world, Hime said.
"There are several things we can do to make things better," he added.
Taking a jab at Assemblymen Brian Dahle and Kevin Kiley, Hime said their elevation to the state Senate would require another election to fill their newly vacated Assembly seat.
"I'm the candidate that isn't going to cost everybody more money," Hime said.
Kevin Kiley said California has not fared well under one party dominance. He said the state is in trouble and new leadership is needed.
"I think I'm well positioned to do that," Kiley said.
The District 6 assemblyman for two years, Kiley said he's found the key to success — advance good legislation that addresses the issues.
Kiley argued that voters should look at the state of California. He said it features high housing costs, high crime, a failing educational system and a low quality of life.
Republicans must show that these failures have come because of government policies, and that they can move the state in the right direction.
Asked about the issues, Kiley said taxes must be reduced.
"The gas tax was totally unjustified," he added.
Taxes like that make it more difficult to live in California and lead some people to flee the state, Kiley said.
Additionally, Kiley said public safety must be improved and the sanctuary state reversed.
He called the March 26 election extremely important, saying voters must decide whether they want a viable Republican Party. Some believe Republicans should merge with Democrats, an argument he fundamentally opposes.
To become relevant Republicans must have an agenda and properly communicate their goals to everyone.
"That's what I'm prepared to do," he said.
The only Democrat running for the District 1 state Senate seat, Silke Pflueger said she wants to offer voters an alternative.
Pflueger, an active member of Tahoe Truckee Indivisible, said Democrats are making gains in red districts like District 1. She pointed to Audrey Denney's run against U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa.
LaMalfa won in November with 54.9 percent of the vote. Denney took Nevada County — the first for a Democrat since LaMalfa won his seat in 2012.
"I really want to build on that and keep the excitement up that we had in the midterms," Pflueger said. "I felt, you know, somebody had to do it."
A German immigrant, Pflueger said she has two engineering degrees. Her background leads her to analyze topics in a different way than attorneys, dissect those issues and find solutions. She brings a vision that's different from the other candidates.
Pflueger's concerns focus on the housing crisis, fire resiliency and health care. She wants to work on public and private partnerships to bring more housing to the district, ensure homeowners can obtain insurance and have affordable and accessible health care.
According to Pflueger, Democrats must state what they stand for and what they'd bring to office if elected.
"We can deepen that message and win that way," she said. "We have to keep running."
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Six candidates are running for the former state Senate seat of Ted Gaines.
Steve Baird, of Sacramento; and Silke Pflueger, of Truckee, are running as Democrats for the seat. Brian Dahle, of Bieber; Theodore Dziuba, of Placerville; Rex Hime, of Sacramento; and Kevin Kiley, of Rocklin, are running as Republicans.
All six met the filing deadline earlier this month and have formally declared for the District 1 seat.
A special election for the office is scheduled for March 26. The election is needed because Gaines in November won a seat on the California Board of Equalization. He left the state Senate halfway through his term.
If no candidate garners 50 percent plus one vote, the top two vote-getters will advance to a June 4 runoff.
The district includes parts of Nevada, Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.
A 2016 candidate for the District 1 seat, Baird on his website said that "he basically sucked," apparently referring to himself. Baird, who calls himself a manager/broker/author, said he ran as a Republican against a Republican incumbent. Now he's running under the Democratic banner.
Baird's Top 10 initiatives, listed on his website, include a guaranteed minimum universal income of $50,000 for all, voting rights for everyone living in California and "late term abortions up to and including the 25th year."
Representing District 1 in the state Assembly, Dahle served on the Lassen County Board of Supervisors for 16 years before joining the Legislature in 2012. He's currently the Assembly Republican leader, his website states.
Dahle is a farmer and small business owner. As Republican leader he's opposed making California a sanctuary state and policies that release dangerous prisoners. He also helped protect Second Amendment and property rights, his website states.
Theodore Dziuba is a businessman who founded an e-commerce company that helped small businesses sell online. He serves on the Placerville Planning Commission and is active in El Dorado County Republican politics, his website states.
Dziuba said he wants to build strong Republican parties in every California county. He said ending California's sanctuary state status is a moral duty, and called himself a supporter of the Second Amendment.
Hime calls himself a lifelong Republican. He's currently president and CEO of the California Business Properties Association, which represents over 10,000 companies.
On his website Hime lists his professional and business experience. He's served as assistant to the director for the state Department of Consumer Affairs, and later as executive director of the California State Commission for Economic Development. He's also been director of the state's Commission on Agriculture and director of the task force on the rural economy, as well as senior assistant to the Assembly's minority leader, according to his website.
Kiley has represented District 6 in the state Assembly since his 2016 election. He's served as a private attorney and deputy attorney general. He owns and operates Ose-Kiley Cattle with former U.S. Congressman Doug Ose, his website states.
Kiley said he's worked toward expanding parental choice for under-served students, ensuring that ballot measures have impartial descriptions and stopping government double taxation.
Calling herself an immigrant who's committed to getting America back on track, Pflueger is a business woman and safety advocate. She's the co-founder and co-chairwoman of Tahoe Truckee Indivisible, her website states.
Pflueger on her website states she wants to provide accessible and affordable health care for all. She also wants to incentivize rural communities to implement renewable energy, make a college degree attainable through low- or no-tuition programs and support LGBTQ rights.