Hot Springs expansion merits public meeting

A public meeting to discuss the proposed Sierra Hot Springs Project is being conducted by the Sierra County Planning Department on Saturday, June 29, at the Sierraville School beginning at 10 a.m.

Sierra Hot Springs, formerly Campbell Hot Springs, has a history as a resort going back to the 19th century. In 2012, Sierra Hot Springs assembled a planning and design team to prepare a master plan detailing the proposed expansion of Sierra Hot Springs and to present it to the County of Sierra for environmental review, public input and approval.

The team, led by Sierra Hot Springs co-manager Kaisa MacDonald, included Bruce Boyd as site planner and architect and Andy Cassano of Nevada City Engineering as environmental and community planner.

The formal application for the project was submitted to Sierra County in February 2015. The county retained the environmental planning firm of Dudek to prepare the environmental initial study.

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According to the Sierra Hot Springs Master Plan, the county and the applicant chose to work though identified issues as they were identified, before the completion of the environmental initial study.

According to the hot springs planning team, this process included, but was not limited to, a wetland delineation, extensive archaeological study of selected areas, responsible agency consultation, extensive consultation with Sierra County Fire Protection District No. 1 and CalFire, hammering out a road improvement program with the county, informational emails to interested parties, and an open house held at Sierra Hot Springs.

Tim Beals, Sierra County planning director, stated that it is hoped that the upcoming public meeting will be kept under three hours if possible, but is scheduled to be a two-hour meeting. The meeting will be informal and open to the public at large.

The primary goals of the meeting are to provide accurate orientation and information to those attending and to gather information and seek very clear feedback from those attending of how concerns about the proposed project might be addressed.

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The meeting is organized to allow the first hour for presentations on the scope of the proposed project, project evolution and the process that has occurred to date, and a synopsis of Sierra County General Plan vision.

The second hour will be devoted to open discussion and exchange of comments on the project and the input received during the environmental consultation period.

The project proponent and landowner, the environmental consultant retained by the County and County staff will all be present and participating in the meeting.

A representative from the Sierra Business Council will also be present to assist in conducting the meeting.

“We hope to see you at this meeting and look forward to your participation. We will have some refreshments available at the meeting,” said organizers. For more information, visit sierracounty.ca.gov.