Economic Issues surrounding the Idaho Maryland Mine project

The General Plan and Land Utilization

  • Our general plan embraces the importance of providing housing and businesses in a centralized way to allow a walk-able, sustainable community.
  • A General Plan amendment and Zoning change will be required at the IMM site.Current designated land use of the Idaho-Maryland site is for 56 acres of Residential Urban Medium Density housing (UMD) and 46 acres of Business Park (BP), and these will have to be changed to Manufacturing/Industrial for the project.
  • Affordable housing is a need. The potential to have more 400 residences constructed in one of the last remaining tracts of land on the north side of Bennett St, adjacent to ideal Business Park lands, and all a walk-able 1.25 miles from downtown Grass Valley, will be lost. The Master Environmental Assessment for the project listed as potentially significant impact the following Population and Housing item: “Displace substantial numbers of existing housing units, necessitating the construction of replacement housing elsewhere?” Is this wise? see maps and details.

Mining Zoning Allowances

  • The Surface Mining and Reclamation Act establishes the Mining and Reclamation Combining Zone (MRCZ) that allows for mineral development to be combined with other zones. However mineral development uses are not allowed on sites with Business Park and UMD land use designations, requiring a General Plan Amendment. In addition, regions of the proposed development site utilized by the Ceramics Factory would not qualify under this provision.

Jobs and Careers

  • The Mine and Ceramics Factory together will provide up to 400 “permanent” jobs. It will take a number of years before full employment is reached, and of course when the mine closes down after approximately 15 years of full production* many if not all of these jobs will be lost.
  • How do projected jobs provided by the mine and ceramics factory compared to projected jobs provided by the natural economic growth as the property is developed according to the General Plan? Are we discouraging high tech start ups in this region?
  • What will be the impact in 20 years when the mine shuts down, and how do we evaluate this impact with respect to the long term economic assessment?
    Read this for more detail on Jobs.

What are the short and long term economic benefits of the mine?

  • “Indirect opportunities for businesses and job creation as mine employees purchase goods and services in the community”
    • If jobs are offered to local residents, of course these residents are already purchasing goods and services in the community. A clean industry or business moving into the community would provide the same opportunities, and probably last longer.
  • “Increased tax revenue...”
    • Corporate income tax does not go to the city. Sales tax revenues would be for retail sales. Perhaps this is referring to items in a gift shop? Development fees are increased revenue to cover increased expenses for the city in that they are assessed to pay for the additional cost of infrastructure and impacts that are caused by the project.
  • “Opportunities for our youth”
    • Jobs that can be provided by any new business, plus mining jobs that will have no future.
  • “Support of essential public services”
    • This is repeating the previous item. It is only fair that the taxpayers don’t pay for the impact on public services and improvements that a new development requires.
  • “Traffic improvements, including a connector road from Idaho-Maryland Road to East Bennett Street”.
    • According to the application, the road is to be built to “private road standards”, gated, and will prohibit access for non-employees of the mine. When the mine shuts down the city will have to upgrade it to “public road standards”. By making the road private, it impedes the anticipated relief from the extreme bottleneck region running from Bennett to IM Road on E.Main for another 20 years.

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