Nevada City, CA
170 Ridge Road Affordable Housing Project

STATUS: At their regular meeting on June 24, 2020, the City Council approved the  Architectural Review and Site Plan application for the development of a 56-unit apartment complex in six buildings at 170 Ridge Road. An Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared in conjunction with Nevada City's authorization of the Central California Housing Corporation and the Regional Housing Authority to submit a request to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the release of Project Based Section 8 Vouchers under Section 8(o)(13) of the Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. § 1437f(o)(13)), as amended. The full EA and a Notice of Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) can viewed using the links below: 

Environmental Assessment (EA)
Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing development of a 56-unit apartment complex in six buildings at 170 Ridge Road. The approximate square footage of the complex is 57,000 square feet and will feature a mix of eleven one-bedroom units, thirty two-bedroom units, and fifteen three-bedroom units.  All units are proposed to be affordable to low and extremely low income households (exclusive of a manager’s unit) as follows: 

Unit Count

Income level


Extremely low (30% of median income)


Very low (40% of median income)


Very low (50% of median income)


Low (60% of median income)


Manager’s Unit (not income-restricted)

For reference, the US Census Bureau ACS 5-year estimates currently reflect Nevada City’s median income at $43,098. This number is adjusted every year.

The 4.59 acre parcel is currently vacant and has a base zoning designation of Service Lodge (SL) and has a Scenic Corridor  (SC) and an Annexation (AN) combining district. The purpose of the AN designation is for payment of development fees levied on those properties annexed after April 24, 1985. The SC designation is applied to land adjacent to roads and highways considered to be  particularly important to protect the existing essential character of Nevada City, and preserving the existing tree cover to the greatest extent possible, and assuring visually pleasing corridors.

As a project with 100% of units affordable (exclusive of a manager’s unit) to low income groups at a 55 year commitment, it is eligible for up to an 80% density bonus pursuant to California's Density Bonus Law. The applicant suggests eligibility for project streamlining pursuant to SB35.  Staff has determined that the project is subject to the streamlined, ministerial approval process set forth in SB 35.  As a project subject to SB-35, the project is only required to provide parking at a 1 space: 1 unit ratio. The applicant is proposing 81 parking and is therefore exceeding the required parking ratio.   Also under California’s Density Bonus Law (Gov. Code § 65915), the project is entitled to up to four concessions, which would allow for the project to exceed City development standards. For this project, the applicant is requesting to exceed the 40-foot height limitation with potential to go up to 46 feet, and a concession to encroach within standard setbacks by 8-feet. 

 The property will be served by NID water and City sewer. There are no natural water bodies or water conveyance features on the project site. The property is relatively flat with an average slope of approximately 5% that drains from the Zion/Ridge intersection easterly toward Searls Avenue. The perimeter and eastern half of the site exhibits coniferous forest vegetation that appears to be dominated by ponderosa pine and cedar trees. Approximately, 89 trees out of 375 trees will need to be removed from the site in order to accommodate the project. Surrounding uses include a church across Ridge Road to the south, office uses to the north and across Zion Street to the west, and State Highway 20/49 to the east.

Staff Report:
City Council Meeting 6/24/2020 Staff Report
Staff Report Addendum 6/24/2020


  1. Architectural Review Application
  2. Architectural drawing: site plan and building elevations
  3. Civil drawings (updated 6/3/20: Topographic survey; preliminary grading, drainage and utility plan; a tree removal plan
  4. Landscape Plan (updated 6/9/2020)
  5. Traffic Study (updated 6/4/2020)
  6. Drainage Report
  7. Sewer Report


1. Memorandum on SB-35 Eligibility
2. Applicant's Parking Analysis

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