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Local News

Planning Commission supports Bella Vista proposal; eight feet of snow in Nat'l Forest

Trees and a yellow sign that says "Eel River Ranger Station" are covered in snow.
Mendocino National Forest Facebook Page.
Mendocino National Forest Facebook Page.
The Eel River Ranger Station in Covelo during this week's snow storm.

Mendocino County is included in the California state of emergency declaration due to snow and rainstorms. Bella Vista, formerly known as Gardens Gate, is on its way to the Board of Supervisors for approval.

As the current atmospheric river got underway, the Mendocino County Planning Commission enthusiastically supported a long-deferred proposal for a housing development on the south end of Ukiah. The reconfigured plans for Bella Vista, a nearly 50-acre site with 171 parcels on it, are on their way to the Board of Supervisors for its consideration.

And Mendocino County is now included in the state’s emergency declaration. Within hours of the Board of Supervisors ratifying a local emergency on Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom added Mendocino, Lake, and Humboldt Counties to the thirteen original counties that made up the state’s declaration on March first. This recognizes that local resources are not enough to cope with the storm, and frees up fairgrounds to be used as emergency shelters. A total of 21 counties are now included in the state’s declaration.

The snowfall has been historic in the Mendocino National Forest, with the snowpack at Anthony Peak close to eight feet on March third. That’s 127% of average for that location, which has been measured since 1944. The peak is at 6200 feet elevation, about 26 miles northeast of Covelo. This year’s 92 inches varied drastically from last April, when there was no measurable snow at either of the Covelo Ranger Station’ sites.

Further south in Mendocino County, a few muted concerns about water availability were not enough to quell support for a proposal to build 171 homes in a former vineyard just off of Ukiah’s South State Street. The Willow Water District and the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District have provided will-serve notices to the developer, Guillon Inc. Thirty-nine of the units will be set aside for people 55 and older, and thirteen units will be affordable to moderate income buyers, though moderate income in Mendocino County tops out at around $96,000,according to consultant Linda Roofing, who presented the staff report yesterday.

The project received full-throated support in letters from local employers, including Adventist Hospital, Mendocino College, SEIU Local 1021, which represents workers at the county, the court, the college, and the city of Fort Bragg. Ross Liberty, of Factory Pipe, said he thinks the proposal is the kind of housing that will keep workers in the area.

Local News
Sarah Reith came to Mendocino County in 2008 and worked as a reporter and freelancer, joining KZYX as a community news reporter in 2017. She became the KZYX News Director in March, 2023.