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Posted on: December 6, 2023

North San Juan Fire Suppression System Could Help Spur Economic Opportunity

Fire fighting

North San Juan could get a 330,000-gallon water storage tank, 4,200 feet of water mains and 10 fire hydrants, with construction expected as soon as 2025.

The proposed $3 million North San Juan Fire Suppression System got a win Tuesday when the Board of Supervisors voted to apply to the Nevada County Local Agency Formation Commission to form a County Service Area  to pay for the system.

In an interview with KVMR radio after the meeting, Deputy North San Juan Fire Chief Tom Browning said the new system is critical to allowing development in the small community of North San Juan.  “The community is really stifled with a no-growth problem because they have no fire flow,” he said, explaining that fire flow is the amount of water needed to put out a fire in a building.  The town is at capacity now.

“We’re excited that we took the largest building we have in the community, based this project on the fire flow for that building, and applied that to the rest of the community so that water will be available for contractors to build anything from a single-family residence to a laundromat or grocery store or whatever they feel is going to fit into the needs for that community," he said.

If approved, property owners of 142 parcels in the CSA would pay an annual $128-per-parcel charge to fund the operation and maintenance of the system.  Property owners would get a chance to vote on the formation of the CSA with a special mailed ballot that would be sent directly to them.  

The County, which would own the fire suppression system,  expects to receive $1 million from the United States Department of Agriculture Community Facilities Program but the remainder of the project remains unfunded to date. Staff said it will be pursuing other funds at the state and federal level.

The fire suppression system, which would be operated by the North San Juan Fire Protection District,  has been discussed in the community for more than 13 years.  “I’m excited to see this,” said Supervisor Sue Hoek, who represents the area. “This is a big step for North San Juan…I just can’t wait for the ribbon-cutting.”

For more information, see www.nevadacountyca.gov/NSJFireSystem.

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