News Release

Location for New Nevada City Courthouse Narrowed Down to Three Potential Sites

Project Advisory Group picked the sites based on size, neighboring services, transportation options, and other criteria
Mar 21, 2024

NEVADA CITY—At its March 13 meeting, the Project Advisory Group for the new Nevada City Courthouse agreed on the three top potential sites for the new building:

  • USDA National Forest Service Office location
  • Melo Pello/Hirschman area—northwest corner of Cement Hill Road and Hwy 49
  • Parcels at the corner of Highway 49 and Coyote

Project Advisory Group Members and Scoring Criteria
The Project Advisory Group—which includes local representatives from the court, Nevada City government, attorneys, law enforcement, and the community—scored a total of 14 potential sites for the new building suggested by advisory group members and other local residents and potential sellers.

The scoring criteria weighed many factors, such as:

  • Parcel size
  • Surrounding properties
  • Site characteristics (near the jail, other government offices, downtown/city center, etc.)
  • Traffic and transportation
  • Security concerns
  • Environmental issues

Benefits of a New Courthouse
The new courthouse will replace and consolidate the court’s operations and courtrooms located in the county-owned Nevada City Courthouse and Courthouse Annex buildings—originally constructed in 1864 and 1964 respectively.

The court's current space is also overcrowded, has insufficient space for security screening and jury assembly and deliberation, and has no separate hallway to keep in-custody defendants away from the public. The new courthouse will relieve the current space shortfall and improve safety, security, and accessibility.

Next Steps
At each of the three finalist sites, experts will:

  • Perform preliminary environmental assessments
  • Identify potential biological, cultural, and tribal cultural considerations
  • Determine the site boundaries, topography, access routes, proximity to justice partners and services, potential flood zones, geological conditions, seismic zones, and other construction issues

Once the above tasks are complete, the local Project Advisory Group will again score and rank the final three sites—the findings will then be reviewed/analyzed by the Judicial Council, the court, and the Project Advisory Group to confirm one preferred and one alternate site.

Those two sites will then be presented to the council’s Administrative Director and at a public meeting of the council’s Court Facilities Advisory Committee. The public can provide written or in-person comments at committee meetings—dates and meeting agendas are posted on the committee’s public webpage.

The property acquisition phase is appropriated and funded. The site can be selected and purchased, noting that the next phase of the project, performance criteria, originally anticipated for appropriation in fiscal year 2025-26, is reliant on improvement of state revenues.

For more information on the project and the site selection process, visit the New Nevada City Courthouse project webpage.

Part of a Statewide Courthouse Construction Program
The New Nevada City Courthouse was ranked as an “Immediate Need” in the judicial branch’s capital-outlay plan, making it among the branch’s highest-priority infrastructure projects. Since the state’s judicial branch assumed responsibility for court construction and maintenance in 2002, the branch has completed 35 new courthouse projects and 18 are currently under way. These include new court facilities in both large and small counties, as well as urban and rural areas across the state.