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Chester Progressive
Chester , California
June 17, 2015     Chester Progressive
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June 17, 2015

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, June 17, 2015 1B RE( ;] (D]q0000L Feather River Inn Annexation dialogue may be continu Ann Powers Staff Writer Standing in the line at the grocery store, picking up mail at the post office or giving a tourist some directions, community leaders say the conversation seems to inevitably turn to What's up with the Feather River Inn? "There are an awful lot of tourists asking me about that place all the time," said Audrey Ellis, Eastern Plumas Chamber of Commerce director. "People want to know, When is it opening? When can we come and stay there? Or they tell me stories about vacationing there when they were younger." By law, the turn-of-the-century historic landmark cannot reopen for business until it's annexed into a fire district for protection. Owned by Arizona-based Schomac Group, the project's progress came to a halt last year when annexation negotiations with the Graeagle Fire Protection District met an impasse over fees and terms. Recently, both sides said they're willing to break bread and find a solution it's just a matter of coming to the table and when. "At some point it's going to be me in a room with those guys and we'll have to have a face-to-face conversation and figure out what's best for this area," said Ryan Schoff, Schomac Grouppresident. While still willing to meet, district directors had a different approach on the matter. "We've had to retreat to a defensible position," said GFPD director Don Clark. "We've been searching to get back to the way we were before this whole thing blew up." That "way we were" included a $250,000 annexation buy-in fee in 2014, down from $500,000 proposed in 2008. Schomac representatives said they didn't agree with the terms because they felt there wasn't sufficient evidence, such as an The Whi Today, the Feather River Inn's restoration is on hold pending an annexation agreement that met an impasse between the developers and the Graeagle Fire Protection District. Photo by Ann Powers Assembly Bill 1600 fee justification study, backing those amounts. - !'I was moxecQafused and -, kind of surprised," said Schoff. "I really just wanted answers to understand'it. It's more of a 'Hey guys, just tell us where you came up with this and we just want to understand it.'" GFPD officials anSwered by saying their engineer determined an AB 1600 study was not required, instead, the board presented a 2008 report from The McMullen Co. with a needs assessment for fee prevention and suppression equaling $500,000, which was later cut in half. "The resort will substantially increase the district's responsibilities and will require a related immediate increase in GFPD assets, equipment and operational programs with no potential for volunteer firefighters from the commercial development," district officials stated in a letter dated Dec. 20, 2014. Instead of the board's Back in the day, the Feather River Inn provides a place for the elite to meet and experience a rustic, yet refined, mountain resort adventure. Photo courtesy "defensible position," locals wanting to see the inn reopen and benefit the greater good by aiding the region's economy comeback suggested a free, third-party mediator. "I do not know how they came up with the amounts to annex," said H&M consultant See Inn, page 14B Once a hot spot for luxury getaways, current,conditions at the Feather River Inn need improvement, and a fire district annexation agreement, before the resort's doors can open to the public again. Photos courtesy, by Ann Powers The Feather River Inn's owner, Arizona-based Schomac Group, has several developments throughout Plumas County including The Lodge at Nakoma scheduled to open this summer. Photo by Jon Jaress LIGHTNING "Hundreds of Items to be Sold Every Week!"