Ananda Village has been working with our local Nevada County since the early 1970’s to make the dream of a spiritual village come to fruition within the structure of California development and planning regulations. The Village started as an organized “church camp”, but quickly outgrew that designation. The creation of the first comprehensive Master Plan for Ananda Village was a multi-year process ending in 1978. Two County General Plans, many use permits, and several updates to the Master Plan later, Ananda Village is still evolving and growing. In government planning terms, Ananda Village is a Planned Development (PD), integrating clustered residential development, commercial and light industrial uses, and a high percentage of open space.
Our local county planners try to anticipate the challenges of sprawl and economic development in rural areas. The Nevada County General Plan sets forth many guiding principles for managing the growth and development of the county. As you will see in the list below, Ananda Village has integrated quite well into many of the themes, goals and objectives of Nevada County’s General Plan:
- Fostering a rural quality of life
- Sustaining a quality environment
- Development of a strong diversified, sustainable local economy
- Public services appropriate to the character of each region
- Reduced dependence on the automobile by clustering growth
- Public services sufficient to meet requirements for development
- Affordable housing for all income segments
- Integration of open space in community land use patterns
- Providing for the arts as a cultural and economic asset
Working Creatively with the County Planners
We work hard to integrate our development goals into approaches that county officials can fit into their regulatory framework. In reality, Ananda Village is quite different from conventional developments, and it is therefore a constant process of give and take with county officials to insure that regulations are met while holding onto the underlying purpose of Ananda Village. Some of the differences include:
- All the land within Ananda PD is owned and developed cooperatively. The same people plan the development, build the infrastructure and buildings, and live in the finished development. Because the land has not been subdivided, Ananda Village has been able to densify development through infill in existing housing clusters.
- Development has been slow and organic. There are no outside financial imperatives driving development at Ananda Village.
- Ananda provides its own services: school, roads, water, septic, security, fire clearing and fire water storage, and community planning; and we work closely with the local fire protection district to prepare for and fight fires within and near the Village.
- We live cooperatively, sharing resources, and making decisions for the best of the community. Examples of this include: people moving among dwelling units as their needs change; modifying available housing and commercial buildings to meet changing needs and demographics; helping each other out in times of hardship; working together to start businesses and create jobs.
- All non-residential use areas within the Ananda Village Planned Development are owned and controlled by one owner, Ananda Church of Self-Realization. This allows us to internally make decisions about compatibility of use. As the zones with greatest impact (light manufacturing and commercial), are in the center of the Village, we ourselves experience the greatest effects of these zones. We live with the consequences of our decisions and are able to mitigate or change them as needed.
- Parcels surrounding the commercial and industrial zones are owned by Ananda, resulting in buffered impacts to neighboring properties.
- One of Ananda Village’s primary goals is to keep housing affordable and in alignment with what the local economy can support. Ananda housing is owned cooperatively, and what gets built and how it is used is a group decision. Ananda Village’s ownership system has eliminated financial speculation in the housing market. We live simply on the material level, but strive to live for high ideals of service, cooperation, and stewardship.