County approves first reading of Clear Creek agreement |

County approves first reading of Clear Creek agreement

by Sheila Gardner

Towering pines are reflected in a pond along the 11th hole green at Clear Creek Tahoe Golf Course.

Douglas County commissioners authorized a development agreement Thursday for the upscale Clear Creek subdivision toward construction of wastewater and water systems.

The board voted unanimously for the agreement in which Clear Creek will construct water improvements subject to plans approved by Douglas County.

The item will have a second reading April 3.

The county is to reimburse Clear Creek up to $1 million for costs paid by Clear Creek in connection with the improvements officials say will benefit the county.

Commissioners emphasized that they are not subsidizing the project, nor requiring homeowners in the adjacent Alpine View Estates to hook up to the county water system.

"We're going to spend that million dollars anyway," said Commissioner Greg Lynn. "This is a tremendous benefit to Douglas County by looping on the water system for $1 million instead of $2 million. It's for a good cause as far as I'm concerned."

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The development agreement has a provision for a temporary loan with the subdivision to borrow $1 million from the county, and make a $1 million cash payment in-lieu of Clear Creek constructing a new well.

The Clear Creek subdivision is a 366-home project in northern Douglas County approved in 2003 over the objections of neighbors who went to the Nevada Supreme Court in an unsuccessful attempt to stop it.

Under the original approval, the development's owners were required to build the on-site water system and off-site improvements to connect to the county's system.

In lieu of constructing a well in the West Valley Water System, the developer would pay an additional $1 million to the county in installments as each lot is sold, and provide other assurance of repayment to the county.

Neighboring Alpine View Estates residents questioned the payback timetable and benefit.

"There is no mention of any benefit to our neighborhood," said Lawrence Elvik. "You're making what amounts to a $2 million loan to developers to be paid by the sale of lots."

Elvik estimated that 40 home sites in the area had been developed in the past 10 years.

"How can you possibly forecast 10 times that many in the next 10 years?" he asked the board.

Chief Civil Deputy District Attorney Doug Ritchie said the county needs the flexibility to take the money from the well for future use. He said the demand for water would come as each connection is made, providing the county with a pool of money to be used for future infrastructure.

"We do not desire to make you hook up to the water line, but if you have a failed well, you will want to have good water available," Commissioner Doug Johnson said.

According to the development agreement, Clear Creek will pay the county an amount equivalent to 110 percent of all funds paid by the county to construct the water line on or before July 1, 2018.

Until payment is made, Clear Creek will secure and maintain a payment bond or other security in favor of the county in the amount of $1.1 million to ensure full reimbursement to the county.

The county will charge connection fees with the issuance of a building permit in addition to a surcharge for off-site water storage infrastructure totaling approximately $1 million.

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