Clear Creek subdivision denied

A Minden judge on Wednesday ordered the denial of a 1,476-acre subdivision at the head of Clear Creek Canyon in Northern Douglas County.

District Judge Dave Gamble ordered Douglas County commissioners to deny the Clear Creek Ranch subdivision, saying the June 3 approval was arbitrary.

Gamble's 21-page ruling was filed with the Douglas County clerk Wednesday afternoon, and many of those involved had yet to see it.

Don Miner, who is developer John Serpa's spokesman, said he could not comment on the order until he had seen it.

The plan proposed by Serpa would develop 221 one-acre lots and 155 8,000-square-foot lots. The development consists of 366 single-family homes and 18 time-share or guest lodges associated with a private golf course.

Deputy District Attorney Tom Perkins said the next step will be up to county commissioners.

"Under our system of government, the judge has the power to review political decisions," Perkins said. "Judge Gamble has made the decision and he has the responsibility and authority to do that. I don't know what is going to happen next. Whether we do anything about it is up to the board."

In supporting his order, Gamble ruled commissioners "failed to make all the numerous findings required to amend the Douglas County master plan and were not presented with evidence sufficient to make those necessary findings."

Gamble rejected the argument that the development had to be approved in order to obtain infrastructure needed to support the number of homes the developer could put on the property.

He pointed out that most of the infrastructure the county hopes to obtain was already approved.

"This points out the proverbial slippery slope that respondent Clear Creek's project and the county's master plan have been placed upon and which the petitioner complains about."

In his ruling, Gamble pointed out that if the project faltered, the developer could return and ask for another change, saying the approved project is still not feasible until more density is approved.

Alpine View homeowners sued the county over the approval of the Clear Creek project in December.

Opponents challenged the county's November approval of the project, saying there was no super majority.

In response Gamble ordered a new hearing, where commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the project, saying the alternative was to have nearly 100 homes in the forest with no sewer or water service.

In his ruling, Gamble pointed out the master plan requires the county to work with the Washoe Tribe, which has been vocal in opposition to the development.

Some sort of development has been proposed for the former Schneider Ranch in Clear Creek Canyon since December 2000.


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