Planning Commission votes to raise roof limits

The roof could be raised another 5 feet for multi-use commercial buildings in Douglas County. Planning commissioners approved raising the height restriction for mixed-use commercial developments to 50 feet.

The approval came despite feedback from both Minden and Gardnerville town boards, who preferred the current 45-foot height restriction.

The extra 5 feet will allow for improved roof design, said planning commission member Margaret Pross.

"When the heights are limited to 45 feet, we'll see mostly parapets," Pross said. "The extra height will allow for a vast improvement with respect to roof lines and provide more compatibility with nearby neighborhoods."

"I can understand the towns' concerns about buildings that are too high, but we felt that extra 5 feet could provide better design, more in tune with what Minden and Gardnerville want," said planning commission Chairwoman Nancy McDermid. "The planning commission is very sensitive to recommendations by the town boards."

The added height is another tool residents will be able to use to maintain the character and quality of a town, she said.

"The towns will be reviewing these projects and the added height should be OK, if the project is properly designed," she said.

A mixed-use community blends businesses, restaurants, theaters and homes all within easy walking distance. It's a concept designed to preserve open space and reduce costs through more efficient use of infrastructure. With the reduction in infrastructure costs more affordable housing can be built, according to a report by the National Association of Home Builders.

The concept could also provide transition areas between strictly commercial and single-family homes. Mixed-use developments would not work in a strictly agricultural area, but in specific areas it could be very effective, McDermid said.

"We're trying to make this fit for Minden and Gardnerville, but we don't want to restrict other areas in the county," said planning commission member Bob Conner.

The planning commission vote is advisory and the issue will be forwarded to county commissioners.

n Susie Vasquez can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 211.


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