404 homes proposed for Johnson Lane

A proposed 404-home project on 300 acres east of Heybourne Road between Johnson Lane and Stephanie Way has sparked a petition drive.

The property is currently zoned forest and range with 19-acre lots and together with a coalition of neighbors, Steve Swabacker, president of the Wildhorse Homeowners Association, is circulating a petition to keep it that way.

"This is just one more large subdivision, coming at a time when we don't know how we'll be handling growth in Douglas County," he said. "Why are we considering another 400 units?"

Swabacker was referring to Douglas County's ongoing efforts to set a growth cap, part of the 10-year master plan review.

"Thousands of units proposed by other developers are already cued up before this one," Swabacker said. "And we have other major issues, like traffic, infrastructure and water."

In addition to impacts on already-stressed police and fire protection, a project of this scale will impact schools. The area is in the flight path for Minden-Tahoe Airport and at certain times of the year it floods, Swabacker said.

He called this a county-wide issue and to that end, he and others will be circulating their petition at local events.

"Wherever there's a public venue," he said.

Included in the project are 304 single-family units on 12,000-square-foot lots priced at between $519,000 and $735,000. Another 100 townhomes would be priced for work-force housing at around $235,000 and 34 single-family homes would be priced at $325,000 based on the current market, according to information provided by R.O. Anderson Engineering.

The project includes five acres for neighborhood commercial. Over 100 acres of open space will be dedicated to Douglas County, including five miles of public trails.

The deadline for requesting the needed master plan amendment is late September.

The project has not been reviewed by either the Douglas County Planning Commission or County Commission, but that review is expected to start either in November or December, according to the engineering firm.

The deadline for requesting the needed master plan amendment is late September, according to county officials.

The project is being proposed by developer Bill Merrill, who has built many of the homes in Saratoga Springs.

The request comes just months after Carson Valley Christian Center asked Douglas County's planning commission for a zoning change on a neighboring 38.8-acre parcel, from forest and range to public facility.

The church rescinded that request following an agreement between residents and the church.

As long as neighbors support the special use application required for additional student and worship centers, Christian Center officials agreed to rescind their application for the zoning change.

n Susie Vasquez can be reached at svasquez@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 211.


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