Ranchos denies attempt to hurry permit process

The members of the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District said no to developers who wanted to increase the number of water and sewer permits allowed before a well for the project is completed.

Developers for the Rocky Terrace Estates development in the Ranchos were turned down Wednesday in their bid to get an amendment to allow an additional 70 permits. The original annexation agreement allowed Rocky Terrace 20 water and sewer permits based on the water capacity needed for the current and future water users in the Ranchos.

Larry Walsh, co-manager of the Rocky Terrace Estates development, said the well has been tested but not completed.

"We have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get the well designed," said Walsh. "It will be 3-5 more months to build the well. It won't be online until summer. The project was going to be in phases, now we'd like to do to it all at one time.

"The improvements have been accepted and (we want to be) selling lots to our customers. We request to amend the annexation agreement. We hope to be allowed to do hook-up fees," he said.

With the renewed interest in the Sustainable Growth Initiative and lot sales needed to recoup their original investment, Rocky Terrace developers asked to be allowed permits for the entire number of units in the development before the well has been started. District Manager Bob Spellberg said it would probably be mid-summer before Well No. 9 is completed.

District trustee Bruce Reavis said the board gave Rocky Terrace permission to do 20 units without a well - why not units 21-90?

"They want to get in before SGI," said Reavis. "Cut them some slack."

"If you cut them some slack, we'll have to cut everyone else some slack," said Spellberg. "There are three different contractors on this project. It opens a can of worms - we'd have to do it for others."

District Counsel Mike Rowe agreed.

"We can't treat one different than another," said Rowe. "It would be absolutely right for (developer) Greg Lynn to come and say, 'You did it for them...' (do it for me)."

Spellberg said he wouldn't feel comfortable supporting 90 additional units if Rocky Terrace's well wasn't completed as agreed.

"We barely maintain our peak times in July and August, but we've always been able to keep up," he said.

At 1,000 gallons per unit per day, 90 more units could put a strain on supplying water to the Ranchos.

"We have to protect our constituents," said Spellberg.

District Chairwoman Beverly Page said she was concerned about allowing developers additional sewer and water permits, and the district getting sued if it couldn't provide water to its constituents.

"We have our heaviest water used coming up and you don't have your well completed," Page said.

"We promised 20 permits without a well," said Spellberg. "We have to consider the worst case scenario. Our recommendations now are based on the capacity going over and the possibility of two other subdivision developers coming back and wanting to be treated the same.

"(If the well doesn't produce) they could be robbing from what we have now. That's why we had 20 units only," he said.

Developer Kent Neddenriep said the Sustainable Growth Initiative is the reason why they're asking for more sewer and water permits.

"Slow growth was not an issue but has changed things," he said. "If slow growth wasn't looming, we wouldn't ask for it."

"You knew about it already," said Page. "You were gambling because slow growth was out there."

The board voted to stay with the original agreement that allows Rocky Terrace 20 water and sewer permits.


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