Supreme Court rejects new growth hearing

The Nevada Supreme Court has rejected the latest attempt by developers to throw out Douglas County's Sustainable Growth Initiative.

Syncon Homes asked the high court to reconsider its earlier ruling that Douglas voters had the right to put strict limits on new development. Syncon lawyers argued the ruling was invalid because less than four justices concurred in the opinion. But the high court ruled only a majority concurrence is required.

"Rehearing denied," stated the order issued late Monday.

Douglas County, the Douglas County Building Association and a host of developers are trying to get the voter-approved cap of 280 new homes per year thrown out. Developers say that would put them out of business and District Judges David Gamble and Michael Gibbons have both ruled in their favor.

But the high court unanimously held voters have the right to impose zoning and development policy. They said unlike the Fuji Park initiative and the attempt to get Reno voters to block the train trench project, SGI sought to establish a countywide policy. Fuji Park and the train trench votes were both tossed out by the court because they attempted to impose a specific administrative decision. The ruling stated that administrative decisions are not proper subjects for initiative petitions but that policy is.

The court ruled Douglas County citizens have the right to put measures on the ballot which change policy for the county.

"Our decision in Sustainable Growth properly announced the court's judgment and Syncon's assertion is without merit," the order concluded.

It was signed by five members of the court participating in the case including Senior Justice Miriam Shearing. Justices Jim Hardesty, Bill Maupin and Mark Gibbons - whose brother handled the case in Douglas County - did not participate in the ruling.


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