Transferring development rights preserving open space

The implementation of transfer development rights will be used preserve 600 to 700 acres of agricultural land through the development of Syncon Homes' Clear Creek project in north Douglas County.

An additional 1,063 acres will be preserved as an integral part of the project, said County Manager Dan Holler.

Proposed by Syncon Homes, the project includes homes, timeshares and a golf course on about 300 acres.

The property is located in a pristine canyon away from any infrastructure improvements, like water and sewer.

County officials approved conversion of the property into a receiving area, one designated for development, so land would have to be dedicated for preservation by the developer through Douglas County's transfer development rights program, Holler said.

"The developers wanted to transfer development rights to the project, but we said no. We didn't want to give them two bites at the apple," he said.

In November 2000, the voters of Douglas County failed to support an increase in the sales tax which would have provided funding for the acquisition of development rights as outlined in Douglas County's master plan.

Two other programs are used in Douglas County to preserve open space, agricultural and other environmentally sensitive lands.

Cluster development program creates open space by grouping homes on a small portion of the total acreage.

Easements can be set aside through purchase development rights offered through federal and other programs, like the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act.

Through this program, the proceeds from lands sold within a specific boundary around Las Vegas can be used to purchase environmentally sensitive lands in other parts of the state.

The revenue derived from these land sales is split between the General Education Fund (5 percent), the Southern Nevada Water Authority (10 percent), and a special account available to the Secretary of the Interior for a number of special projects, including Lake Tahoe restoration, multi-species habitat conservation and environmentally sensitive land acquisitions.

The program is governed by the Bureau of Land Management.

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


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