Another cement wall is going up on the north end of Minden following last weeks' approval of Minden Gateway Center by the Douglas County Board of Commissioners - yet another symptom of the Douglas County's planning system's inability to provide the kind of quality planning critical to keeping Carson Valley beautiful.
The wall will separate Minden Townhomes, a small enclave of two-story condominiums sandwiched between commercial areas, from the 13.3-acre commercial development proposed for the intersection of Highway 395 and State Route 88.
Townhome residents said they approve of the overall project but opposed the placement of a three-story hotel just yards from their homes. They also oppose placement of an exit near their front doors and the attendant traffic congestion.
Developers contend the hotel's location provides the right visibility for their clients. They've angled the hotel as well as the windows to afford townhome residents more privacy.
Developers threw in a cement wall for good measure, but that doesn't mean residents won't be bothered by lights and traffic. It also doesn't mean that a more creative and inclusive solution that embraces the townhomes rather than closing them off isn't out there somewhere.
Architect Bruce Race, the consultant who oversaw development of both Minden's and Gardnerville's Plans for Prosperity, included community input during all phases of the plan.
Minden Townhomes residents complained about being left out of the process, saying they weren't notified until it was too late.
Race advocates a more aggressive and proactive stance for local boards to create the types of communities residents want. Despite concerns voiced by four out of five commissioners, the project was approved by a 3-2 vote.
Commissioners debated the subject at length and seemed to be leaning toward denial until developers said they would pull the whole project if they didn't get their hotel location.
Acceptance of this project indicates a failure of this system and it doesn't just affect the residents of Minden Townhomes. It impacts all of us.