Redevelopment examined at conference

A critical issues conference Tuesday focused on redevelopment in Carson Valley.

The Business Council of Douglas County hosts the conference every year.

R.O. Anderson planner Keith Ruben defined redevelopment as government-subsidized investment in existing properties. In a redevelopment district, property tax is fixed at a certain rate with any excess assessed value going back into reinvestment, funding things like infrastructure and taking tax pressure off developers.

Ruben gave examples of recent redevelopment, such as sewer projects at David Walleys Hot Springs and Ridgeview in Indian Hills.

"Redevelopment is a way to get economic life back into areas that are not 21st century," said county commissioner Nancy McDermid. "It looks at how building environments can be enhanced."

Economist for the National Association of Home Builders Elliot Eisenberg addressed the slow real estate market in Carson Valley.

"It will get better quicker here than other parts of the country," Eisenberg said. "You have a lovely climate, lovely weather and scenery that aren't going away."

Darin Dinsmore, owner of Dinsmore Sierra and Regional Planning Partners, discussed redevelopment plans for Minden and Gardnerville. He talked about mistakes made developing the West.

"Sometimes the purpose of your life is to be a warning for others," he said, while showing a picture of a house built on top of a cliff. "We need to rethink how we plan for the future and be very proactive."

Dinsmore described recent redevelopment in Murphy, California. He said the development of strategic parking and pedestrian-friendly streets and sidewalks allow customers to park once and walk around downtown, boosting local businesses.

"Find the best elements of a town's character and build upon those elements," Dinsmore said.

Dinsmore said Minden was designed very elegantly, and that future redevelopment should reflect that elegance. He said the town's history should be preserved, and that new in-fill projects should match the town's character.

"You have economic prosperity. You have traffic. You have a vibrant community. Take advantage of that," Dinsmore said. "Other communities would kill to have the vibrancy you have."

Dinsmore said Gardnerville would benefit from mix-use redevelopment, allowing existing properties to be used for residential and commercial purposes. He said Highway 395 could be more walkable by developing "gateways" along the corridor: Public spaces, strategic parking, friendly sidewalks connecting neighborhoods and businesses, all while retaining the town's historic character.

"Have a long-range plan and stick to it," Dinsmore said.

Vice President of Heavenly Ski Resort Andrew Strain told local business leaders to be active in community planning.

"Be part of the community, not here to make money and leave, but long term," Strain said. "Think of it like a marriage."

Video coverage of the conference will be airing on community access television station 16 on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m., Oct. 2 at 7 a.m., Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 5 at 7 a.m.


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