Lone Minden homeowner takes county to court over Gateway development

A legal technicality prevented Minden resident Nancy Kam from representing her homeowners association in a lawsuit to curtail development in her neighborhood, so she filed the suit on her own.

She filed in Ninth District Court Jan. 3 against Douglas County and its board of commissioners and will be acting as her own attorney.

She is asking the court to find the county and its board of commissioners failed to comply with the master plan per county code when they approved Minden Gateway Center, a 191,000-square-foot commercial development on 13.3 acres at the intersection of State Route 88 and Highway 395.

The approval went against a Minden Townhomes Homeowners Association appeal, to modify design of a three-story hotel and access road that will back up to the townhomes.

"It's hard to let something go once you have put so much work into it," Kam said. "Everything will be coming out of my pocket but hopefully, if I win, the county will reimburse me for (legal) fees."

As spokesperson for their homeowners association, Kam has been in the fight for months to alter development of the hotel and an access road that will run just feet from these homes.

An appeal by the Minden Townhomes Homeowners Association was denied by commissioners in November by a 3-2 vote, thus paving the way for the project.

In this second suit, Kam dropped the injunction which could have held her responsible for any damages. She has not named developers in the suit, she said.

"It's not the developers fault that they weren't given the right information," Kam said.

The lawsuit objects to the proposed three-story hotel and an access road, both contiguous with the townhomes. In the suit, Kam charges the project was not properly nor legally reviewed by the Douglas County Board of commissioners.

Minden Townhomes resident Shirley Eickenloff said the small residential development of 30 homeowners does not have the money to fight the decision. She is glad at least one more avenue remains to see this challenge to the end.

"We are very much behind the idea of getting the county to listen and look at their own guidelines," Eickenloff said. "The county is ignoring them as far as we can see."

Better communication could have gone a long way toward resolving this situation long before it went this far, Eickenloff said.

"If they had just brought us in for an opinion from the beginning, we could have expressed then that the hotel was overpowering us," she said. "But they ignored the fact that we are contiguous to their development. The county tried to tell us we aren't, but we have a shared access road. How can we not be contiguous?"

Developers did meet with townhome residents, but only concerning the placement of trash bins that were subsequently moved, Eickenloff said.

Groundbreaking on the center is expected soon, with an estimated completion date set for June of this year. In addition to 68,000 square feet of inline retail, the project includes room for a hotel, pharmacy, office building, hotel and restaurant, according to information from the developer's Web site.

n Susie Vasquez can be reached at svasquez@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 211.


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