Residents will get a first-hand glimpse at a development proposal on 4,500 acres around Minden and Gardnerville on Park Cattle Ranch land 7 p.m. today in Minden.
Development of the property could take up to 30 years and could affect the landscape of central Carson Valley.
Plans include two separate areas on either side of Minden and Gardnerville. The first and largest, 3,200 acres on Minden's west side, would largely be held for recreation, open space and possibly leased for grazing. A portion of that land, about 100 acres at the intersection of Muller Lane and Highway 395, could be used for commercial development, according to the proposal.
The Park family felt it was time to start making plans and the concern for them is the economic value of the land and impact on the environment, said Park Cattle Co. spokesman Brad Nelson.
"That's where we are today," he said. "The family has been committed to the county for a long time, with holdings here and at the lake. That will continue."
Providing an affordable, walkable community that integrates trail systems and preserves viewsheds are among the family's goals, Nelson said.
"Our sense, is to keep the (Carson) River open for a lot of reasons," he said. "We could solve flood plain and storm drain issues, preserve agriculture and recreation and restore the river to its natural flows.
"We own two miles of riverbank along the slough and can provide access to the river," he said.
The second area, 1,300 acres east of Highway 395 on either side of Buckeye Road, would be residential development.
The plan is conceptual and the number of houses has not been determined. Residents have suggested up to 600 units for the property, but Nelson said that number wouldn't work for Park Cattle.
"We're looking for a different concept," he said.
Bob Hadfield, a member of the Minden Town Board, said a project of this size has little or no precedence and the sheer size is scary for a lot of people.
"The advantage would be that the planning is not random," Hadfield said. "Having lived through piecemeal development, I appreciate the fact that you are creating a vision."
Minden Town Board member Ray Wilson said projects approved at the town board level often change at the county level and Minden officials do not get a chance to review those changes.
"So many projects are changed. Not by us, but by the county," he said.
When ownership of the land changes there's often a request to change the original approval, ratcheting up the density at a cost to the public, said Hadfield.
Park has already profited from entitlements and receiving areas that sold for a lot of money, said Douglas County resident Art Hall.
"What did you get for the land and how many acres were involved?" he said.
"We sold 150 acres to Greg Painter. The amount isn't an issue," Nelson said.
Douglas County resident David Nelson noted the amount was $22 million and a matter of public record.
"Now, you want more entitlements in new areas even though the master plan doesn't cover those areas, in return for good works," Hall said. "The question is, how many entitlements over what the master plan has already given you is reasonable."
Town engineer Bruce Scott said this is an opportunity to take a look at critical issues, like drainage, that will be exacerbated with growth.
"Residents feel they have the right to see someone else's land undeveloped," he said. "My experience has been, stopping development breaks it into smaller pieces and that creates a problem in the long run.
"This is not coming up for a master plan amendment next week," he said. "Dialogue is important and I encourage the process."
Nelson said it is Park's intent to file for a land use amendment, change in receiving area and zoning changes with the county June 1. Public hearings should be scheduled for June, July and August.
Susie Vasquez can be reached at email@example.com or 782-5121, ext. 211.
What: Meeting on Park Cattle Co.'s development plans
When: 7 p.m. tonight
Where: CVIC Hall, 1602 Esmeralda Ave., in downtown Minden.