County accepts Vista Grande right-of-way

Under the current alignment, Vista Grande north of Jacks Valley Road will connect with the entrance to the Target shopping center.

Under the current alignment, Vista Grande north of Jacks Valley Road will connect with the entrance to the Target shopping center.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

The main clue to where the future Vista Grande would connect to Jacks Valley Road was the location of a concrete entrance across from the main entrance to the Target shopping center.

Douglas County commissioners voted 4-1 to accept a right-of-way for the extension of the road south from Topsy Lane.

While there was a lot of debate about where the road should actually be located on the property, the real issue before commissioners on Thursday was whether they wanted a road across the property.

“I’m asked all the time when we’re going to finish Vista Grande,” Commission Chairman Mark Gardner said.

Funding for the road will come from the last $2.5 million left in Redevelopment Agency No. 1 that brought the Target and Home Depot center, along with Carson Valley and Clear Creek plazas.

The right of way across two Forest Service parcels recently sold to private developers was being offered by the new owners as part of the purchase agreement.

Had commissioners refused the right-of-way, as dissenting Commissioner Walt Nowosad advocated, they would have had to purchase a new route from scratch.

Confusing the issue was the impression people had that the original plan was to connect the new section of Vista Grande to the present location just west of the shopping center.

Commissioners did accept a 30-foot right-of-way for a pipeline that passed by the back fences of the residents of Summer Hill Drive.

One resident suggested having the new road follow that route to meet up with a roundabout.

Transportation engineer Jon Erb said that would require the county purchase another 30 feet of right-of-way along that route. Nowosad opposed the northern portion of the route, which passes along the back three residents’ homes before jogging east.

Officials said that if the county turned down the offer, they would lose any leverage to alter the route in the future, since they would have to pay to condemn a different route.

By having the right-of-way, the county could negotiate to change the route in the future should that be the decision.

“If you were to decline this offer today, whether you like the alignment or not, you put the county in the position of having no bargaining chip in the future to even negotiate with the new owners,” Public Works Director Phil Ritger said.

Having Vista Grande completed to Jacks Valley Road will eliminate a choke point where collisions on Highway 395 between Topsy and Jacks Valley Road often block traffic.

“Expecting quite a bit of commercial to commercial traffic, and a roundabout would be the best choice right now,” Erb said. “A roundabout slows down traffic and regulates and reduces speed.”

The property sold by the Forest Service is zoned commercial and would end up extending the shopping area across the vacant land located west of Highway 395 south from Topsy to Jacks Valley Road.

Besides Nowosad, no one spoke in opposition to the county accepting the route.

Commissioner Wes Rice pointed out the straight route would affect all 14 residents along the route.

Keeping this alignment will affect three properties, changing it the other way will affect 14 houses,” he said. “I like the fact there is an offset, if we have a straight alignment I can see it becoming a speedway.”

The alignment of Vista Grande at Jacks Valley has been in place since 1980 and originally connected both ends of the road. Erb said the construction of the shopping center around 2000 changed Vista Grande to its current right-of-way.

There is a possibility that the new owners of the property may want to negotiate a change in the right-of-way based on plans for whatever project is proposed.


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