$50,000 approved for Minden specific plan | RecordCourier.com

$50,000 approved for Minden specific plan

by Christy Chalmers

Three years after completing a master plan for Douglas County, officials are ready to try a specific plan for Minden.

The county commission agreed Thursday to spend up to $50,000 on the plan, which could take up to two years to develop.

If the project is successful, a similar effort could be made in Gardnerville.

County Manager Dan Holler said Minden was chosen as a pilot because several property owners recently approached the county with questions about development patterns for the town area.

Significant changes could soon be occurring in Minden. Bently Nevada, now located just off Highway 395 on Buckeye Road, will be moving to its new Science Park facility, leaving a prominent location vacant.

Holler said Mike Gilbert, owner of the old Copeland Lumber yard at Highway 395 and County Road, is interested in refurbishing the property. The complexion of Esmeralda Avenue, the town’s original business district, may also change if the county acquires the land adjacent to the Minden Inn.

In addition, county officials have a keen interest in redesigning some of the intersections along Highway 395, where Minden roads join at awkward angles.

“We can either take each project one at a time, or we can sit down and take a broader look at Minden,” said Holler. “What we’re saying is let’s take a bigger picture and say, ‘What does this look like 20 years from now?'”

Holler sought the assistance of the Sierra Business Council, a group based in Truckee, Calif. that specializes in assisting with planning efforts. Holler said the group’s expertise is free, but funding is needed to pay for maps and other supplies.

As envisioned, the plan would complement the work now being done on Esmeralda Avenue to redesign the sidewalks and add trees.

“Minden has a specific plan for what they want Esmeralda to look like,” said Holler. “You’ve got to take a broader picture than that. This takes the same concept and expands it to the whole area.”

The Minden planning area will run roughly from the junction of highways 395 and 88 south to Gardnerville and from County Road on the west side to Martin Slough on the east.

Holler and the county commissioners agree that a specific town plan is a logical addition to the master plan, which established general land-use policies for the county. But they also emphasized the importance of including town leaders in the planning process.

“So long as the town of Minden is pushing the process, I have no problem, but as soon as we start pulling the process, there’s going to be a problem,” said County Commissioner Don Miner.

Holler said Sierra Business Council representatives will be meeting with the Minden Town Board in September, and that local concerns and interests will guide the process. He said the group is known for preserving unique characteristics of small towns.

“You’ve already got a town deciding to do some things. That part they like,” said Holler, referring to the Esmeralda renovations.

If the process works for Minden, Gardnerville would probably be next. Holler said the plans would share some features, especially at the town lines.

“We looked at doing both together, but we don’t have the resources,” said Holler. “We hope to have the towns as a partner. It’s something we see as a need at the county level, but it isn’t something we want to just push through on the county level. The towns need to be involved.”