Clerk says Park 2500 petition fails spot check
A petition to place a development agreement with Park Cattle Holdings on the November ballot has been determined to be insufficient.
The Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer’s Office found that only 84.4 percent of 500 signatures in a random sample were valid, The Record-Courier learned on Thursday.
Under Nevada law, if a random sample shows that less than 90 percent of 500 signatures are invalid, then the petition is insufficient.
Of the 500 signatures checked in the first week, 78 were rejected. Of those, an entire page of 51 signatures were found invalid because because one of the pages was not properly notarized, which is a requirement under the law.
“The clerk’s office recognizes the absence of the notary stamp was likely an inadvertent error,” Clerk Treasuer Kathy Lewis said, “however Nevada law requires strict compliance and no discretion is given to allow the petitioner’s committee an opportunity to cure or correct the defect prior to the certificate or insufficiency being issued.”
In addition to providing the right-of-way for 3.4 miles of the northern portion of Muller Lane Parkway, the development agreement also provides easements for several culverts under Highway 88 and caps any development on 1,044 acres of Park Cattle land north of Minden and Gardnerville at 2,500 units.
The development agreement and a transfer of 1,044 acres of receiving area from Topaz Ranch Estates to Carson Valley was approved in December by a 3-2 vote by Douglas County commissioners. Receiving area allows up to 16 units per acre, which is why the agreement included a 2,500-unit cap. No project has been proposed for the land. The agreement provides 1.4 miles of trail along Muller Lane, and prevents the construction of any big box commercial.
On Wednesday, the committee sought an official review by Douglas County commissioners. A review has been scheduled for June 4.
According to the Clerk’s Office 27 of the 2,868 signatures turned in on May 11 were found to be invalid for other reasons, including eight where voters signed after the page was notarized and 14 where a signature didn’t match.
“It speaks for itself,” Park Cattle Holdings’ David Park said Thursday.
According to documents provided to The Record-Courier by the clerk’s office, the circulator was Redevelopment Agency No. 2 petitioner Dave Maxwell and the notary public was petition organizer Jeanne Shizuru.
Shizuru is Douglas County Commissioner Dave Nelson’s wife. Nelson is seeking re-election to the District 1 seat.
On Thursday, Shizuru said she believes the petition is not insufficient.
“The technicality relied upon, with respect to which we disagree on both a factual and legal basis, denies the people the right to vote on this important issue,” she said. “We have already commenced to take and will continue to take the necessary steps to appeal this unjust decision. Apparently, the county’s hostility to the people’s right to be heard depends upon slight, easily correctable technicalities. That the County uses such a pretext to deny the entire Referendum is outrageous.”
The petition was filed in mid-December and the six-month deadline passed last week.
The petition is also being challenged in Douglas County District Court because attorneys for Park Cattle claim the commissioners action was administrative and not subject to the referendum process, according to the Nevada Constitution.