County approves Park plan | RecordCourier.com

County approves Park plan

One definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

That might have been one of the reasons why the expected crowd didn’t turn up at Tuesday’s finalé for a master plan amendment and development agreement on land owned by Park Ranch Holdings.

The turnout for the first master plan workshop in Topaz Ranch Estates might have been better than that for the 11-hour session Tuesday that saw approval of most of the plan’s visual elements.

County commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of a master plan amendment that transfers 1,044 acres of receiving area from the Sleeping Elephant Ranch across from Topaz Ranch Estates to Carson Valley.

Receiving area is part of the county’s agricultural preservation equation. Anyone seeking to develop the land must purchase development rights from property the county wants to preserve.

Commissioners Barry Penzel, Larry Walsh and Wes Rice also voted in favor of the second reading of a development agreement that exchanges up to 2,500 units of density on the Park property for the right of way for Muller Parkway.

But that right of way could be the approval’s Achilles’ heel. Residents living along Orchard Road were involved in negotiations that provided a buffer between their homes and the road.

Attorney Jamie Walker argued commissioners couldn’t say the agreement or the master plan amendment wouldn’t affect her clients negatively.

The deal also arranges for drainage easements that will remove portions of Minden from the flood plain and establishes a conservation easement on the Klauber Ranch.

The deal also results in the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Park Ranch Holdings against the county over the denial of a project on the Klauber Ranch earlier this year.

While the transfer of the Park receiving area was the main event, most of the day on Tuesday was taken up with approval of most of the maps included in the master plan.

Work to update the 2011 plan was halted in January after commissioners expressed a desire to have a more streamlined plan.

Consolidating the plan’s 22 maps into one that will be kept in the county’s Geographic Information System was the only portion that passed 5-0.

Alpine View residents expressed concerns with a map boundary change that moved their community into the Jacks Valley-Indian Hills Community Plan.

Chief Planner Sam Booth said the change removed Alpine View and Clear Creek from the northern Agricultural Community Plan.

Residents expressed suspicions that would mean expansion of the 384-unit Clear Creek project south toward their neighborhood.

Alpine View residents sued the county over the original approval of Clear Creek. Community Development Director Tom Dallaire said one of the reasons for the change was to make the map coincide with the utility service area.

Dallaire and Booth said the change does not alter the underlying zoning or increase density in the area.

Both of the large properties surrounding Alpine View, Clear Creek and Ascuaga’s Ranch, have been approved for conservation easements.

Commissioners also approved removing receiving area from projects that are already under way across the county by a 4-1 vote. Commissioner John Engels was the lone vote against it, saying “I smell a Trojan horse.”

Dallaire said that the next step is the text amendments to the master plan.

Work on the 20-year update to the master plan has been going on for the past three years.

First approved in 1997 after nearly four years of effort, the plan grew to 1,100 pages during the 2001, 2007 and 2011 updates.