10-day rule stalls Muller fight
September 13, 2004
Residents filled the room for the Douglas County Planning Commission meeting Tuesday to discuss Muller Parkway realignment, but the discussions didn’t take place because Douglas officials did not give proper public notice.
Douglas County resident Jeanne Shizuru brought the discrepancy to the attention of Douglas County officials last week.
“An error was made, but it was not intentional,” said Kevin Lane, chairman of the commission. “Mistakes happen and this is one of them. I appreciate you coming to the meeting and I apologize.”
Nevada law states that meeting agendas addressing master plan amendment issues must be printed in a local newspaper 10 days previous to the meeting.
“Given the controversial nature of this application, any irregularity in the process is likely to impair the public’s confidence in the decision-making process,” said Deputy District Attorney Tom Perkins. “It is my advice that while you may open the hearing on the matter at the Sept. 14 planning commission meeting, a final decision on the application will have to be deferred to the Oct. 12 meeting.”
Going into The Record-Courier’s archives four years, to August of 2000, none of the planning commission meetings addressing master plan amendments were noticed in the paper more than six days before planning commission meetings.
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Issues concerning major developments, including Chichester Estates, Rolling J Ranch and Summit Homes were not properly noticed.
An August 2003 decision to designate 1,634 acres of agriculture, forest and range to a receiving area by Clear Creek LLC was not properly noticed by the planning commission.
That proposal was denied by the planning commission, but subsequently approved by county commissioners.
Perkins said the problem will be rectified. He’s been attending planning commission meetings for 10 years and he’s never seen a substantive issue that didn’t receive considerable public attention.
“The decisions have gone both ways,” he said. “But we’ve always had good public participation.”
The first agenda in question was submitted to The Record-Courier 10 days before the meeting, but not with any regard to the Record Courier’s publication dates.
In an e-mail dated July 30, Douglas County employee Linda Lynch contacted Swift Publications in Carson City, asking the public notice be published Aug. 4, just six days before the meeting.
Tom Sargent, spokesman for the Attorney General’s office said the issue, which concerns Nevada Revised Statute 278.210, does not fall in the jurisdiction of the attorney general’s office because Douglas County is not their client.
At Tuesday’s meeting, two other proposals were delayed due to the improper notification, including a 22-acre development north of Toler Lane by H&S Construction and a 120-acre development in the Ruhenstroth planning area proposed by Settelmeyer Ranches Inc.
— Susie Vasquez can be reached at email@example.com or 782-5121, ext. 213.