Building booms in Valley during 2003 |

Building booms in Valley during 2003

by Regina Purcell, Staff Writer

This year began and will probably end on the uncertainty of whether Douglas County will impose building limits to control growth.

With the controversial Sustainable Growth Initiative still pending at the Nevada Supreme Court, the voter-passed law imposing a 280-unit limit on annual construction, is on hold. In mid-summer, mediation failed between defendants Douglas County, Jumpers LLC, Century 21/Clark Properties, Jay D. Marriage, Douglas County Building Industry Association, Aurora Land LLC and Merrill Construction and the plaintiff, the Sustainable Growth Initiative Committee.

The state’s highest court will rule on the appeal of the permanent injunction imposed by Douglas District Court Judge Michael Gibbons in February. The injunction stalls implementation of the initiative.

In May, a request to clarify the constitutional validity of the controversial Sustainable Growth Initiative was denied by Gibbons.

– The year also started with controversy over the county’s Comprehensive Trails Plan with ranchers upset that public access had been put on their private property. Part of the Douglas County 1996 master plan, the trails plan identified trail heads and linkages to provide the safest outdoor off-road opportunities. Staffers met with hundreds of residents to come up with the final draft approved by county commissioners mid-year.

In October, residents were concerned that the county’s five-year Capital Improvement Program did not include any bike trails proposed in the county’s Comprehensive Trails Plan. No funding is available to initiate the trails plan at this point. County officials say the Comprehensive Trails Plan will take 20 to 30 years to complete.

– After trying to get community concerts at the historic H.F. Dangberg Home Ranch off State Route 88 in Minden, The Corley Ranch in south county stepped up to the bat in January to produce three summer concerts featuring Firefall, Full Moon Fever, It’s A Beautiful Day and Al Stewart to benefit the American Cancer Society.

– Douglas County ended a 13-year court battle in June with Steve Achard, the surviving son of one of the original sisters deeded the historic ranch. In dispute were personal items that the county said belonged to the home, which the county plans to make into a living history museum.

Nevada State Parks will coordinate restoration and rehabilitation of the six-acre stretch that includes many outbuildings. Douglas County has until Dec. 31, 2006, to establish a museum or the real and personal property will be returned to the estate. The county plans to create a museum on the grounds open two-days-a week, nine months out of the year.

– Starting in January the Indian Hills General Improvement District started hearings to raise water rates — the first time since 1996. By November, the district board set a public hearing Jan. 20, 2004, to discuss a 44 percent increase in water rates for residents. The recommendation, by the district’s Ad Hoc Water Rate Study Committee, also includes a flat $6.39 monthly administrative fee. The board will consider the per gallon rate of either $1.95, $2.54 or $2.57 that would take effect the next fiscal year that starts July 1, 2004.

Indian Hills also started investigating during 2003 whether city incorporation would be feasible. Trustees expect a fight from Douglas County, and commission Chairman Kelly Kite said he wouldn’t support it. Calling itself the “stepchild” of Douglas County, Indian Hills has initiated studies.

The district also had tense moments in the fall when representatives of the county failed to show at meetings regarding a proposed sewer line that snakes around the district. By the end of the year, the county and district ironed out differences and agreed to bury the hatchet and come up with answers that both parties agree to.

– Douglas County Commissioners faced an up and down year with the arrest and subsequent conviction of former Commissioner Steve Weissinger, who pleaded no contest to charges of embezzling from his former employer. Weissinger served eight days at the El Dorado County, Calif., jail in October on two counts of misdemeanor embezzlement from Raley’s in Stateline. He also was arrested in Carson City on driving under the influence charges shortly after. In November, Weissinger submitted his letter of resignation from the county commission, effective today. The search for his replacement as commissioner for District 1 in the Gardnerville Ranchos is up to Gov. Kenny Guinn, who is expected to make the appointment early in 2004.

– The building industry has been alive and well in Carson Valley this year with the Carson Valley Plaza in north county near complete build-out. The center features such anchor stores as Borders Books and Marshall’s. Restaurants expected to move in include Quiznos Subs, Texas Roadhouse and In-N-Out Burger.

– The controversial Clear Creek Project was approved by the county commission in September despite denials by the Douglas County Planning Commission. The 1,576-acre project is in north county, off Old Clear Creek Road. The project includes million-dollar homes with a golf course and club house and development of Highway 50 underpass with access to the site, a water and sewer system to connect to the Valley, open space and transfer of 410 development rights from agricultural land elsewhere in the county.

As for development around the county this year, Park Place at Lampe Corners in Gardnerville, is nearly full with new spaces for restaurants, a book store, and kitchen supply shop. Bradford Place, across from Raley’s in Gardnerville has four living units with two-car garages that are located over two businesses. Chichester Estates in Gardnerville has completed 10 of 13 phases. West Ridge Homes broke ground on Phase 11 for 24 single family homes. Silvercrest, located behind Target off Jack’s Valley Road is 90 percent sold, according to developer Syncon Homes. The Springs gated community at the Sunridge Golf Course has single family homes, also completed by Syncon. Syncon’s Skyline Ranch, large luxury homes at Johnson Lane and East Valley Road on 1-acre sites, is about half-sold out. There are 65 homes with an additional 65 planned. Arbor Gardens in south Gardnerville offers 160 single family homes. Syncon also built 20 homes called Kensington at Chichester Estates in Gardnerville, along with L’Adagio, another gated community at Sunridge Golf Course. There will be 61 home sites, with construction beginning this summer, and a total build-out expected in three years. Bramwell Subdivision on Johnson Lane includes 93, 1-acre single family lots. Pleasant View subdivision south of Dresslerville Road and east of Drayton Boulevard is nearly built out.

– Regina Purcell can be reached at or (775) 782-5121, ext. 211.