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Chamber backs open space initiative

Staff Reports

The Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Authority has announced formal support for a proposed sales tax hike to pay for preserving undeveloped land.

A paper dated July 5 lists nine reasons for the chamber’s stance. They include 63 percent support among chamber members responding to a survey on the question, benefits of keeping flood plains open and the tourism draw undeveloped land can provide.

“It is in the best interest of the Carson Valley business community to preserve the rural image of the valley,” chamber leaders said in a statement.

Douglas County voters will act on the question in November. If approved, the county’s sales tax will rise by a quarter-cent to 7 percent, with the proceeds from the increase used to promote preservation of open land.

One possible method is to buy development rights from ranchers and other willing property owners. In theory, the program would keep the land empty while compensating the owners.

Douglas County is completing a management plan that includes criteria and policies for defining open land, as well as potential strategies for preserving it. The program will be voluntary, a reason also cited by the chamber in its position paper.