Clerks verifying Park 2500 petition |

Clerks verifying Park 2500 petition

A booth in the waning days of gathering signatures for the petition to place a development agreement with Park Cattle Holdings on the ballot.
Kurt Hildebrand

A petition seeking to put a development agreement moving receiving area from Topaz Ranch Estates to Carson Valley was turned into the county on Monday.

The raw count on signatures for the petition is 2,868, according to the Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer’s Office.

The petition requires valid 2,613 signatures, but Election Administrator Dena Dawson said it will take clerks until the end of the month to certify the signatures.

Should there be sufficient signatures, county commissioners will have 30 days to decide whether to put it on the ballot or to repeal the ordinance.

While petitioners have been pushing forward through the coronavirus outbreak, a court challenge to the petition has been languishing.

A review of the file conducted on Monday revealed no new activity since the county filed its answer March 31.

Park Cattle Holdings attorney Mark Forsberg argues that the development agreement approval was an administrative action, not a legislative one.

Petition organizer Jeanne Shizuru, who is named in the lawsuit, argued that because the development agreement wasn’t part of county code when it was approved, the development agreement is subject to the referendum process.

County commissioners approved a development agreement and master plan amendment Dec. 3, moving receiving area from Park Cattle land across Highway 208 from Topaz Ranch Estates to Carson Valley north of Minden and Gardnerville.

The master plan amendment granted receiving area on 1,044 acres. Because receiving area can have a density of up to 16 units per acre depending on the zoning sought in the design of the project, the development agreement caps density at 2,500 units.

Receiving area is part of the county’s growth control, which allows agricultural property owners to sell development rights off ranch land to builders. Because the Parks are the largest agricultural landowners in the county, they would likely use their own property for the development rights.

Shizuru acknowledged that overturning the development agreement would remove the 2,500-unit cap. Because the master plan amendment granting receiving area is administrative, not legislative, it isn’t subject to a referendum.

One of the stated reasons for approving the increased density in Carson Valley was to obtain clear title to right of way across Park property for Muller Lane Parkway.

That right of way prompted the first lawsuit of 2020, when Orchard Road residents sued the county over the alignment of the parkway along the back of their parcels.

Last week, commissioners approved seeking an $18 million BUILD grant application to build Muller Parkway. The grant requires $3.6 million in matching funds from the county.

The county has always been required to build two lanes of the Parkway across 2.3 miles of Park Cattle land.