Commission approves Carson Valley master plan update |

Commission approves Carson Valley master plan update

by Sheila Gardner

After three hours of discussion Thursday, Douglas County commissioners approved a master plan update with minor language revisions.

Those changes mean the 15-year update will go back to the planning commission for approval, then come back to county commissioners for final adoption.

Some changes in the county’s profile in past 15 years include a significant increase in the older population and critical affordable housing needs.

The housing element of the plan was completely revised by consultant Rex Massey who incorporated 2010 Census information to update housing and population information.

County Planner Candace Stowell acknowledged more than 15 agencies from the Washoe Tribe to the library which helped compile the update.

Priorities included incorporating all master plan map and text amendments approved since 2007, updating population information with the 2010 Census, incorporating the economic vitality plan and Lake Tahoe Basin Prosperity plan and reviewing building permit allocation and the growth management ordinance.

Stowell said updates of the 2003 county trails plan and public services and facilities element will be considered later this year.

In its outreach efforts, county staff held four community workshops in April and May, two workshops with the Good Governance Group and the agricultural community, and posted the draft 2011 master plan on the county’s Web site.

More than 200 public comments as of mid-November were posted on the county’s Web page. Later comments were submitted to the planning commission.

“We had 200 individual responses,” Stowell said. “We tried to respond to this to the best of our ability. We took this very seriously.”

Commissioners reviewed each of 13 chapters in the update.

“There’s simply an assumption that at some point we’re going to have this growth,” said commissioner Greg Lynn. “We’re not taking into consideration the continuing decline in population or a leveling off. I’ve got this feeling we have to look at the results of no-growth which could be more catastrophic than growth.”

Commissioner Nancy McDermid dispelled any theory that the current master plan would be abandoned as work begins on the new 2016 plan.

“You’re not going to take the master plan and trash it for the new plan. Some people fear that everything that’s been done will be tossed in the Dumpster. There’s a lot of history and a lot of work that has gone into the master plan. It will be a process everyone works on,” McDermid said.

Stowell the current master plan will serve as the foundation.