Commission to consider amendment for Schneider property |

Commission to consider amendment for Schneider property

by Jeff Munson

The developer of a high-end housing project proposed in Clear Creek Canyon will try to convince Douglas County commissioners Thursday that planning officials wrongly recommended rejection of the project.

Developer Jeff Dingman says he should be granted a master plan amendment that would allow 300 homes on property known as the Schneider Ranch. He also said that under an alternative plan allowing fewer houses, he would have to reduce open space within the project.

“We’ve carefully created this plan to address the objectives of the master plan,” Dingman said. “And either way we’re going to build a quality project to meet those objectives. But the alternative won’t offer the same benefits.”

The Douglas County Planning Commission recommended rejection Feb. 13 of a master plan amendment that would allow the 300-home subdivision. Commissioners did, however, recommend approval of a special use permit for a golf course.

Dingman can build 115 homes without a master plan amendment, and he said he plans to develop the property even if commissioners reject the amendment.

But one critic of the plan believes Dingman is using the scaled-back version as a bargaining chip to back commissioners against the wall.

“It is my impression that if he doesn’t get that approval, he would put in a development that is less desirable for those areas along Clear Creek Road, Alpine View and Jacks Valley,” said Ralph Elvik, an Alpine View resident.

Critics of the plan say the heart of the issue is keeping the area preserved in its natural state without any development. The Schneider property is zoned for one house per 19 acres.

The property, which is owned by Carson City developer John Serpa, has been considered for a possible land trade with the U.S. Forest Service. A land trade could keep the property undeveloped.

Elvik claims Dingman is trying to rush the development, which would thwart any plan the Forest Service has to acquire the property.

“If this goes through, then any effort to protect the property is lost,” said Elvik. “It is the best three-mile area the state of Nevada has to offer, and it needs to be preserved for future generations.”

Carson District Ranger Gary Schiff confirmed the Schneider Ranch property is being considered as part of an exchange involving 28 acres in north Carson Valley near the Target and Home Depot stores. Detailed discussions and a timeline have been established, Schiff confirmed.

Opponents of the Clear Creek project have argued the requested amendment would undermine Douglas County’s master plan. Dingman says his proposal meets master plan criteria.

“What we are proposing will create open space, preserve sensitive areas, create sewer and water improvements and construct offsite roadways to alleviate conflicts with neighboring properties,” he said.

If the master plan is amended, Dingman said he would construct public sewer and water improvements. If it is rejected, each property will be served by wells.

Dingman said the 300-home development would be conducive to the area because housing would be clustered in trees to protect viewsheds. Under the alternative 115-unit plan, homes would obstruct some of the views.

The property has a combination of agricultural and forest-range zoning. The zoning allows a subdivision of 115 homes under a county policy that provides bonuses if at least 25 percent of the land is preserved as permanent open space. Without the bonus, 84 units would be allowed.

Also, amending the master plan would allow Dingman to transfer development rights from other areas, which he says would protect 2,000 acres of undeveloped land in Carson Valley. Dingman said he would also be willing to protect up to 1,000 acres on the Schneider Ranch site, including a conservation easement on a meadow.

Development of the meadow is allowed in the current alternative, Dingman added.

Dingman said with the additional units, he will be able to construct a link to Highway 50. Dingman said he is willing to finance improvements to Highway 50 to make it the main access, thus making Clear Creek Road a secondary access road and Bavarian Road an emergency access.

However, the Nevada Department of Transportation has not said if it will grant the access.

“We will try to provide zero impact to the residents of Alpine View,” Dingman said. “The project would be invisible from the neighborhood. By restricting access, their quality of life wouldn’t be threatened, it would be preserved.”


What: Douglas County Board of Commissioners meeting

When: March 1, 1 p.m.

Where: Courtroom of the Douglas County Administrative Building, 1616 Eighth Street, Minden