County approves Park deal
A deal that would move receiving area allowing 2,500 units from the south county to land north of Minden and Gardnerville was approved by Douglas County commissioners on Tuesday.
Commissioners Barry Penzel, Larry Walsh and Wes Rice voted in favor of both proposals presented to the county.
Commissioner Dave Nelson opposed the proposal, walking out of the meeting after challenging its legality.
Several residents agreed with Nelson about the legality of the meeting, with one time Sustainable Growth Initiative Chairman John Garvin arguing the item was not properly agendized and violated the master plan rules.
Deputy District Attorney Doug Richie said if commissioners stayed on topic, they would be within the parameters of the law.
In the instance of Tuesday’s meeting he pointed out that the agenda said that commissioners would discuss the update of land use maps, though they did not use the term amend. The second item was the adoption of an ordinance and discussion of a new development agreement regarding Muller Lane Parkway.
Richie pointed out the fact that so many people were at the meeting and arguing the point indicated the agenda alerted people to its content.
The receiving area on Park Holdings land was moved from the Sleeping Elephant Ranch across Highway 208 to property the Parks had purchased in the mid-1990s that was part of the former Dangberg Ranch.
The action Tuesday will take effect Sept. 5.
Typically, amending the master plan starts at the planning commission, which makes a recommendation to county commissioners, who may either uphold or reverse them.
In this instance, planning commissioners heard the master plan map changes and voted 7-0 to approve them without the change in receiving area.
Douglas County uses receiving area to preserve agricultural land through a transfer of development rights.
In the instance of the development agreement with the Parks, those development rights would come off the Klauber Ranch, which commissioners denied earlier this year. The Parks sued the county over that denial. The lawsuit is expected to be dismissed as a result of Tuesday’s action.
Under the agreement the county will receive clear title to the right of way for Muller Lane Parkway. The county is obligated to build two lanes of the parkway within six years.
Resident Jim McKalip asked why the county wasn’t pursuing the original agreement, something Nelson agreed with.
The county had received a notice of default on the agreement that granted it the right of way for the parkway, though the Parks haven’t filed suit.
Deputy District Attorney Mary Anne Martin said the Parks did dedicate the right of way for the parkway in 2004 but the question is whether that agreement was reset in 2007 when the county asked for a wider right of way.
In addition the previous right of way would have required the county to relocate an existing slough, which the new alignment will avoid.
Penzel said an argument that swayed him was the inclusion of right of way for several culverts under Highway 88 that would take many Minden residents off of federal flood maps.
“This will help a substantial number of residents,” he said. “That’s an important thing for us to consider.”
Engels said building Muller Parkway would open the are to thousands of homes.
While Douglas County has had a growth limitation of 2 percent since 2007, there are projects approved before the ordinance that aren’t subject to it.
In addition to the 2,500 homes along Muller Lane Parkway, Virginia Ranch behind WalMart has 1,020 homes approved, the former Ashland Park had 250 and there are 152 at Montera.
Community Development Director Tom Dallaire said that by 2030 all the approvals before the growth ordinance will either be built or have expired.
In response to the question why the Parks couldn’t just come in and buy all 600 allocations every year for four years in a row, Martin pointed out that every allocation costs money and they expire after 18 months, so it would be difficult for someone to build 600 homes in 18 months. Permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis.