Douglas County balks at Muller Lane Parkway agreements
A series of agreements that could have seen Muller Lane Parkway constructed were rejected by county commissioners on Monday after more than three hours of debate.
Landowners Park Cattle and Mike Pegram submitted four development agreements to the county that would complete the road to Highway 395 on both sides, should the county complete its portion. In exchange for committing to complete the road within six years, the Parks and Pegram are asking the county to reduce the road to the same two lanes the county plans to build across Park land.
The deal-breaker for Commissioner Nancy McDermid was reduction from four lanes to two lanes on the portions of the road to be built by private developers.
“In essence we’re giving them a pass on four lanes,” she said. “I’m concerned it seems like we’re in essence giving up the construction of the four lanes. Getting two lanes sounds good, but it sounds too good to be true.”
Engineer Rob Anderson pointed out that the county was only obligated to build two lanes across Park agricultural land.
“It is not feasible for the property owners to build four lanes any more than it is feasible for the county to build four lanes,” Anderson said. “The agreement will give the county 100 percent of the right of way and 65 percent of the roadway by private development.”
The county is obligated to build 2.1 miles across Park land within six years when it is dedicated. Engineer Erik Nilssen said that if the county does not complete the road in the allotted time the property reverts back to the Parks.
Under the new agreements, developers would build two lanes of the road within the same time frame.
Complicating the current right of way is the loss of a portion of the right of way across Ashland Park when that development agreement was repealed in 2013.
“There is no dedicated right of way across Ashland Park,” attorney Mary Anne Martin said. “Developers could circumvent those requirements, and it could be 2030, or maybe never, depending on when the landowners fill out their Monopoly board.”
When commissioners expressed interest in perhaps approving the development agreement for Ashland Park, applicant attorney Mark Forsberg withdrew the application.
Commissioner Barry Penzel pointed out the county doesn’t have $6.6 million to build its portion of Muller Lane.
Commissioner Larry Walsh was in the minority with commission Chairman Steve Thaler.
“If we do nothing we don’t get a road, if we sign these agreements $6.6 million gets us a seven-mile road,” Walsh said.
The county’s construction of Muller Parkway crosses Buckeye Road but does not connect to any other major route at its ends, county attorney Cynthia Gregory said.
Commissioner Dave Nelson said he wanted to see the bigger picture dealing with the parkway before approving an agreement.
Muller Parkway has been on the county books since 1996, but it was first proposed in the early 1990s as a bypass around the towns of Minden and Gardnerville.
It was included in the towns’ Plan for Prosperity in an effort to reduce traffic on Highway 395.
Nilssen said finishing Muller Parkway won’t solve all the county’s traffic issues, which include expanding Riverview and Stephanie Way to Highway 395.
A Park project along Muller Lane just east of the Carson River was delayed Monday due to a typo in a parcel number.
Park Cattle is seeking to build 187 homes located on 112 acres, relying on the transfer of development rights from 3,572 acres of land in Topaz.
Planning commissioners are scheduled to hear the request on Jan. 8.