Douglas bans mining outside industrial zoning |

Douglas bans mining outside industrial zoning

The view of East Valley from the entrance to the Douglas County Sewer District No. 1's property in the Pine Nut Mountains.

An ordinance banning mining outside of general industrial zoning was approved by Douglas County commissioners on Thursday.

Representatives of agricultural property owners sought a delay in the ordinance while they suggest language to protect their use.

However, Chairman Barry Penzel suggested that language should be included in the county's agricultural ordinance.

Community Development Director Mimi Moss said she felt ranchers were protected by the specific language dealing with agriculture and wouldn't be affected by the mining ordinance.

"Ag operators will be able to continue to do what they do best," she said.

County commissioners proposed the ordinance in response to residents who were concerned about mining, specifically in the Pine Nut foothills.

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The ordinance would prevent the newly constituted Douglas County Lake Tahoe Sewer Authority from using the 1,000 acres it owns at the end of Stockyard Road for a gravel pit.

The authority's predecessor, Douglas Sewer District No. 1 three times sought permits to sell gravel from the property in order to reduce the cost of a new sewer pond.

The only sewer plant operators in the Douglas portion of Lake Tahoe, the authority could still excavate a pond on the property. The plant has been exporting treated effluent to Carson Valley over Kingsbury Grade since the late 1960s. The Incline Village General Improvement District and South Tahoe Public Utility District also export effluent out of the Lake Tahoe basin due to environmental concerns. Incline Village's effluent goes to northern Carson Valley while South Tahoe's goes to Alpine County.

Most Minden, Gardnerville and Gardnerville Ranchos residents' sewage is treated by the Minden-Garnerville Sanitation District in Minden.

The county and Indian Hills also operate plants in Carson Valley.