County may revisit Park decision
A decision to move 1,044 acres of receiving area from Topaz Ranch Estates to Carson Valley could be reconsidered at county commissioners Sept. 5 meeting.
County commissioners are scheduled to hear a final report from planning commissioners at that meeting where commissioners could discuss reconsideration of a development agreement with Park Holdings.
“We reviewed the process, and the master plan map amendments, to make sure the proposed changes were clear, concise and easy for the public to understand. We recognize we have opportunities to improve on what was done,” said Community Development Director Tom Dallaire. “If the Board decides to reconsider, we will be seeking further public input and will make that announcement following the Sept. 5 meeting.”
The planning commission report included comments from five of the seven planning commissioners, three of whom supported the change.
However, both Chairwoman JoEtta Brown and Vice Chairman DeVere Henderson were absent from the Aug. 13 meeting.
Henderson pointed out that both he and Brown voted against the transfer of development rights.
He said if he had been present, his comments would have been in opposition to the county’s action.
The planning commission’s original vote was to approve the master plan without the receiving area swap.
The board could either accept and file the planning commission’s final report or rescind the resolution and direct the master plan update to be reconsidered.
“The Master Plan is a document which we value and believe is of great importance to the future of Douglas County,” said Douglas County Manager Patrick Cates. “We heard our citizens and we have a responsibility to ensure the public’s confidence in staff and the process.”
The attorney who presented the master plan receiving area swap and development agreement with Park Holdings no longer works for Douglas County.
“On Aug. 21, Mark Jackson terminated my employ with the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office,” attorney Mary Anne Martin told The Record-Courier in a statement on Friday. “Although I am disappointed by that decision, elected officials in this county have created a vitriolic political climate where undignified and unprofessional behavior seemingly knows no bounds. One need only look to the physical confrontations our ‘leaders’ engage in with each other during public meetings to get a sense of what is at the tip of this iceberg. I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, which will always be the lens through which I consider every assignment. Pillaging private property rights and allowing mass hysteria to rule the day are the exact concerns our founding fathers had when they formed this country. Ranching is an important part of American heritage, so as the granddaughter of a cattle rancher, I am admittedly relieved that my time and talent will not be wasted tearing down what other people have spent their lives building up.”
Martin disclosed to county commissioners that as a Minden resident she would benefit from installation of culverts under Highway 88 that would take portions of Minden out of the flood plain.
A group of residents are seeking to overturn county commissioners’ Aug. 6 approval of the master plan change and development agreement with the Parks.
Foothill resident Jim Slade claimed the county failed to notify all the property owners within a quarter mile of the parcels subject to the change.
He said that relocation of the receiving area should have been clearly labeled as a master plan amendment, including the parcel numbers involved.
The Record-Courier has contacted the county to find out who received notices and what they said.
Under county code, a change on more than 40 acres required a notice to every parcel owner within 1,320 feet.
By a 3-2 vote on Aug. 6, county commissioners approved moving 1,044 acres of receiving area from the Sleeping Elephant Ranch across from Topaz Ranch Estates to Park property north of Minden and Gardnerville.
In addition, they approved an agreement that traded right of way for Muller Lane Parkway, a conservation easement on Klauber Ranch and the easement between Highway 88 and a ditch for an agreement that would allow Park to build up to 2,500 units on the Carson Valley property.
On Wednesday, Cates and Dallaire talked about the approval with members of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce.
He pointed out that there was no development agreement associated with the Sleeping Elephant receiving area and that it could have been built out to up to 16 units an acre.
Cates said the master plan amendment and the agreement fulfills multiple items in the strategic plan and the plans for prosperity.
“Another benefit is that it requires conservation and flooding control,” he said. “In a lot of areas we’ve run out of receiving area, and we want receiving area available for the TDR program. This approval signals to would-be developers the place where growth would be most desirable.”
Douglas County conserves irrigated agricultural land by transferring development rights from that land to places where the county would prefer development. Those rights may be purchased by a developer, or in the case of the Parks, who own significant amounts of agricultural land, would be transferred off their own property.
Dallaire pointed out that with the previous receiving area in TRE, the Parks could have sought up to 16,000 units on that property.
With the agreement, the Parks are limited to 2,500 units, which could take many forms.