County rejects Rancho Sierra variances |

County rejects Rancho Sierra variances

Residents pack the CVIC Hall in Minden just before the beginning of a hearing on the Rancho Sierra Project.
Kurt Hildebrand

More than 200 residents turned out for a hearing on a project located southwest of the Gardnerville Ranchos on Thursday.

All seven variances sought for the 353-home Rancho Sierra project were denied by county commissioners.

Ranchos resident Ron Bush presented a petition signed by 325 residents living near the project.

In a statement obtained by The Record-Courier, Bush pointed out that county code requires a project be in the public interest if a plan departs from zoning and subdivision requirements.

Many of the homes neighboring the project average lot sizes of 10,000 square feet. The new development proposes building homes on lots half that size.

According to the county, only 16 percent of the project would be open space and that space would be dedicated to an RV parking lot, storm water drainage and basins.

“None of these areas can be safely used by adults or children for active recreation,” Bush said. “There is a distinct difference between recreational open space and nonrecreational open space.”

Rancho Sierra was originally approved for 307 homes on 80 acres off the south end of Tillman Lane in July 2006. While the original plan has since expired, the amendment that allowed single family residential remains in the master plan.

In order to build the 353 homes, the owner will have to obtain development rights from agricultural land.

The property is zoned single family residential with a density of 8,000-square-foot lots, which would allow around five homes per acre.

The developer is required to provide a second access to the project running south from Tillman Lane to Heritage Lane to Dressler Lane. Dressler Lane intersects with Highway 88 south of Kimmerling Way.

The land is owned by Ranchos Sierra Group, which was formed in 2013.

The property belonged to Frederick Dressler until it was sold in 2005, according to the Assessor’s Office.

Lots on the property would include 5,000, 6,000 and 7,000 square feet in size.

Most of the variances relate to street and right of way widths and intersection separations. The Falk-Tillman Ditch passes through the property, which county code says should be given a 50-foot berth on either side.

The developer has a letter from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the ditch is not a water of the United States.

In 2006, the water conveyance advisory committee determined that abandonment of the ditch won’t affect downstream users.