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Developer plans unique subdivision

Andy Bourelle

Is Job’s Peak Ranch your typical Nevada development?

Absolutely not, according to developer Cole Smith.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime piece of property,” Smith said. “We felt it had to be done right.”

The ranch’s location is 1,080 acres of wilderness off of Foothill Road. The ranch’s foreground is the Carson Valley and the background is Job’s Peak.

Resulting from the property’s environment and location, Smith said he and his associates, James Ray and his father Raymond Smith, wanted to be careful to preserve the area’s wildlife and forestry as much as possible.

“Because of the site, we didn’t want to do this like other developments,” Smith said. “We wanted to create home sites that coexist with the natural environment.”

Normally, a developer would try to get as many home sites in an area as possible, Smith said, but at the ranch they “allowed the land to drive the amount.”

While the area is zoned for more than 200 sites, Job’s Peak Ranch will have 122. Most developments create clusters of homes, Smith said, but at the ranch residents will have significant privacy. Of the more than 1,000 acres, 515 will be developed.

To decide on and plan for the location of the lots, Smith sought the help of Design Workshop, a firm based from Aspen, Colo. specializing in landscape architecture, land planning, urban design and tourism planning, which is known for its interest in preservation.

“We wanted the help of people who shared our same vision,” he said, “to not come in here and tear up the property.”

With the help of satellite global positioning system, Smith and two workers from Design Workshop spent two days in the field, hiking across the property and hand-picking the sites. Using five criteria, they looked at possible locations considering critical tree groves, stream zones, rock outcroppings, view corridors and, most importantly, privacy.

Smith said he hired 14 consultants to look at different aspects of the property. The consultants conducted a variety of work including stream restoration, forest management and avalanche studies.

Even a consultant came to study mule deer migration, Smith said, so the development would not disrupt a deer bedding ground on the property.

The lot sizes range from two acres to 17.7 acres, and the costs for the parcels of land go from $175,000 to $396,000. Smith said the size doesn’t necessarily correspond to the price. Again, the five criteria were used to determine the pricing.

Also, parcel owners must follow certain building criteria, and can only do work within a “building envelope” of 15,000 square feet. Although residents may own several acres, they are not allowed to cut down trees or drastically change the landscape of the property except within the envelope.

“We want each home to look like it was meant to be there, not like it was forced,” Smith said. “One thing we don’t want is someone to build a home that blocks the view of another home. That will not happen.”

Smith said some of the homes will not even be within sight of their nearest neighbors. Phase one of the project is currently being completed, preparing the land for the first 42 lots. Ten parcels have been sold, and the construction of the first house is beginning this month. Smith said he expects three to six houses to be built a year at the ranch.

One house is built on the land, which has been there since 1937. Smith lives at the home, and it also functions as the office for Job’s Peak Ranch.

Smith said the prospective buyers so far have been people a few years away from retirement who love the outdoors and are environmentally conscious.

“It’s exactly what they want,” he said. “They buy it now, so they have this little piece of heaven when they retire.”

Job’s Peak Ranch is a gated community. Smith said he has scheduled two open houses in November to give residents a chance to see the area. The open houses are scheduled for the week of Nov. 8-9, and Nov. 29, with the gates open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Smith said he is looking forward to homeowners coming to Job’s Peak Ranch and is pleased with how the project has gone.

“It’s such a unique approach to development,” he said. “There’s been nothing else done like it in the Carson Valley. A great deal of heart and passion has gone into it.”