Distaste for New Development
About a dozen Ranchos residents at Wednesday’s monthly board meeting protested the first phase of the Ranchos, LLC SkyRidge Development. Concerns regarding traffic, water, safety, and lack of a future plan were vehemently expressed to the developer of the 33-acre project at Dresslerville Road near the Washoe Indian colony.
According to General Improvement District guidelines if Gardnerville Ranchos’ General Improvement District can provide sewer, water, and road service to the development, board members need to approve the plan.
GRGID passed a motion to notify the Douglas County Planning Commission that the Ranchos is capable of providing services for the development.
“We have no choice,” said Treasurer Al Wagner.
If approved both by the Planning Commission and County Commissioners, developers will break ground on Phase I in the spring.
Chairman Roger Paul said he was concerned Ranchos residents might misunderstand GRGID’s role in the development.
“When it comes to development, it is very restricted and limited,” he said.
The board approved the development, with a recommendation Douglas County improves the road infrastructure.
Rob Anderson of RO Anderson Engineering, Inc., who designed Phase I, said traffic problems are pre-existing and it is unfair to lay the remedy for traffic on the developer, Greg Lynn of Ranchos, LLC.
“I’m no fool and I know you guys aren’t either,” Anderson said, speaking of the intersection at Riverview Drive and Highway 395. “If a left turn movement fails, and it fails today it doesn’t matter if we build one house or 95 houses. It’s a situation that is already failing. You folks recognize you need to build roads today.
“It doesn’t make it the (developer’s) responsibility to fix it all, but he does need to contribute. There are going to be some costs associated with it. That’s frankly one of the reasons you are only seeing one piece of (the development). It’s not prudent to deal with the whole.”
Trustee Beverly Page said Anderson talked about roads “like it’s almost all (the Ranchos) fault.” Anderson apologized, and said roads are a community problem.
“Douglas County takes their portion of the percentage of the pie and does their maintenance,” Anderson said. “What we’re talking about is capacity improvements.
“When was the last time GRGID actually built capacity improvements in the District? The Department of Transportation builds highways and capacity improvements. My point to you is that it does not fall on the developer to make capacity improvements. If they are regional roads, it is not the responsibility of one developer. It’s not going to fall on GRGID and it’s certainly not going to fall on Mr. Lynn. It falls on the whole community.”
“I see what’s happening,” resident Richard Servantes said. “There are shades drawn, and doors aren’t open. What’s the purpose of having more roads? It’s more houses. What have we gained? We should have a voice what happens in this community.
“What about us? It’s money and power. It’s quality of life, more police and more crime. If they really care, then (they could) donate the land (or) do something else. How in the hell are people going to get out if there’s a disaster? I have a lot of concerns and (you) come to a meeting unprepared with answers. Get your stuff together.”
Ranchos’ resident Wanda Holms’ home is catty corner to the project on Dresslerville Road.
“It’s hard for us to get out of our driveway right now,” she said. “It’s a big concern to me. All of these cars that will be coming past my house. You’re going up and down the road with heavy equipment. I have to wonder what it’s going to do my property value. At some point, it’s going to be handled with a traffic light. How are we going to sell the house with a traffic light in front?
“I look right out the window and see cars all day long. It’s going to a huge impact on us, probably more so than anybody else. We’d like to find out some answers. We’d give the developer our property right now at fair market value. This is the location we’re in. It sucks. But it sounds like it’s going to suck worse, before it’s over.”
Residents were upset by the lack of plans for what eventually will be a 540-acre development. Anderson and Lynn showed an 8.5 by 11 piece of paper with the county’s 1996 Master Plan to the residents. Anderson said the Master Plan is the project’s future plan, but this failed to appease residents.
“You can’t present this to the people and have all these open ends,” said resident Duke Pupich. “You gotta have the answers for the people. Right now, I think we’re way over our heads. Give us a plan.”
“Come in here with plans,” Servantes said. “I can honestly say after living here 11 years, there’s a lot of information that does not get out purposely.”
“We thought you’d come in with a full master plan and not just a piece,” said Trustee Beverly Page.
Anderson and Lynn said the project needed a start in the shape of Phase I, otherwise requirements for a long-term plan will prevent the project from ever starting.
“We have the first phase of a very long project which we will complete within the timeframe of 20 years,” Lynn said.
“This project has been banging around for quite a while,” he said. “The folks who had it before us ran out of steam, and we’d like to bring it back. Sooner or later in this town, you’re going to have to have a place where ordinary folks live.”
Anderson said he understood residents wanting to see the whole package.
“You will see the whole package,” he said. “(This is) a piece of the puzzle. You start to get a feel and understand how this process is going to work.”
The planned homes will cost about $200,000. Phase I will take about 3 years to complete. Lots will be about 7,000 square feet, Anderson said, which is the minimum required by the Master Plan, resulting in three lots per acre.
Lynn said the project will feature better road section and underground drainage.
“The very layout of the project avoids long, straight runs (for speeding vehicles),” he said. “There are a couple of drawbacks. The county demands open space, so we’ve had to give up 25 percent for open space. The streets will be narrower because we have backyard parking. We’re not looking at Pleasantview (part of the Ranchos), we’re looking at something that blends in with the surrounding area. Everything is basically in place.”
95 lots will be developed on the acres in the next two to three years. About 1,500 square feet of recreational vehicle parking will be on the right side of the development, bordering the Tribal Health Clinic. Open space is on the perimeter of the project and alley ways provide back-street parking.
“I just think having alley ways is not a good idea,” said resident Liz Paul. “I’m afraid I don’t care for the design that much. I don’t see why the houses can’t be backed up to each other. I don’t see any open space here. I see it in the perimeter. Where are the children going to play? In the streets? I just don’t think it’s real conducive for a community atmosphere.”
Chairman Paul also criticized the alleys.
“We don’t have police powers here, but alleys simply contribute to the problem,” he said. “Those are the best hideouts and every kid knows it. It’s just like the open space up at Pau-Wa-Lu. It’s going to be the same thing down the alley ways, and the sheriff is going to have one heck of a time dealing with it.”
Pupich asked about water supply. The committee had approved doubling daily watering restriction from three to six hours, 12 to 6 p.m.
“I haven’t heard anyone here say what the water capacity is,” he said. “Everyone shys away from it. I heard you say you are going to bring in water. How are you going to bring it in? In buckets?”
Members of the GRGID board recommended Ranchos residents contact their county representative, Commissioner Steve Weissinger. SkyRidge will be discussed at the next planning commission meeting Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. The commission will vote whether to recommend the plan to the county commission.
n R-C Staff Writer Maggie O’Neill can be reached by e-mail at mo’firstname.lastname@example.org
GRGID Approves Phase I of SkyRidge
What: Planning Commission meeting
When: Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 1 p.m.
Where: The courtroom of the Old County Courthouse, located at 1616 Eighth St., Minden.