Douglas to maintain Clear Creek
May 2, 2006
Douglas County commissioners have agreed to provide maintenance and snow removal for a road critical to a Clear Creek development, in an interlocal agreement with Carson City.
The road links Clear Creek Road and the Highway 50 interchange now under construction 4.8 miles west of Highway 395 along the Douglas County/Carson City border. The development, which includes high-end homes and a golf course, is being proposed by Syncon Homes.
“The developer is building the interchange and road for access to their project,” said Douglas County Engineer Catherine Pool. “They’ve partnered with the Nevada Department of Transportation. A lot of people are in support of the new road, but developers are putting up the bulk of the money.”
Syncon is providing $5.7 million and the state $1.2 million for the $6.7 million interchange.
High-end homes are scattered along Clear Creek Road, which winds west through a narrow, wooded canyon to Spooner Summit. Clear Creek is the only paved road leading in and out of the area, which is frequented by hikers, cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Commissioner David Brady said his primary concern is public safety.
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“We need more access to that canyon,” he said.
The commission vote supporting the road agreement was 4-1, with Commissioner Doug Johnson casting the one dissenting vote.
Johnson said he had a problem with approving the road before construction of the Syncon project.
“I’d like to see the road completed for fire access, but we wouldn’t be having this conversation if that development wasn’t being considered,” he said.
The Syncon project has been a bone of contention in Douglas County since its first approval in 2003. An effort to stop the development is the subject of a lawsuit pending in the Supreme Court.
John Garvin, cochair of the Sustainable Growth Initiative Committee said Douglas County taxpayers will be responsible for maintenance and liability for this access road when no project has been approved.
“A lot of people are unhappy about an approval that puts Douglas County taxpayers on the hook for maintenance and liability for this road, when Douglas County doesn’t even have an approved project,” Garvin said. “There’s more to this picture than the public is aware of and I’d like to know what that is.”
Syncon plans were initially approved for about 91 homesites, but a second proposal includes more than 300 high-end homes, timeshares and a golf course.
Spokesman Jim Bauserman said Syncon is committed to moving forward with the original 91-home project, but waiting to hear back on the pending Supreme Court ruling.
Syncon has worked with the Nevada Department of Transportation, State Lands and the Governor’s office to make this a reality, he said.
“We are prepared to move forward with the parameters we have. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be building the underpass,” Bauserman said. “Syncon is the major financier for this road, but public safety is a key element.”
Under the agreement, which is still subject to approval by the Regional Transportation Commission and Carson City Supervisors, Carson City’s involvement will include review and approval of construction plans submitted by the developer and inspection of the road to ensure it’s built to Carson standards.
County Manager Dan Holler said responsibility for maintenance has fallen to Douglas County because Douglas residents will be the primary beneficiaries when the road is complete. The obligation to maintain the road could be passed on to private homeowners should a final project be completed on Clear Creek Ranch property.
This agreement is a departure from normal procedure. Maintenance agreements are usually put in place after the road has been built and county officials are assured that it is up to code, Holler said.
Susie Vasquez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 782-5121, ext. 211.