Forest Service hopes for Schneider land swap |

Forest Service hopes for Schneider land swap

by Jeff Munson

The owner of property that would allow access onto Highway 50 near a proposed high-end housing project and golf course says he’s ready to sell it to the developer.

Scott Ford of Carson City says he obtained property in 1994 that would provide easy access to Highway 50 near the proposed Schneider Ranch development and was told by the Nevada Department of Transportation that the agency would grant an easement, provided the developer pays for the construction.

“I have been told by NDOT, in a legal, binding document, that they will work with any developer if they extend the highway,” Ford said Monday.

Developer Jeff Dingman confirmed Monday he is prepared to buy the deed and a contract is already in the works.

Ford said he bought the easement rights knowing the area would be developed and expecting extended access to Highway 50 from Old Clear Creek Road would be needed.

“I have a commodity here that’s worth a lot of money. I knew it would be when I bought it. That’s why I have every intention to proceed as I’ve planned,” Ford said. “I’ve known all along this area would be developed.”

Meanwhile, Schneider Ranch property owner John Serpa declined to comment on details of what the U.S. Forest Service says are ongoing negotiations for a possible land exchange that would give Serpa 28 acres of property near the proposed Wal-Mart site in exchange for the 1,600-acre Schneider Ranch.

U.S. Forest Service Carson District Ranger Gary Schiff said Tuesday negotiations are under way to acquire the property in a land exchange.

He said conservation groups have told the Forest Service the land could be acquired in an exchange under the Southern Nevada Lands Act.

Schiff said the Forest Service made a verbal agreement with Serpa over a land exchange and isn’t sure why Serpa has changed his mind.

“We agreed to a time table of 18 months and we are within that time frame, so I don’t understand what has happened since our discussions last fall,” Schiff said.

The Forest Service and Douglas County had expressed interest in protecting the ranch, and jointly commissioned appraisal of the Serpa property.

Douglas County commissioners will hear a proposal Thursday by Dingman, who wants the county to amend its master plan to allow 300 homes and a golf course development on the Serpa property.

But even if commissioners decline the master plan amendment, Dingman says he has an agreement with Serpa to develop the property with 115 homes and a golf course.

Those improvements are allowed because the current zoning permits 115 homes and a special use permit has been granted for the golf course.

Opponents of the project have argued against development of the area, saying that the land is not conducive to development and should remain in its natural state.

What: Douglas County Commissioners

When: March 1, 1 p.m.

Where: Courtroom of the Douglas County Administrative Building, 1616 Eighth St., Minden