GRGID angers residents over waterline repercussions | RecordCourier.com

GRGID angers residents over waterline repercussions

by Regina Purcell, Staff Writer

After some residents were angered at a move by the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District to save upward of $50,000, a waterline project was redesigned in order not to encroach onto easements, and disrupt years-old improvements, such as mature trees, fencing and landscaping.

“I sure don’t need this,” said Marjorie Weekly, 90, a 27-year resident on Arrowhead Drive, who signed one of two petitions calling on the district to reconsider its decision.

In May, the district started replacing the old, original steel pipes in the waterline system with plastic piping in a $3.2 million project.

District Manager Bob Spellberg said the first two phases are complete and Phase 3 was due to start Monday along Arrowhead Drive.

It was stalled temporarily when the district received petitions from residents and a couple of homeowners parked a horse trailer and flatbed truck along their easements.

At the last board meeting Nov. 27, trustees decided not to authorize an administrative change order that would have upped the cost of the project by $20,000 to $54,000. The increase would have ensured only the the right-of-way would have been disrupted during installation of the waterline.

Instead, trustees opted for the contractor to install the line in the easement D a 60-foot section from the road’s centerline. Affected residents were informed Friday that the project would start Monday.

Originally homes were built about 22 feet off the road, meaning the contractor would have to dig inside property lines, but within the district’s legal easement rights.

The problem, according to Spellberg, is that phone, cable, gas and sewer lines are also installed on either side of roads in the Ranchos, crowding the space and forcing the removal of some landscaping, fences and trees.

Nearly 100 property owners were faced at such disruption, Spellberg said.

Ranchos and Arrowhead Drive residents Jim and Belinda Grant submitted a petition with less than 25 names requesting the district halt construction immediately.

Todd and Betsy Connelly, whose home is on Arrowhead Drive, rallied neighbors and also submitted a petition with 25 signatures. The Connellys ‘petition says the improvements residents have made through the years won’t be replaced at their expense but, rather, will be left to the district to maintain and improve, such as “re-establishing appropriate road grades, re-establishing storm water conveyance, and establishing right-of-way landscape features consistent with …. community development.”

“GRGID doesn’t maintain it now,” said Betsy Connelly. “Who wants to, with all that crap D weeds, bottles, trash?

“People basically did GRGID’s job. Our petition says, ‘Fine. You are responsible and we’ll be calling you to come and clean it up.'”

Trustees Jimmie Fields, Bill Barnum and Chairman Roger Paul said they each received six telephone calls from concerned property owners. Paul said half of his calls were from residents wanting to work with the district.

Paul said it is “premature” to comment on the petition, and that six calls doesn’t mean a majority of owners are upset.

It is a money issue, Barnum said.

“We have a fiduciary responsibility to all the people in the Ranchos,” he said. “I am empathetic to the residents, but it would have cost $20,000 to $50,000 more.

“I’d like this contractor to come around (to a lower price to accommodate property owner’s improvements).”

The contractor, Rapid Construction, Inc. was not available for comment by press time. But Spellberg said the district had renegotiated the price estimate and moved the project back into the street, although there will be some homes that are affected when new meter pits are installed.

“We’re not going to be on anybody’s shoulder,” he said. “We redesigned it to help the district and the residents.

“It is not going to be carnage.”

Audrey Montes, a 13-year Ranchos resident, said it will cost her $3,000 to replace what the district’s project will destroy.

“That’s money I don’t have,” she said. “It would be nice if they included residents on this. They could have let us know they were making these decisions.”

Many residents can’t attend the board’s 4 p.m. meeting, Montes said, and public notices such as in the Silver Strike Bowling Alley are useless.

“I work 55- to 80-hours per week,” she said. “I have no time to go bowling.”

Spellberg said it is a moral issue and Fields agreed.

“Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right,” Fields said. Residents “probably have a valid point, and I think the board was not completely aware of what’s going on. It’s my fault I didn’t dig deep enough.”

Mrs. Connelly is pleased with the changes.

“This is good news,” she said. “They are making some concessions and putting most of it in the road.”

n Regina Purcell can be e-mailed at rpurcell@recordcourier.com