Indian Hills, county debate redevelopment | RecordCourier.com

Indian Hills, county debate redevelopment

by Susie Vasquez

Indian Hills officials say a proposed commercial area east of Highway 395 in north Douglas County will be built with or without redevelopment dollars. County officials say the commercial district won’t develop as efficiently or effectively without those funds.

“Real estate always develops to the highest and best use,” said Douglas County realtor David Nelson. “It will develop whether the county steps in or not.”

“I don’t think it will develop as quickly,” said Douglas County Manager Dan Holler. “Developing the property to its highest and best use depends on who owns the property.”

The land just east of the Carson Valley Plaza is being considered by developers AIG Baker.

With redevelopment dollars, county officials could provide the needed infrastructure that would make the project economically feasible. Without that money, the development could be piecemeal, Holler told Indian Hills residents at a special meeting Thursday.

Redevelopment has met stiff opposition from north Douglas County residents, who challenged everything from the term “blight,” a legal term used to describe land in need of redevelopment, to the proposed development of sewer and water facilities.

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“How much are we realizing in revenues, from the west side development,” one Indian Hills resident asked. “My house backs up to that development and I’ve given up a lot, when it comes to traffic, noise and the lights in my back yard at night.”

The proposed commercial area could bring roughly $750,000 to Douglas County coffers when fully developed, for everything from libraries and improvement districts to the general fund, Holler said.

The parcels in question, about 610 acres in north Douglas County, includes some of best land for commercial development here, but there are some issues, he said.

“The area has rolling hills. No big box store will be willing to build behind that hill,” he said. “AIG told me, without some level of infrastructure work by the county, they would not close escrow on the property.”

Nelson challenged some of Holler’s figures, saying the businesses moving into the new commercial development will have to compete with established west-side businesses.

“The new commercial area will have to split their sales with the businesses already there, like Costco,” Nelson said. “I think your estimated increase in sales taxes could be high.”

Indian Hills General Manager Jim Bentley said the established commercial district west of Highway 395 brought $850,000 to the redevelopment agency last year, but Douglas County entities, like the school district and fire department, saw only a fraction of those taxes due to redevelopment.

Holler said government entities in Nevada will most likely run into a wall in the coming years with respect to tax revenues. Counties could be more reliant on sales tax dollars in the future and he’s concerned about all revenue sources.

Clark County may not continue to subsidize rural counties as it does now and traditional sources, like room and gaming taxes, are being impacted by Indian gaming, Holler said.

Douglas County is the wealthiest county with respect to per-capita income, yet residents here pay the lowest tax rates in Nevada, he said.

“Douglas County residents want a lot of services, but they’re not willing to pay for them,” he said. “If we don’t strengthen our revenue sources, we’ll have to either diminish services, or increase taxes.”

— Susie Vasquez can be reached at svasquez@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 211.