Judge Gibbons orders SGI actions consolidated
December 13, 2002
There are a couple of new wrinkles in the implementation of the voter-approved Sustainable Growth Initiative.
The issue of limiting new dwelling units to 280 annually is still pending before the Nevada Supreme Court. In addition, a hearing to consider a permanent injunction is scheduled at 2 p.m., Thursday at Douglas District Court.
Late this week, additional lawsuits were filed by the Douglas County Building Industry Association and the SGI Committee, and an order was issued by the presiding judge in the upcoming hearing.
On Thursday, District Court Judge Michael Gibbons issued an order to consolidate the hearings Thursday. He will decide whether to issue a temporary injunction on the temporary restraining order granted Nov. 7 against implementation of the initiative, and the permanent injunction trial.
The plaintiffs in that case, Minden-based Jumpers LLC and Century 21 Clark Properties, filed the temporary restraining order hours after Douglas County Commissioners canvassed the votes from the general election.
Patty Clark, owner of Jumpers and part owner of Clark Properties Century 21, said she expected Gibbons to consolidate the hearings.
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“We always like to have more time to prepare, but we believe our case is more compelling and we will make due with what time we have,” she said.
Clark said she is confident the outcome of Thursday’s hearings will be favorable for developers.
“I feel very confident, or I wouldn’t have filed,” she said.
In his order, Gibbons proposed plaintiffs outline steps completed and those remaining, in order to get a building permit, and to show how much the delay has cost them.
He also instructed the defendant, Douglas County, to present evidence on the “extent to which discretion plays a part” in issuing building permits once requirements are met.
Jumpers and Century 21 claim they have met all standards for a building permit, but it has yet to be issued.
Jumpers LLC is developer of the 31 townhomes behind Arco in North Minden approved Oct. 3 by the Douglas County Commission.
The county asserts Jumpers has not complied with the permit process and not invested considerable funds.
Following Gibbons’ order, the SGI committee filed a motion to intervene to be included in the actions on Thursday in district court.
“We feel we want to be part of the process and make our own presentation,” said John Garvin, co-chairman of the slow-growth committee.
After all, Garvin said, it was the SGI committee that started this ball rolling in controlling Douglas County growth.
“But, last year, growth was at 1.8 percent, I believe,” Garvin said. “I don’t understand why.
Since the election, Garvin has appeared at county commissioner meetings requesting to start the process of implementing the initiative. Commissioners, at the recommendation of the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office, will not take any action until the legal wrangling is complete.
Meanwhile, Carson Valley-based developers, the Douglas County Building Industry Association, Aurora Land LLC and Merill Constriction, filed their own lawsuit against Douglas County alleging, according to a press release, that members “are experiencing immediate loss and damage. The impact of the initiative has resulted in irreversible harm to our members, leaving the Douglas County Building Industry Association no choice, but to take the necessary measures to protect those we represent.”
Because the initiative has not been enacted, Garvin asked how developers could be suffering adverse affects.
“I think last year’s growth was at 1.8 percent, so (implementation of SGI would be) well within that limit,” Garvin said. “What’s operating here is fear and anxiety about what may or may not happen.”
Minden attorney Kelly Chase filed to have the Jumpers LLC/Century 21 Clark Properties lawsuit consolidated with the DCBIA suit. He also filed a motion to expedite the matter.
His only comment was that his “pleadings speak for themselves.”
Carole Thompson, executive director of DCBIA, said in her release that the association will not seek damages against Douglas County, but will serve as the shield for members who qualify to file joint lawsuits.
n Regina Purcell can be e-mailed at email@example.com