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Master plan amendment denied

Sheila Gardner

Douglas County’s transfer of development rights program survived its first challenge Thursday when planning commissioners denied a master plan amendment request to change a parcel from agricultural and receiving area to multi-family and commercial.

“I feel the transfer of development rights is the core of the master plan,” said planning commissioner Susan Southwick. “I feel for the applicants that the TDRs aren’t available now, but they will be.”

The parcel in question is owned by Thomas Abdoo and Tenley and Jade Miller, located at the the intersection of Dresslerville Road and State Route 756 in the Gardnerville Ranchos.

Planning commissioners denied both a master plan amendment request and zoning map request for the Abdoo parcel which would have cleared the way for a 34-unit patio home development.

“The TDRs are the core of the master plan,” said planning commissioner Peter Bandurraga. “I don’t think the first time there is a problem we should gave in.”

Because the parcel is designated a receiving area, Abdoo can still create the patio home project, but he must buy development rights and transfer them to the area.

Attorney Scott Brooke, who represented Abdoo, said his client had been unsuccessful in finding affordable development rights. The TDR-receiving area program was created in the master plan, adopted a year ago, to locate projects in “receiving areas” that were identified as more suitable for development by being served by infrastructure such as roads, sewer, water and other utilities.

“A serious issue is how can you develop a receiving area if an element isn’t there?” asked Brooke.

Brooke said the master plan amendment was a compromise with neighbors in the area who objected to a proposed 131-unit recreational vehicle park for which Abdoo has a special use permit under the old master plan. That request was continued until June 5 pending the status of the master plan amendment.

The master plan amendment and zone change request goes to the county commission which can affirm the planning commission’s action, approve the applicant’s request or send it back for further consideration.

The planning commission voted 6-0 against changing the receiving area. Commissioner Brian Krolicki recused himself because he said his family has had financial dealings with Abdoo.

The Millers, who own 2.2 acres on the northwest corner, were granted a master plan amendment redesignating their parcel from agriculture to commercial and a zone map request to reclassify the same parcel from forestry, open reserve to neighborhood commercial.

Planning commissioners also endorsed a list of quality of life indicators to gauge whether the master plan is on target.

The list includes population, economic diversification, county fiscal condition, air quality, surface and groundwater, open space, affordable housing traffic, cultural resources and design standards.

“Why are we compiling these things?” asked Krolicki. “Why do we need to create a bureaucracy on what needs to be anyway?”

Senior planner Keith Ruben said the goal was to determine if land use changes had created any problems that could be changed.

“Having been involved in this master plan since 1990 with the steering committees, the quality of life issues are what people saw in the master plan,” said Southwick. “These are the things that are important to people.”

In other action Thursday, planning commissioners:

n Tentative parcel map. Granted a tentative parcel map-waiver request to James and Alexandra Kingzett to divide a 41.27-acre parcel into two parcels on Eldon Way, 1,320 feet east of East Valley Road. The board also granted a waiver for construction of a paved roadway access to the parcel.

n Variances. Granted variances to Gregory Zoeller of Marla Bay for a sideyard setback; Richard R. Costa of Skyland for a 10-foot privacy wall at the former Villa Harrah; Ryan Davis of Marla Bay for sideyard setback and Edward and Janet Young of Elk Point for sideyard setback.

n No retail sales. Denied a request from Joseph Antonucci of Genoa to allow sales of antiques and gifts as part of a bed and breakfast use.