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Muller lane could be commercial

Christy Chalmers, staff writer

The northwest corner of Highway 395 and Muller Lane could be developed while 450 acres on the Carson River would stay open under a proposal that has been sent to Douglas County planners.

Dangberg Holdings Nevada is asking for a pair of master plan changes to accomplish the job. One would turn 70 acres at the Highway 395 and Muller Lane corner, currently zoned for agriculture, into a receiving area for development rights. A second would redesignate a 25-acre parcel just east of Gardnerville for agricultural use instead of as a receiving area.

The company is also offering to put a conservation easement on 450 acres that straddle the East Fork of the Carson River between Muller and Genoa lanes, meaning the land couldn’t be developed.

Lee Plemel, a planner in the Douglas County Community Development Department, said the changes could mean commercial development on the Highway 395-Muller Lane property.

“What they plan on doing is coming in with a specific plan for commercial development,” he said. “There is a plan that is not complete, but it shows the land use as being commercial.”

Plemel said designation of the 70 acres as a receiving area would allow Dangberg to do a planned development overlay for the property, a process that is usually used for residential developments. Using a planned development overlay can boost the number of houses allowed.

While the proposal is on the Douglas County Planning Commission’s Aug. 8 agenda, Plemel said a decision is not likely. Instead, planners will probably discuss the status of the property in the county planning process, because there are issues that need to be settled before a master plan change is considered.

“One of the things to be discussed is should the property be included in the Minden-Gardnerville community plan,” said Plemel. “(The discussion) will be ‘is it worth changing the community plan and expanding the urban service area?'”

The 70 acres is now in the county’s agricultural planning area, just outside of the Minden and Gardnerville community planning areas. The town planning areas include urban service areas, which map utilities like water and sewer lines. Development at Muller and Highway 395 would be a logical candidate for those urban services, so planners need to decide if they want to modify the town planning areas and include the Muller Lane-Highway 395 corner, Plemel said.

In addition, the board may have to decide how to calculate the number of the development rights needed for a commercial project.

Plemel said that while transfers of development rights haven’t been used for commercial projects, the county master plan provides for different uses within receiving areas, so it presumably can be done.

Plemel said even if planners don’t consider the master plan change Aug. 8, the board can consider it in coming months. After the planning commission finishes, the county commission would have final say on the master plan changes.

A specific plan for the 70 acres would be considered separately.