Next steps for master plan maps |

Next steps for master plan maps

Less than a week after county commissioners rescinded approval of updated maps in the Douglas County master plan, staff members were working to figure out how to get the process back on track.

An Oct. 21 meeting is being proposed for planning commissioners to review master plan maps after their approval was rescinded last week by county commissioners.

That would be the earliest staff members could prepare the maps and do proper noticing and still be able to get a decision to county commissioners in time for them to meet in November, Planning Manager Sam Booth said Tuesday.

The biggest issue with the maps is the transfer of 1,044 acres of receiving area from Topaz Ranch Estates to Carson Valley.

Receiving area is used by Douglas County as a growth control by transferring development rights from land the county wants to preserve to land where development is more palatable.

While the transfer won’t increase the amount of receiving area in Douglas County, it will move it to somewhere more likely to develop than the Sleeping Elephant Ranch.

Under an accompanying agreement with Park Holdings, which owns both sites, the right-of-way for Muller Parkway would be dedicated to the county, as would right-of-way for the means to carry floodwaters across Highway 88 to the river. In exchange the Parks would receive the right to build 2,500 homes on their property, located north of Minden and Gardnerville.

If county commissioners decide to approve the receiving area swap, they almost have to approve the development agreement, because otherwise that receiving area could result in up to 16 units per acre.

In July, planning commissioners voted to approve moving the master plan maps forward without the receiving area swap.

While the planning commission is in charge of the master plan, it doesn’t have the final say over changes to the plan, according to Deputy District Attorney Cynthea Gregory.

Gregory pointed out that amendments go to county commissioners and when a planning commission decision is overturned it returns to the panel for a report.

Last week, commissioners decided to accept the report and rescind approval of both the maps and the development agreement after there were several challenges from residents citing noticing and possible open meeting law violations.

Even the attorney for Park Holdings agreed that rescinding the action would be prudent, saying it would inoculate the county from challenges to the action.

“It was rescinded out of an abundance of caution,” Booth said. “We recognize that maybe we can do the process better. We presented that to commissioners and I think they agreed. They asked us to do this process again.”

Booth said the goal was to have only the master plan maps on the agenda.