North Valley stays in redevelopment plan |

North Valley stays in redevelopment plan

by Sharon Carter

In an action which nettled some North County residents and raised the eyebrows of others, the Douglas County Redevelopment Citizens Advisory Committee voted Tuesday to retain the entire eastern residential portion of Jacks Valley (between the school and Highway 395) in Redevelopment Evaluation Area 1.

“The easiest thing would be to take it out, just basing the decision on whether the people want the drainage and roadway issues solved,” said committee member Rick Gardner. “My feeling is to leave it in.”

The committee’s action, which becomes a recommendation to the Douglas County Planning Commission, also removed the Sunridge subdivision, BLM range land east of Highway 395 and portions of Genoa Lakes and Little Mondeaux. The unanimous vote came after redevelopment consultant Catherine Dela Cruz of Bay Area Economics walked interested citizens and members of the committee and the planning commissioners through a preliminary draft of her blight report.

The two appointed bodies met jointly to hear Dela Cruz’s preliminary findings and discuss what areas a redevelopment plan for the north county area should include.

Dela Cruz’s analysis was limited to areas that would qualify as blighted under state statutes and adjacent areas she considered necessary for successful redevelopment of the North County area.

n Rural standard. She held the Jacks Valley area to a rural standard which requires paved streets, but not curbs and sidewalks.

“The residential area north and south of Jacks Valley road shows no evidence of physical blight,” Dela Cruz said. “They (the homes) are well-maintained and attractive. The issues there concern roads and drainage, a lack of sufficient recreation facilities and a water system that is deficient as it relates to fire flows. Because of its lack of infrastructure, the area would qualify as blighted.”

In the Ridgeview area, she noted some deterioration of structures, mostly relating to roofs and storage structures.

When held to an urban standard, Dela Cruz found the Ridgeview neighborhoods deficient in curbs and gutters, a water system that lacked pumping capacity, a lack of recreation facilities and elevated nitrate levels in wells.

She said Little Mondeaux and Walley’s Hot Springs would not qualify as blighted areas because they have county-approved development agreements.

Because of their proximity to the Town of Genoa (including Sierra Shadows and Genoa Lakes), which qualifies as blighted because of water, sewer and other infrastructure problems, Dela Cruz said portions of those properties may be legally included in project area if they are considered necessary for effective planning and redevelopment of the region.

The Sunridge development east of Highway 395 does not qualify as blighted because of its development agreement, Dela Cruz said. Nor, she said, does other undeveloped land east of the highway because, as forest and range land, it is not zoned for development.

The north county commercial area, because of problems which impede its development, qualifies as blighted and could be included in a redevelopment area, Dela Cruz said.

n Too rapidly. During the public comment portion of the meeting, residents told officials they felt the redevelopment process was moving too rapidly, and without regard for public opinion.

Jim Griffin, who lives at the corner of Arcadia Avenue and Jacks Valley road said he believes the county has the ability to solve the area’s road drainage problems without creating another agency.

“We don’t want Jacks Valley to look like a California subdivision,” Griffin said.

Elza Turkington, who lives in the Gardnerville Ranchos, said if a redevelopment agency was created and funded by the tax assessment increases generated by rising property values, “within 25 years, they’ll (the redevelopment agency) be collecting more property taxes than the county.”

Several Jacks Valley area residents had more immediate concerns.

“Because of problems we’re beginning to have with our wells and septics in the area, I’m personally in favor of being included the evaluation area,” said Judy Larquier, who lives on Pawnee Street. “But I have serious doubts that the committee complied with the open meeting law when they took a vote without properly noticing it first.”

When contacted later, Douglas County District Attorney Scott Doyle said the meeting agenda contemplated some type of action when it indicated direction would be given to the consultant.

“That direction can be a general consensus or in the form of a motion or vote,” Doyle said. “It would probably have been better if it (the agenda) had said ‘discussion and possible action.'”

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