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Park petition goes to county commission

The Park 2500 petition is at the top of Douglas County commissioners’ agenda today.

Under Nevada law, commissioners may override a certificate of insufficiency issued after the petition failed a spot check by the Clerk Treasurer’s Office because one of the pages was not notarized.

Petition organizer Jeanne Shizuru, who served as notary for the effort, didn’t stamp a page containing 51 signatures resulting in the petition being declared insufficient.

In her appeal to the county commission, Shizuru argued Nevada law doesn’t require the circulator’s affidavit be notarized.

Calling the error a technicality, Shizuru said it was a moral imperative that commissioners allow the count to go forward.

“The affidavit was notarized, only the stamp was missing,” Shizuru wrote in her request.

On Wednesday, the petitioners appeared in Douglas County District Court for a status hearing on a lawsuit filed by Park Cattle Holdings seeking to stop the petition.

Judge Steven Kosach gave petitioners until June 12 to tell him why he shouldn’t rule in favor of Park Cattle’s petition. Park attorney Mark Forsberg would have a week to respond and then Kosach would hear the matter on June 25.

Shizuru’s spouse, Dave Nelson, is running for re-election for Douglas County Commission District 1 against challenger Danny Tarkanian.

The petition was also signed by commission challengers Walt Nowosad and Mark Gardner.

The petition was filed Dec. 10 after county commissioners voted 3-2 to approve a development agreement and master plan amendment to move receiving area on the Sleeping Elephant Ranch to 1,044 acres of Park Cattle land north of Minden and Gardnerville. The agreement caps development on Park land at 2,500 units. Because receiving area allows up to 16 units per acre, the development agreement prevents the Parks from developing that land at a much higher density.

The master plan amendment can’t be challenged by a referendum because it is an administrative action, so without the development agreement, which also grants the right of way for Muller Lane Parkway, there could be upward of 16,000 units allowed on that property.

According to the U.S. Census there are 24,773 housing units in the county as of July 1, 2019.

Under state law, county commissioners have the discretion to and final authority to order the clerk to finish counting the signatures. Nelson has been active in gathering signatures for the petition, something he may have to disclose today at the meeting.

Today’s meeting will be held virtually as will all county meetings through the month of June or until the governor lifts restrictions on public gatherings.

“The health and safety of our employees and members of the public is our No. 1 priority,” county spokeswoman Melissa Blosser said. “There will be no physical location designated for public meetings.”

The meeting will be livestreamed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqjgDrZ_nsU

Residents may participate in public comment by calling 783-6007 and leaving it on a message.