Park, strip mall retail zone sought in Gardnerville |

Park, strip mall retail zone sought in Gardnerville

by Christy Chalmers

Thirty acres of pasture land on the edge of Gardnerville may be turned into a strip mall and park if Douglas County Planning Commissioners follow a planning department recommendation.

The planning commission will consider several requests for changes to the 1996 master plan, as well as zoning adjustments, when it meets Tuesday afternoon.

Owners of the pasture, located behind the new AM-PM at Highway 395 and Waterloo Lane, have sought changes since 1994 that would allow development of facilities ranging from shopping centers to a bowling alley and casino.

The property is zoned for agricultural use, and previous requests for change have been rejected over concerns about flooding by the Carson River.

Applicant Roger Falcke is seeking a change that would designate 22.87 acres of the land for public facilities, leaving 7.68 acres for neighborhood commercial use. A report to the planning commission says the 22 acres could be used to expand Lampe Park, while the seven acres, which would face Highway 395, could accommodate 100,000 square feet of commercial space.

Changes for the property were last sought in 1998, when applications that would allow commercial, private recreation and public facilities were filed. At the time, developers hoped to build a hotel-casino, bowling alley, RV park and community park.

County commissioners upheld a planning commission recommendation to deny the changes, worrying that efforts to fill in the land to raise it above the flood plain would cause problems for downstream users and set a precedent for other flood plain property owners to make similar changes.

The commissioners also raised concerns about land use compatibility and whether the new commercial space was needed.

The planning board will also consider replacing the agricultural label on the old Treehouse Nursery with a commercial designation.

The defunct nursery, which includes an empty 5,676-square-foot building, occupies a 3-acre parcel at the corner of Centerville Lane and Dresslerville Road. If the planners agree to change the master plan use to commercial and the current zoning to neighborhood commercial, as requested, a small business could be located there.

Past attempts to secure a commercial designation have failed. Though the planning commission in 1997 recommended approval of a change that would have allowed office and neighborhood commercial uses, the county commission denied the change based on perceived negative impacts that commercial development could have on surrounding properties. The county commission has final authority.

A staff report on the proposal notes the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District board is concerned about the possibility of a nearby district well being contaminated if gasoline sales are approved at the site. The proposed zoning allows gas stations and 24-hour operations, though county and possibly state approval would be needed if the owner wants to open a business other than the garden center that was originally approved.

What: Douglas County Planning Commission meeting on proposed changes to the master plan.

When: Tuesday, 2 p.m.

Where: Old courthouse, 1616 Eighth St., Minden