Planning board recommends denial of Schneider Ranch amendment |

Planning board recommends denial of Schneider Ranch amendment

by Jeff Munson

The Douglas County Planning Commission unanimously recommended rejection Tuesday of a master plan amendment that would allow a subdivision in Clear Creek Canyon.

Proponents argued successfully the amendment would undermine Douglas County’s master plan. They greeted the planning board’s recommendation with applause.

The planning commission was asked to recommend a receiving area on 581 acres of forest and range land. The receiving area would allow more houses than the one per 19 acres allowed in forest and range zones.

Critics worried about the impacts of the changes on the master plan.

“What the developer wants you to do is look at the project in a vacuum. They want you look at it and see if development is going to be a good thing. The master plan tells us we don’t want to have patchwork development, but that’s what it is,” said Gail Kern, representing a group of Alpine View property owners.

Kern argued allowing the development by amending the master plan undermines the plan.

The proposed development would occupy what is known as the Schneider Ranch in Clear Creek Canyon. Plans call for an 18-hole golf course and up to 300 homes. The developer is Jeff Dingman, who built Genoa Lakes.

The amendment would allow the Schneider property to become the county’s first receiving area for development rights. This mechanism allows developers to build on property with an agreement that agricultural land be set aside for open space.

Development rights for Carson Valley homes could be transferred from agricultural land to the Schneider property. Dingman hoped to begin developing the property this summer.

Former planning commissioner Susan Southwick objected to changing the master plan.

“As far as I’m concerned, if this development came off, it would give me some benefits, but it strikes against the master plan that I worked so hard on,” Southwick said.

She argued there is “no pressing need” for the development because the golf course will be private, only serving the needs of 320 property owners. She added the impact to the area would cause unnecessary hardship on nearby property owners because of the additional traffic.

“It’s a high-end development. Low income housing is more of a need” in Douglas County, Southwick said.

Dingman said the development would be conducive to the area because housing would be clustered in trees to protect viewsheds.

Dingman estimates the development would generate around 3,000 vehicle trips daily through the canyon and has proposed up to $1 million to improve Clear Creek Road.

The Douglas County Commission has the final say on master plan amendments. The board will review the request in March.