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Planning commission continues master plan edit

Agriculture and open space are two things most residents say they want to preserve in Douglas County.
Kurt Hildebrand

There’s at least three more meetings on the Douglas County master plan update before planning commissioners are ready to pass it on to the county commission.

They are scheduled to get back to work 1 p.m. Wednesday to tackle the text included in the 250-page Douglas County Master Plan.

A proposal to include the word “agrihood” in the Douglas County master plan was edited out of the draft by planning commissioners.

While the plan would continue to “support and encourage developments that include a commitment to farmland and open space preservation,” how that occurs will be left to the future.

The agricultural and conservation element was one of the more popular portions of the plan worked on by planning commissioners during their 14-hour slog Oct. 20-21.

Planning commissioners also added a policy encouraging the protection of wild horses while “ensuring the safety of citizens and their property.”

While the master plan is chock full of goals, one of the goals of the update of the 2011 plan is to streamline it.

Most of the past two meetings were spent scrolling through the plan and highlighting issues planning commissioners, staff members and the public brought up with the plan.

Senior Planner Sam Booth worked the computer, editing language as planning commissioners discussed what it means.

The first goal of the growth management and housing element was altered to remove the concept of accommodating residential growth to a level required by businesses to survive.

After the edit, the goal now says “To keep growth in Douglas County to a sustainable level that natural and fiscal resources can support.”

The third goal of the element, which sought to reduce the shortage of workforce housing, was softened to “increase awareness of the affordable housing needs in Douglas County and increase the diversity of homeownership opportunities available.”

Not all the discussions focused on growth, though that is one of the reasons the master plan has been such a political issue.

Planning commissioners agreed that Douglas County should implement a historic district that includes the towns of Minden and Gardnerville.

There have been several controversies in Gardnerville regarding removing some of the town’s older commercial structure.

Genoa is the only historic district in the county, formed in 1974 to protect the historic character of its business district.

Counties and cities may form historic districts under Nevada law.

However, Planning Commissioner Maureen Casey called out a home built near Minden Park as an example of why the county needs to have a historic district.

“There should be some reinforcing language that ensures homes being built in old Minden stay in the genre as opposed to a single-family home being rebuilt in a style not befitting the historic district,” she said.

Planning commissioners didn’t decide to alter the policy that considers issues of community character, environmental impact, resident security and safety, aesthetics and efficient service delivery.