Planning commission OKs Jacks Valley development |

Planning commission OKs Jacks Valley development

Staff reports

Douglas County planners have recommended approval for a 59-home development above Jacks Valley Road near the Sierra Nevada Golf Ranch.

The planning commission OK’d the project 3-2 Tuesday. Developer Ron Simek wants to cluster 59 home sites on nearly 300 acres in a gated community. More than 77 percent of the land – 227 acres – would stay open.

Though the planning commissioners agreed the project would be nice, they differed over several issues, including allowing septic tanks instead of a sewer system, who would monitor the open space and public access to the forest land above the project.

Planning Commission Chairwoman Ame Hellman, who is also The Nature Conservancy’s special projects director for Nevada, voted against the project. She was unhappy that the project doesn’t include public access to the forest land west of it and also said there weren’t enough details on how the open space would be monitored and maintained.

“If this item was continued and the issues were better explained, I would be more comfortable,” she said.

“What unusual, redeeming feature is there for the county?” asked Valida McMichael, who cast the other dissenting vote.

“I think it’s unfair for me to vote on this with all the last-minute changes, but I know the realities of life,” said planning commissioner Jay Lather, who voted for the project with Devere Dressler and Rick Gardner.

The county commission will have the final say on the project.

The project hearing occurred just before a separate hearing on conservation easement language the planners are considering. Conservation easements are intended to permanently restrict development on environmentally sensitive and open land by paying the landowner not to develop.

The planning board has been working on a grant deed that could be used for conservation easements around the county.