Public input is sought on redevelopment
The Carson Valley areas of Indian Hills/Jacks Valley, Little Mondeaux and Walley’s Hot Springs share a common bond – all are developing areas likely to qualify under state guidelines as blight zones.
Because they contain insufficient sewer and water lines, few sidewalks and paved streets and have drainage problems, they constitute the Douglas County Redevelopment Agency’s Evaluation Area 1.
The evaluation is to be accomplished by a seven-member panel appointed to help determine the extent of improvements needed, listen to public sentiment and make recommendations to the county commissioners, which sits as the county’s redevelopment agency.
The panel, called the Redevelopment Citizens Advisory Committee (RCAP), met for the first time Tuesday. After electing Genoans Tony Prestigiacomo and Roger Falcke chairman and vice chairman, the group pondered how to use redevelopment as a means of addressing infrastructure problems and spurring new development and investment in the county.
The driving force, according to John Doughty, the county’s planning and economic development manager, is to take a regional approach to sewer and water issues.
For example, he said, Walley’s Hot Springs has approvals for 150 timeshares. To handle the sewage, the developer plans to put in a small package water treatment plant.
“That’s not necessarily what we’d like to see (more of) around the county,” Doughty said. “We’d like to see connections to a community sewer system.”
A similar situation exists at the Sierra Nevada Project at Little Mondeaux, where Doughty said the developer could have as many as 200 single-dwelling septic systems or hook up to the Indian Hills General Improvement District. The catch is that Indian Hills is already close to capacity.
In the eastern Jacks Valley area, Doughty said, the concerns center around drainage, street paving and access, and a small water system, Sierra Estates GID, which serves about 70 homes and may not maintain sufficient water pressure year-round for fire suppression.
Immediately to the south, surrounded by the larger Indian Hills GID, is the Ridgeview water system, which County Manager Dan Holler characterized Tuesday as having a marginal sewer plant which county taxpayers were already subsidizing.
With only about half its residents on a sewer system and one of its two wells showing nitrate contamination, the county-operated Ridgeview system is a critical area, Doughty said.
“The (Silver City) RV park and Sunridge Golf Course and casino (owners) have written letters asking to be included in the evaluation area,” Doughty said.
Any county improvements identified as redevelopment could be paid for by low-interest federal or state bonds issued against future increases in revenue – from sewer and water hookup fees and increasing property values, which generate more tax liability among property owners.
It is, Doughty said, a hybrid financing source which would solve a number of problems at the least cost to taxpayers.
“Private development is paying into this already with no guarantee of return,” he said. “(They’re) doing base engineering work to determine whether it’s fiscally feasible.”
Time is of the essence, Doughty said.
In order to fund the studies required by state law and any improvements themselves, the redevelopment program should be up and running with a project identified and adopted by May of this year.
The way the tax structure is set up, Doughty said, taxes on the two new golf courses scheduled to open this spring, Little Mondeaux and Sunridge, will go up. If the redevelopment agency has adopted the project area by June 30, a portion of those tax increases would be assigned to redevelopment.
If the project area is not adopted by that time, the agency would lose its share of that additional money.
“Everyone maintains the same tax level they have now,” Doughty said. “It’s any increase in appreciated tax value the agency gets a part of.”
The Redevelopment Citizens Advisory Committee meets next Tuesday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m. in the commissioners chambers of Douglas County Administrative Building 1616 8th St. in Minden. The meetings are open to the public.
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