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Rancher, contractor named to planning commission

by Christy Chalmers

A lifetime Carson Valley rancher and a contractor who is marking his seventh year in Douglas County will join the planning commission Tuesday.

Devere Dressler, whose family was one of the first to ranch in the Valley, and Mark Neuffer, president of Reno-based M.C. Neuffer Co., a construction firm, were appointed Thursday by the Douglas County Commission from a field of 11 applicants.

The seven-member planning commission makes recommendations on land use and development proposals. Members serve 4-year terms that are staggered to allow steady turnover.

The five county commissioners each submitted their top three choices. Dressler and Neuffer were unanimous picks, though the commissioners noted the applicants were all qualified.

“It was a tough call,” said Commissioner Steve Weissinger. “Any one of the 11 applicants would have done an exceptional job.”

Neuffer, a Gardnerville resident, formerly served on the redevelopment advisory panel and contributed to Western Nevada Community College’s Douglas campus. He said his background in agriculture, construction and development will give him “a balanced perspective on complex planning issues.”

He said his family ranched in Montana and Wyoming, which have pressures similar to those in Douglas. Prior to moving to Gardnerville, Neuffer lived in Redmond, Wash. He said the Carson Valley’s climate and lifestyle brought him to Gardnerville.

Dressler, also a Gardnerville resident, is a member of the Douglas County Engine Co. His affiliations include the Nevada State Cattlemens Association, Bridgeport Valley Water Users Organization and the Sierra Business Council.

Both men said they hope to balance agricultural and economic needs with efforts to preserve the Valley’s agricultural and open space. That philosophy matches the informal mission that the county commission has bestowed on the planning board. Currently, the group is hosting a series of workshops to gauge residents’ opinions on the importance of open space and their interest in preserving it.

Dressler said he’s not opposed to growth and will keep individual property rights in mind as he considers planning business. He said a group of ranchers urged him to apply to the planning board.

“Maybe I can be the voice of that group,” he said. “I don’t know if I can make a difference, but I think I can help.”

Neuffer and Dressler will get their first taste of planning commission membership with Tuesday’s meeting. The agenda includes a lengthy hearing on a planned development project for Heavenly Valley’s Nevada base. Heavenly’s operators are seeking approvals that will allow development of a 132-unit multi-family residential, commercial and recreational complex.

The planning commission will meet at 1 p.m. at the old courthouse, 1616 Eighth St., Minden.