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Ranchos board will survey residents about open space

by Merrie Leininger, staff reports

The Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District board of trustees made a move Wednesday night that will jump start action toward a plan they have talked about for years.

The board voted to follow through with a plan created by Lumos and Associates Planning Director Carol Dotson to gather information from the public about what they want done with the open spaces – or greenbelts – in the GID.

Earlier this year, the board decided making a master plan for the greenbelts was on the top of a short list of action items.

Dotson explained her plan set out various steps to ensure every Ranchos resident who wanted to have a say in the matter would. First, a survey will be sent out asking people what they would like to see done with the 22 acres on Mitch Drive and a strip of land near Long Valley Road.

Soon, the Ranchos Volunteer Fire Station will be on the 22 acres, but so far, that is the only thing planned for the area.

The second step would be to compile the survey results while taking a look at previous information gathered about the open spaces, infrastructure in place and cost analysis information.

That information would be necessary to answer questions during the third phase of the process – town meetings in which the public would be invited to hear the survey results and again voice their opinions. If all goes as planned, those meetings could be held in mid-October, Dotson said.

Board Chairperson Beverly Page said that 22 acres was supposed to be master planned by the county. However, Dotson said she checked on the status of that with Douglas County Community Development and discovered it hasn’t been done yet.

“I think it is appropriate to involve them in the process and have them spend staff and production time, too, then,” Town Engineer Paul Lumos said.

Board member Dennis Le Drew said he was surprised to hear the report from Dotson. He said at the last meeting, the board asked for meeting dates in order to discuss moving forward with the planning and did not ask for Lumos and Associates to draw up a plan. He said that was moving too quickly and the board should have estimates on how much the process of surveys and town meetings would cost.

“This is nothing new. It is just finally getting the board to say what we want to do,” said board member Dewey Jay, who has been a big proponent of developing the open spaces.

Board members Al Wagner and Beverly Page said they would like to see the open spaces developed one at a time, but Dotson said it is more cost-effective to plan for both at the same time, although the plans don’t have to be carried out together.

Board member Roger Paul said he thought the plan was excellent.

“I really do think we should approach this in a systematic fashion. If we start doing this by parcels, it is going to confuse community members to the scope of the enterprise. If we do it all, they will have a better idea of the costs and complexities,” he said.

Paul made a motion to accept the plan and move forward with a request of costs at the next meeting, and Jay seconded it.

n Speed limits. The board agreed to take another look at a plan that was complied a few years ago regarding the most effective way to slow down drivers. The decision came about after yet another request from a resident for a slower speed limit. The board regularly entertains requests for stop signs or lower speed limits. However, the board does not want to start a precedent of lowering the speed limit all over the Ranchos, Page said.

The board agreed the speed trailer that broadcasts the speed of passing vehicles is effective. GID Manager Bob Spellberg suggested looking at buying the $2,000 mechanism that records the speed of every passing car. Page also suggested that residents concerned over speeders should call the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office every single time they see a speeder.