Ranchos project wins final approval
The big question swirling around the approval of Rancho Sierra project was a bridge located miles to the south, which is proposed as the second access.
Because the bridge has a three-ton weight limit, developers may have to build a second access to the project through the southern Ranchos.
County commissioners voted 3-2 to approve the 237-unit project on 80 acres off the end of Tillman Lane.
Commissioners Barry Penzel, Wes Rice and Larry Walsh voted in favor of the approval, with Dave Nelson and John Engels against.
The project was previously approved by the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District and the Douglas County Planning Commission.
Ranchos board member John Sheridan pointed out that the project was an improvement over the one denied in 2018.
He said he voted for the project on the Ranchos board because the developer had gone beyond what was required.
However, the Dressler Lane Bridge and traffic is a concern.
Before the final map for the second phase of the project may be submitted, developers have to figure out what to do about the bridge, which is not rated to handle East Fork fire apparatus.
At that time the applicant has to provide a separate means of access to the development via roads which could connect to Blue Rock and Long Valley.
At build-out, which isn’t expected until 2032, the intersection of Tillman and Kimmerling would decrease from level of service B to C, increasing wait times at that stop sign from 11.9 seconds to 15.5 seconds during the afternoon commute.
Ranchos resident Tim Miller spoke on behalf of four of his neighbors in opposition to the project, saying he doubted new residents would travel five miles south down Heritage Lane to Dressler Lane to reach Highway 88.
County traffic engineer Jon Erb said Douglas County owns the bridge and is responsible for its upkeep and repair.
He said state bridge officials sent him a letter asking why he had it signed for only 3 tons when it should be 7 under federal regulations.
“I replied in writing that I was going to keep it at 3 tons,” he said. “I think that’s the right thing to do. It is an old bridge.”
He said the state bridge report indicated the bridge was in satisfactory condition.
Penzel asked that the issue with the bridge be taken up by the Regional Transportation Commission.