Residents rally to stop master plan changes |

Residents rally to stop master plan changes

by Jeff Munson

Residents are mobilizing to stop proposed changes to the Douglas County master plan.

A loose-knit group calling itself the Master Plan Defense Fund bought airtime on Gardnerville radio station KGVM in a last-minute effort to encourage people to attend Thursday’s county commission meeting.

“This group was formed at the last minute because no one was notified of the changes being proposed,” said Judy Sturgis of River Fork Ranch, who spearheaded the Master Plan Defense Fund.

Group members are worried changes proposed to the master plan could bring sprawl to the Carson Valley.

The radio campaign began Monday with 10 minute-long advertisements running each day through Thursday. The group of about 85 people formed after a chain of e-mails suggested residents mobilize to stop the effort, Sturgis said.

Meanwhile, the Douglas County Clerk’s office has received three inquiries regarding steps for the recall of county commissioners. Two of the inquiries were made Monday and one last week, but papers have not been filed, said county Clerk-Treasurer Barbara Reed.

Sturgis would neither confirm nor deny that the group is considering a commissioner recall.

“We’ll just have to wait and see what happens after Thursday,” she said.

In separate actions, commissioners will consider changes to the master plan that would allow a 300-unit high-end housing development and golf course in the Clear Creek Canyon area on 1,600 acres known as the Schneider Ranch in northern Douglas County. The developer is Jeff Dingman, who built Genoa Lakes.

Commissioners will also consider changes in the master plan that would allow developers to build more homes on property – known as density bonuses – in exchange for open space preservation.

Also, commissioners could decide on a provision allowing development to occur outside urban boundaries, if developers provide urban amenities such as roads and sewers.

The county maintains changes to the master plan are necessary to jump-start the county’s transfer of development rights program. TDRs are a mechanism that allow development in areas designated for growth while preserving other designated land as open space.

The county wants to encourage developers to use TDRS by offering incentives to develop elsewhere. Critics argue the proposed changes to the TDR program offers too much incentive and encourages growth.

Opponents have argued the changes have not been discussed in the county’s five-year master plan update meeting cycle, which began last month.

Master plan amendment hearings and proposed changes are considered twice a year.

For info: e-mail at

What: Douglas County Board of Commissioners meeting

When: March 1, 1 p.m.

Where: Courtroom of the Douglas County Administrative Building, 1616 Eighth Street, Minden