Rule change affects Klauber hearing |

Rule change affects Klauber hearing

A proposal to cluster development on the Klauber Ranch was protested by residents, who nearly were silenced by a change in county policy last week.

The owners of Park Cattle are proposing moving development rights from property located in the south county to a site next to Westwood in Minden.

The project would allow 187 homes between Westwood and the East Fork of the Carson River.

The Parks are proposing building a diversion along the river to prevent it from flooding the property.

Planning commissioners voted to recommend denial of the project, while the Minden Town Board voted 3-1 in favor.

Approving the project requires an ordinance change, which is done through two readings.

Traditionally, during the first reading, commissioners would hear the proposal from the proponents, then open public comment before debating the merits of the project. They would follow the same procedure for the second reading, going through the entire process twice.

However, Commission Chairman Barry Penzel said he asked that the county change how it approves ordinances to conform with Nevada law.

Under NRS 244.100, the commission is only required to read the ordinance’s title to the board and make a copy available to the public. Notice of filing must be published in a newspaper of record. A public hearing must be held within 35 days of the first reading.

That hearing will be March 7, which is when commissioners will hear from project proponents, the public and debate the second reading of the ordinance.

Upon hearing that the commission didn’t plan on hearing public comment, residents opposing the project protested that they’d waited three hours for the item to come up.

The agenda listed the time expected for the item to take place and indicated there would be public comment.

Susan Pansky, who is representing the Parks, said she didn’t believe it was proper to take public comment at the meeting.

However, Penzel decided to allow residents to speak on the project.

Minden resident Ray Wilson said he has seen six or seven floods since he and his wife moved to Westwood in 1981.

“Each time it flooded, it has flooded the property in question,” he said. “In 1997, the whole county was shut down for a week.”

Westwood resident Mike Silvera said he’s lived in Westwood for 30 years and has had to sandbag to keep the water at bay on a few occasions.

Westwood Park Homeowners Association President Robert Stevens said he anticipated the proposed mitigation will back up the river to the Douglas High School parking lot.

More than one resident pointed out that the original intent of the clustering ordinance was to preserve agricultural land.

The Klauber Ranch property consists of 112 acres south of Muller Lane.

It was one of the last major acquisitions by H.F. Dangberg in 1902. Dangberg had it taken from him nearly a half century earlier by Lucky Bill Thorington.

The Parks acquired the property as part of the former Dangberg Ranch in the early 1990s.

The property was among that proposed for conservation under the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act.