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Specific plan set for North County

by Christy Chalmers

North Douglas County residents will have a chance to comment on what should become of 624 empty acres near the Carson City line.

The land could eventually be the site of another high school, commercial or residential development. Douglas County recently commissioned a specific land use plan for the site, which includes 440 acres owned by the Bureau of Land Management and 35 belonging to the U.S Forest Service.

The agencies are interested in exchanging the property, much of which is located on the east side of Highway 395 between the Sunridge subdivision and the county line, but the county needs a land use plan first.

Douglas leaders awarded a contract April 6 to Lumos and Associates of Carson City to help prepare that plan. Pete Wysocki, a senior planner in the Douglas County Community Development Department, said the process will include two public workshops so residents can comment on what they would like to see.

“We don’t have anything set in concrete for what we want to see yet,” he said. “There’s a lot of different things that can happen.”

School district officials have talked about locating a high school on the land, while others have suggested commercial or residential uses. Wysocki said the eventual designation will probably depend on whether water and sewer service can be brought to the area, as well as road access.

The plan is the first of its kind to be undertaken in Douglas County. Though the county has a master plan full of guidelines for extending infrastructure and placing growth, the impending plan will cover one area. Wysocki described it as a “mini master plan.”

“We are not going in shooting from the hip. With this, we’ll figure out what actually works up there,” he said. “It’s a good way to establish your infrastructure right up front and then when you have developers come in, they know what is expected and you have a better chance of getting what you want as a community.”

The plan could be done by October. Wysocki said the public workshops will probably be held in May or June.

Lumos and Associates is being paid $76,250. The county has a $50,000 federal grant to help with the work and is matching the money.