Towns hear 2,900-home Park project
September 9, 2016
The prospect of doubling the size of their community without having a clearer picture about what was going to be there prompted Minden Town Board members to vote against a proposal on Wednesday to put 2,900 homes on Park Cattle land north of town.
On Tuesday, the Gardnerville Town Board voted 5-0 to recommend the project to county commissioners.
According to planning consultant Keith Ruben of R.O. Anderson Engineering, the proposal includes completion of two lanes of Muller Lane Parkway from Winhaven where it ends now to Toler Lane in Gardnerville. That includes a portion of the right of way that was lost with the elimination of a subdivision next to Stodick Park.
The master plan amendment and zone change proposed by Park Ranch Holdings would also eliminate receiving area on the Sleeping Elephant Ranch across Highway 208 from Topaz Ranch Estates.
Rob Anderson said developing that project would increase traffic through Minden and Gardnerville as new residents commuted to work.
The request affects 25 parcels covering 1,104 acres west of the Old Virginia Canal and north to Stockyard Road.
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Ruben said the Parks weren't including a specific plan with the proposal due to the expense.
This is the second proposal for this property, which the Parks acquired in 1995 as part of the sale of the Slash Bar H Ranch, formerly owned by the Dangberg family.
Ruben said that the applicant was willing to place an upper limit on the number of homes in the project, half of which would require the transfer of development rights from other property.
The mix as proposed would include 5 percent multi-family, 10 percent affordable housing and 10 percent reserved for people age 55 or older.
The proposal would also be subject to the Douglas County Growth Ordinance which caps the number of building permits that can be issued in a year.
More than half the proposed development would go to Minden, with 1,628 of the 2,900 units, which could double the population of the Douglas county seat by estimated build-out in the year 2061.
Ruben said Muller Parkway would be completed to Toler before a single house was constructed, helping to reduce the traffic at the intersection of Buckeye Road and Highway 395.
Carson Valley resident David Maxwell said he was concerned about the impacts on schools, law enforcement, and traffic on Highway 395.
"It already has both lanes of traffic full in both directions," he said. "Please take the time to let this settle in and make an intelligent decision."
Maxwell said he attended the Gardnerville meeting, and no one from the public spoke during that discussion.
"The vast majority of residents want to limit development on ag land," Valley resident Jim Slade said.
Winhaven resident Bob Pohlman expressed concern about how drainage from the project will affect his neighborhood.
Board member Bill Souligny said he didn't believe the Parks were giving anything up by eliminating receiving area from the south county land.
"That 750 acres in TRE is not going to get built," he said. "There's no infrastructure there. We don't need additional commercial space and we have a lot of buildable properties right now without the help of this project. I don't think we need a large development to double the size of Minden to improve the quality of life for current residents."
Board Chairman John Stephans agreed he needed more specifics.
"Look at what we have," he said. "I really don't see how we'll handle all this infrastructure. I'm not voting to be the bank for anybody, anymore."
The next step for the project is to go before the Douglas County Planning Commission, which meets 1 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month, which will fall on Oct. 11. At least five of seven planning commissioners must vote in favor of the master plan amendment for the project to receive their recommendation. Final approval of the project will require a first and second reading by Douglas County commissioners. A simple majority of that board is all that's required.
County commissioners voted 4-1 in November 2008 to deny a master plan request on the same property that would add 4,500 homes on 1,200 acres over the course of four decades.
County commissioners Doug Johnson and Nancy McDermid, who will hear this request, both voted against the previous project. Also voting no were commissioners Dave Brady and Jim Baushke. Kelly Kite was the lone vote in favor of the project.