Careful with OKing receiving area
June 13, 2017
As part of the update to the Douglas County master plan, officials conducted an online survey answered by nearly 900 people.
We think it would be fair to say that most of the respondents want to conserve the county's natural resources and scenic quality.
The county also conducted a survey of property owners by allowing them to submit master plan amendments for free.
By far the most popular request made by the dozen landowners who responded to that survey was for 1,237 acres of additional receiving area.
Unlike requests for specific land uses, receiving area is essentially a blank check. It designates those places where the county plans to grow.
Receiving areas are the pointy end of the county's transfer of development rights program, established 20 years ago to preserve agricultural and range land while keeping growth close to more urban areas.
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It was at its most active between 2002 and the start of the Great Recession in 2009. The program has preserved 3,694 acres of agricultural land, which is a good thing.
However, the program has also resulted in the construction of 3,715 units.
The 50 master plan amendments are still just proposals. County staff hasn't made any recommendation, and neither planning nor county commissioners have voted on them.
But the big question about the receiving areas is that there won't be much more detail available when they do come up for a vote.
We agree that the master plan update is a good time to review where future growth will occur. But we advise caution in the approval of significant amounts of additional receiving area in Carson Valley.