Get facts straight
August 5, 2002
Barry Penzel, speaking on behalf of the Master Plan Preservation Committee, made some assertions to the business community, that are not factually correct. In his presentation before members of the Northern Nevada Development Authority at a breakfast meeting at Carson Valley Inn on July 31, he stated, in substance, the following:
1. Mr. Penzel said the Master Plan is working, don’t throw it out. The truth is that the growth management portion is not working since it has never been enacted. Ask your commissioners why they haven’t taken steps to control growth. Besides, the Sustainable Growth Initiative doesn’t invade what the Master Plan has already done nor does it deal with the particulars of zoning or land use planning.
2. Mr. Penzel said that if this initiative becomes law, county revenues will go down and your property taxes will go up. The truth is the opposite: Studies have shown that for every dollar of new revenue brought in by new residential growth, the county’s cost of servicing it is greater so taxpayers have to subsidize it by increased property taxes. Mr. Penzel’s statement doesn’t recognize that the county should therefore spend less on such services.
3. Mr. Penzel said we shouldn’t be concerned about water, we’re using less than we were before. The truth is that he has ignored the last two years’ figures which show that ground water pumpage has increased here in the Carson Valley by 20 percent a year and we are within 20 percent of our state-allowed limit of 35,000 acre-feet for all users. Figure it out.
4. Mr. Penzel said that if the initiative passes, people can’t move here. The truth is that the initiative doesn’t stop residential growth, it just applies a speed brake to slow it down so that we can preserve our quality of life, control our taxes to some extent and help preserve our fiscal and natural resources, particularly water.
5. Mr. Penzel said that the Sustainable Growth Initiative doesn’t address “people” issues. The truth is that this initiative is all about the people in this Valley and their feeling of disillusionment about the political establishment favoring the big-moneyed interest of development.
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Finally, all of us should be concerned about the lawsuit filed by Nevada Northwest to stop this initiative from going on the ballot, depriving the people of their right to vote on this important issue on Nov. 5.
John H. Garvin, Co-chair
Sustainable Growth Initiative Committee