Not only project in pipeline | RecordCourier.com

Not only project in pipeline

Just as the rain causes weeds to sprout, residents across Douglas County are finding out the improved economy has prompted long-dormant developments to sprout.

A project that has been waiting in the wings for the past 12 years drew a crowd of protesters to the Douglas County Planning Commission on Tuesday.

Developers of the 353-home Ranchos Sierra project southwest of the Gardnerville Ranchos are seeking seven variances from county requirements for the 80-acre project.

Denying the variances might slow down Ranchos Sierra, but those approvals are in place now.

A master plan amendment and zoning map was approved for the property in 2006, just before the arrival of the Great Recession.

Last year, Commissioner Larry Walsh pointed out that if all the existing receiving areas were built out, the county's population could reach 94,744. Walsh pointed out that exceeds the current population projection of 70,376 by 2040.

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According to the Community Development Department, there are 6,200 acres of land available, of which 2,737 acres do not have approved development plans.

That number includes the 80 acres of the Ranchos Sierra project.

Less than a quarter of the total 3,926 dwelling units that could be built due to receiving area have been constructed.

With a potential of up to 16 units per acre, receiving areas are the highest density possible in the county.

There is so much undeveloped receiving area in the county that planning staff recommended denial of new proposals in the last round of master plan amendments.

But we fear residents across the Valley may still be surprised when those projects start to come forward.