Say ‘no’ to variances for Rancho Sierra
May 16, 2018
My Name is Amber Minor and I have been a resident of Douglas county for 26 years. I did not move here to retire, I moved here to start my life. When I first moved here three of us lived in the apartments behind the high school, a few months later five of us rented a house on Topaz lane in the Ranchos. We all had a variety of jobs, construction, receptionist at a title company, a seasonal firefighter and a casino worker and a couple of us were volunteer firefighters. I am telling you this because not much has changed with our housing prices in Douglas county in relation to well paying jobs and services to benefit our community.
I am not in favor of the Rancho Sierra subdivision due to the fact of all the variances that are being requested by the builder, who is from Reno. I make a point to say where he is from because they are not vested in our community and our way of life. He wants to build cracker box housing, cram as many in there as possible and leave us with the mess. Our infrastructure is a mess, and is extremely stressed with the current population we have. We have ordinances and codes in place that the builders should follow. No variances. Let's talk about the part of the secondary access road the developer is requesting relief from DCC 20.690.030, "No no no." I say "no." The road from Heritage Lane to Dressler floods, has lots of washboard locations, rocks, and washed -out areas from the natural run-off. The builder is proposing an aggregate road. Again I say "no." Who is going to maintain this after he is gone? The people who purchase these homes will not use this road. They will all use Tillman to Kimmerling or drive through the Ranchos rat's maze and hit Long Valley to Dresslerville. So, 353 more homes, twice the cars per home, not including any teenagers they have, is 706 cars times two, which is to and from work is another 1,412 more vehicles leaving the Ranchos daily. These residents will not use a gravel road that, by the way, is very busy seven days a week with other traffic, trucks, motorcycles, farm equipment. You all should go drive it. You see tax revenue, the offset will not support our local services. More homes equates more needs. I understand the 2 percent growth via the master plan, but when building permits that are not used expire, they should fall off the county books as well and not be carried over concurrent. Now, we have about 1,100 permits that can be used. That means a possible influx of 1,100 more homes without updated infrastructure, then we will play catchup for the next 20 years, just like we have been doing since the last influx of homes 20 years ago.
The planning commission and the commissioners have a responsibility to preserve our way of life. Why has this builder not proposed a park in the subdivision? Ya know, leave something behind for the residents? Oh, I know why, that would hurt the developer's pocketbook. Our county needs to require builders to pay, over a period of time, to our fire district to offset calls/staffing/equipment (to date this has not been asked for) and of course our severally understaffed and underpaid sheriff's deputies.
All-risk fire department calls are up considerably, it's the same for the sheriff's office. Other towns and cities require this from builders to keep their services level with the growth. Douglas county had 11,000 traffic incidents last year, our roads are horrible, our infrastructure cannot sustain more homes at this time. You cannot have a safe community without the fundamentals of proper staffing and pay for our public service employees. They are the heart of our community, but a majority cannot afford to live here and raise their families here.
Twenty years ago this development area was not allowed, due to many of the things I have cited above. Has our sewer system been improved enough to handle the proposed influx of homes? What is the proposed retaining wall for, what is being retained, drainage? We all know that dirt out in this location drains horribly, hence all the four-bys playing in the mud. Why smaller streets? And retention ponds at the opening of the subdivision? Will these flood too? These will not be affordable houses, I am not referring to section 8 or low-income housing. I am talking about our daughter trying to make a living here and someday purchasing a home. We are a bedroom community, a retirement community, it has always been that way. The average Joe will not be able to afford what is being proposed. No to variances, no to "relief" of our code. One more thing, can I request less street lighting, so I can still view our beautiful night sky? I must go to Carson now, hopefully I will not hit any pot holes on the way.
Amber Minor is a Gardnerville Ranchos resident.