What’s great about a supermajority?
December 12, 2006
On Tuesday, Douglas County planning commissioners met to discuss the 10-year update of the master plan. In order to approve the update, at least five of the seven planning commissioners must vote for it. That’s called a supermajority and is required of the planning commission to approve any master plan amendment.
There was a time when the same was true of the Douglas County Commission, as well. The idea being that a supermajority should be required before something so drastic as amending the master plan should occur.
The only problem is that it was illegal.
The Nevada Supreme Court threw out the county ordinance that required a supermajority of county commissioners to approve a master plan amendment in the 2000 case of Falcke v. Douglas County.
That left the planning commission’s super-majority rule intact, but any amendment dealt with by the advisory body could be approved by a simple majority of commissioners.
The Nov. 14 vote over the Valley Bar is a clear example of why the rule doesn’t work.
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Because the number of planning commissioners present varied from one item to the next, so did the supermajority. That’s why in some cases four votes on the planning commission meant success and in others it meant failure.
And those successes or failures were meaningless when the items came up before county commissioners.
We believe the county code should be rewritten to remove the supermajority at the planning commission.