Where will the water for north county come from?
March 22, 2007
When the Douglas County Redevelopment Agency approved $24.7 million for Jay Timon’s 30,000-square-foot building, did they consider whether there is enough water and water rights to serve the north Douglas County redevelopment plans? Is there enough water and water rights to serve the mythical 600,000 square-foot shopping center or Michael Hohl’s 50 to 60 acre auto mall? Three of our commissioners (Johnson, Kite, and Baushke), concurrently serving as board members of Douglas County, Douglas County Redevelopment Agency, and the Carson Water Subconservancy District, should have been well-versed in the availability of water and water rights for the redevelopment plans when they approved the $24.7 million owner’s participation agreement.
There is a definite water rights obstacle standing in the path of developing north Douglas County that as board members of the Carson Water Subconservancy District, they would have been acutely aware of (and which was not mentioned at all at the redevelopment agency’s Dec. 21, 2006, meeting approving the $24.7 million commitment.)
The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s protest of all transfers of water rights within Douglas County, which began in mid-2006, is currently the central obstacle in this path. According to Douglas County’s Oct. 26, 2000, detailed water system hydraulic analysis for north Douglas County, the planned commercial development on the east side of Highway 395 at Topsy Lane will require 92 acre feet of water and water rights.
Currently, the two county-owned wells in north Douglas County (serving both the current west and future east side redevelopment areas) have permitted duty (water rights) of 239 acre feet per year. Pumpage out of these wells in 2006 was 67 acre feet. That leaves 172 acre feet for the east side commercial plans. But wait. Apparently, in an unwritten, verbal gentleman’s agreement between the county and a favored developer, 120 of these 172 acre feet belong to the favored developer for his future development plans in north Douglas County.
That only leaves 52 acre feet of water rights for the redevelopment project, which is enough to build a 30,000 square foot building but not enough for a 600,000-square- foot shopping center or 50-60 acre auto mall. A circumstance when I would be unwilling to commit $24.7 million would be when it was evident that the Paiutes were protesting water right transfers that I needed for my development; but we find instead it was exactly one week after the news story of the Indian protests were reported in the local newspapers and Channel 4 news, that Dan Holler brought forward this ridiculous $24.7 million owner’s participation agreement, and four of our commissioners approved it without any mention of water rights protests. How was the timing of this decision in the public interest?
Apparently, the county has another secret, verbal, unwritten gentleman’s agreement with the same favored developer to “bank” 200 acre feet of water rights on the County’s Wally’s Hot Springs Well No. 2 for his future Clear Creek development.
Recommended Stories For You
This pattern of secret agreements between this favored developer and the county reminds me of the accusations by Deputy Attorney General Dianna Hegeduis in the 1999 transcript of Maxwell (State Labor Commissioner) versus Douglas County Redevelopment Agency (Case No. 99-CV-0184) where Ms. Hegeduis accused Douglas County Redevelopment Agency of rewriting its first owner’s participation agreement to take out and delete any mention of infrastructure the county was building for this favored developer’s Target/Home Depot shopping center to protect him from paying prevailing wage on his development.
Are there any secret, unwritten, verbal agreements with Jay Timon that Dan Holler or the Douglas County Redevelopment Agency commissioners are withholding from the public that would explain why they approved spending $24.7 million at a time when water rights transfers are being challenged by the Indians?
Go to http://www.gggdc.com to view the 1998 owner’s participation agreement with the favored developer and transcript of the 1999 Case Number 99-CV-0184 Maxwell v. Douglas County Redevelopment Agency.
— Jeanne Shizuru is a Gardnerville resident.