Concerned with master plan response |

Concerned with master plan response

by Margaret Pross

I am very concerned by the many disparaging, inaccurate and unfair comments that have been made by the county commissioners regarding the planning commission’s part in the 20-year Master Plan Update process.

At the Dec. 4, 2017, board of commissioners meeting, Commissioner Penzel stated the Planning commission went after the goals but didn’t go through all of the background information.

He said that if community development just wanted the board to comment on the goals as the planning commission did, they could’ve saved a lot of time.

Ms. Moss responded that the Planning Commission reviewed the complete document and changes were made based on their comments. They provided new issues in each element and asked for the board’s input on anything that was out of line, incorrect, irrelevant or missing.

The planning commission did their job and a very good job on the 20-year master plan update.

The planning commissioners thoroughly reviewed and discussed the 14 master plan amendment requests along with public comment, the master plan elements including all existing and newly created chapters with suggested changes at their Master Plan Workshop on June 6-7.

The planning commissioners heard 13 master plan amendment requests along with public comment, acting on each agenda item on July 18-19.

The amendments to the master plan elements including amending all existing chapters with suggested changes and newly created chapters were discussed and reviewed along with public comment.

The planning commission reviewed, discussed and heard public comment, the amendments to the master plan elements with suggested changes including amending all of the existing chapters along with the newly created chapters with all revisions at its Sept. 12 master plan workshop meeting.

At the Oct. 10 planning commission workshop, following a presentation by staff including suggested changes to the 20-year Update to the Douglas County Master Plan, amending all existing chapters except the Transportation Element and the Washoe Tribal Lands Element; amending Volume II, adding a new Public Safety Element and the reorganization of elements, the Planning Commissioners took public comment, deliberated and voted on each Chapter including any changes that needed to be incorporated.

They then voted on the 20-year master plan update resolution which incorporated the previous votes on Volume 1 and Volume II.

The Planning Commissioners read a total of 963 responses to the survey results, 333 comments from the public and over 2,990 pages of Master Plan Update information.

They spent 835 hours reviewing and analyzing the data in preparation for the 20-year Master Plan Update meetings.

Including the time spent by each Commissioner during those meetings in which they gave their careful consideration to every aspect of the 20-year Master Plan Update, including public comment, that figure increases to 1,122 hours.

During their Dec. 4 meeting on the 20-year master plan update, the county commissioners complained that they did not have an opportunity to be adequately involved in the process.

However, they were notified along with the planning commission via email of all postings on the county’s website including availability of each of the elements, the dates of the four community workshops, the master plan survey responses, the master plan amendment applications and staff’s response matrix for public comments.

They felt that the public didn’t have adequate opportunities to comment on the master plan update. Had they read the 898 responses to the Survey by the public and staff’s responses to 216 of the public’s comments, they could have allayed their concerns.

On Dec. 4, Commissioner Penzel said he was concerned because the 20-year Master Plan Update would go on as approved for the next 20 years.

Nevada Revised Statutes require that the master plan must be reviewed and updated by the planning commission every five years forwarding their recommendations to the board of commissioners.

Staff may at any time during the year, submit any updates they deem necessary to the Planning Commission for their review and recommendation to the Board of Commissioners.

Douglas County Code 20.608 also allows for amending Master Plan Text and Maps during the year.

The County Commissioners considered restarting the Master Plan Update process during their Dec. 4 meeting because they felt that the format of the master plan was not appropriate despite the fact that when asked by Ms. Moss if they wanted a whole new rewrite at our joint Meeting on Feb. 9, 2017, they all replied that they did not want a whole new rewrite.

Ms. Moss also reviewed the master plan update process and everyone had an opportunity to get all their issues, concerns and questions about the process addressed at that time.

Commissioner Penzel was concerned that their board has two new commissioners unfamiliar with the master plan update process.

Due to their inability to act, we now have three new planning commissioners who are unfamiliar with the process.

The planning commission will have to review the entire update so that these new commissioners can take part in the process when or if the board of commissioners sends it back to the planning commission.

The planning commissioners did a great job on this 20-year master plan update process.

I know that because I was the chair of the planning commission for 2016 and 2017.

In all, I was a planning commissioner for the past 12 years and chair of the planning commissioner for six of those 12 years. I could tell from their involvement in our meetings, their interest in public comment, their questions, concerns and responses that they had done their homework, understood the process and were 100 percent committed to the task at hand.

I am very proud of the planning commissioners and the community development staff. Everyone went the extra mile.

Margaret Pross is a Gardnerville resident and longtime member of the Douglas County Planning Commission.