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Growth debate cyclical

Debate on growth in Douglas County crops up roughly every decade, though we had a break from it around 2010 thanks to the Great Recession.

Around 2000 a previous effort to approve a tax to preserve open space and, two years later, a growth cap, went before voters.

The predecessor for the Douglas County Master Plan, was approved in 1980 after the county’s population essentially tripled.

Both periods saw a significant number of new residents, which we believe is true today, as well.

Projecting population in Douglas County is a fool’s errand. We’ve watched experts pitch numbers and miss on several occasions over the last three decades.

We have our doubts that Douglas’ population will only grow 1,061 people over the next 18 years. Our bet is that number was obsolete in 2019, but all those wagers will be resolved with the release of the 2020 Census at the end of the year.

For much of the last 156 years of its existence, residents sought ways to bring people to Douglas County.

Minden was founded within a year of Las Vegas. Both towns were built around railroads, but while Vegas grew into a transportation hub and eventually a destination, Minden remained the place where the train stopped in more ways than one.

The 1960s saw the arrival of thousands of newcomers, mostly from California, who saw something of what they remembered of America’s agrarian past in Carson Valley.

That trend continues to this day.

A majority of the new county commissioners taking the reins in January will have lived here for slightly longer than a decade combined. The most senior resident on the board, Wes Rice, moved here in 1991.

We know we live in a rare and beautiful place, and we hope that the new board of commissioners helps preserve our place as Nevada’s garden spot.