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Letter: Good judgment

EDITOR:

I would like to congratulate the county commissioners on their decision not to change major portions of our master plan text until the citizens of Douglas County are given a chance to participate in the process. Also, I find their willingness to hire a professional consultant who specializes in the transfer of development rights (TDRs) an extremely positive and forward thinking approach to this politically-charged issue.

It is my hope that they will use the same good judgment on Thursday and deny the proposed amendment that would allow a 300-plus home development and golf course on the property known as the Schneider Ranch, presently zoned agricultural, range and forest.

In September 2000, the commissioners unanimously adopted the Douglas County Open Space and Agricultural Preservation and Implementation Plan, which explicitly states, “The property adjacent to Clear Creek Road, which extends between USFS property, is prime for a federal land exchange program” and “This property is under significant development pressure and should have a high priority for preservation.”

In December 1999, Douglas County paid $17,018.75 for an appraisal of U.S. Forest Service land across from the Target Store, and has actively encouraged the Clear Creek land exchange and purchase between the Forest Service and the owners of the Schneider Ranch, thereby ensuring the present owners, Prim and Serpa, full compensation for their land.

A master plan amendment requested by developer Jeff Dingman, which converts this pristine land into homes and a golf course, can only be accomplished by a total reversal of attitude by the commissioners in a six-month period.

It is my hope that wisdom will prevail, and the commissioners will vote no on the development application, thereby honoring the intent and spirit of the existing master plan, which defends and protects the quality of life in our Valley for generations to come. In the words of John Sawhill, past president of The Nature Conservancy, “In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create, but by what we destroy.”

Judy Sturgis

Gardnerville

March 5