Dec. 12 Letters to the Editor
Carson Valley robbed of its innocence
Dec. 3 marked a very sad day in Carson Valley history. Commissioners Penzel, Walsh, and Rice voted in favor of transferring 1,044 acres of receiving area owned by Park Ranch Holdings from the Topaz Ranch Estates to 1,120 acres (including 76 acres deeded for Muller Parkway) of receiving area owned by Park Ranch Holdings on now-former agricultural land in Minden and Gardnerville.
Eighty-seven out of 89 people in a lengthy hearing that lasted nearly 11 hours tried to convince those three County Commissioners that the Park proposal was not in the best interest of Douglas County. This included testimony from GRGID Environmental Engineer John Sheridan, who gave factual testimony outlining the discouraging effects this project would likely have on water resources in the outlying areas of the Gardnerville Ranchos and East Valley. Others pointed out how this proposal failed to meet several of the required findings under DCC 20.400.040. There were also concerns about the need for additional fire, police force, etc., and the added strain this proposal would have on our already-fragile infrastructure. And, with nearly 4,000 units on the books that have yet to be built, is the addition of 2,500 more homes a necessity? And then tying up this receiving area from any possible changes for future commissioners to make for 30 years. How prudent is that?
Regardless, our testimony failed to make these commissioners budge. And, both the amendment to the Master Plan and the Park proposal to build 2500 homes on 1,044 acres passed.
Perhaps our testimonies were inaccurate, and a two-lane Muller Parkway expansion with six roundabouts will serve as an adequate bypass around the towns of Minden and Gardnerville, reducing traffic on the 395. Yes, we need four lanes. But, a build grant totaling $25 million is speculative at best. Perhaps removing the buffer zone between Muller Parkway and the rural residents of Orchard Lane will have no adverse effect on the quality of their living environment or property values. And, perhaps the approval of 2,500 homes as suburban sprawl will have no effect on the heart and soul of the Carson Valley.
Yet, I beg to differ. We have all witnessed events in our lives that have shattered our innocence and given us a direct taste of how harsh the world can be. Approval of the Park proposal by Commissioners Penzel, Walsh and Rice was such an event for the Carson Valley. The Carson Valley was robbed of its innocence by the decision. It’s rural character and “heart,” that has made this community a beacon of light in Nevada, will never be the same. Its golden light has been dimmed forever. Carson Valley now joins the ranks of other larger communities as a “suburban community.” Sure, it will take years for this development to build out. Yet, the plan is in place for this change to occur, which will change the rural flavor and ambiance of our Valley and Community from this day forward
Muller Parkway needed now
I am a Ranchos resident. I am in favor of the Park agreement because we need Muller Parkway and I am not worried about the 2,500 home CAP because Douglas County is on a very prolonged slow growth path regardless of the number of building lots available.
The Park/Muller Parkway agreement of 2005 and 2007 is in pending legal action. Park never recorded the amended right of way and Douglas County never constructed the Muller Parkway within seven years as stipulated in the original agreement. This pending legal action could take many, many years to resolve — not simple. We need the new agreement now proposed.
Slow growth is working much better than the 2007 Growth Management Ordinance stipulated. From 2008 through 2019 only 1,510 building permits have been issued versus the allowable 4,335 or only 35%. Thus the 2% growth in building permits allowed has only actually been 0.7%. Population growth since 2014 has only been 1.06%. School enrollment is declining. The slow growth advocates should be very happy. The last seven years has even seen the best economic times, low unemployment and low interest rates. There is no market now or in future for a housing boom for many reasons including Douglas County real estate is the highest in the state and few new good paying jobs.
Another example of no housing demand is the Virginia Ranch project. The property is for sale for several years for $30 million for the approved 1,020 buildable lots. But there are no big developers like Lennar or other builders buying the project despite an incredible low lot price of $29,411.
The traffic study done by the Douglas County consultant concluded that the Muller Parkway will provide a bypass for cars and traffic on U.S. 395 would improve. Think about the fact that Muller Parkway will provide a route for residents north and east of U.S. 395 to reach the main retail centers of Walmart, Raleys and Smiths without going onto U.S. 395. Muller makes sense, we need it now. I currently use the existing, developer funded, south end of Muller when leaving Walmart to get to Riverview Drive and the Ranchos without going onto the 50 mph U.S. 395 traffic.
We need the Muller right of way now to apply for the federal BUILD grant. Maybe then all five county commissioners and the county manager can work together to make Muller happen. The Park development agreement is a compromise but it is the best deal at the current time to get Muller built soon.
Outside the radiance of truth
Those of us opposing Trump see the world through different filters from the propaganda talking points John presented. My reasons for opposing Trump include: His disrespect for women; his willingness to disparage and demean anyone who doesn’t fawn over him; threatening and vilifying women who oppose him to the point of putting their lives at risk; lying so often it’s impossible to believe anything he says; embracing debunked conspiracy theories including issues around Ukraine, Biden and Russia.
I also don’t like the direction he is taking the country. Under Trump’s administration corporations are now freer to pollute our water and air. It’s easier for banks and investment firms to cheat us. Immigrants seeking refuge are treated as criminals and treated without compassion. Children are traumatized with impunity and no effort is/was in place to protect them from permanent separation from their parents.
I could go on but it becomes difficult to respond to John’s comments without becoming angry at the complicity of Republican leaders enabling what I see as an abuse of power. I don’t understand their silence in face of Russian interference in our elections and the Senate’s obstruction in protecting our elections.
As to his statement about fake impeachment I can only postulate this is a belief he holds that falls outside the radiance of truth. All one has to do is read the Muller report to see how this president obstructed investigations; or read the notes Trump released on the July phone call to understand why so many in Trump’s administration considered his actions illegal.
And lastly, not supporting Trump means socialism is the alternative? Really? Are you suggesting the Republican Party has no one with the integrity and values that once were held by the Grand Old Party?