Letters for May 16
Too much multi-family approved
The feeling that some of us have that a majority of our Board of County Commissioners no longer serves the interests of Douglas County voters was confirmed with their May 2 approval of a rezoning for a housing project on Pinenut Road in Gardnerville.
The Laguna Niguel-based developer, who claimed he would build 178 manufactured homes intended for seniors, on the 12.84 acre parcel, provided his request for a zoning change, from Agricultural to Multi-Family Residential, was granted. But the project is not deed-restricted for seniors or density.
MFR zoning means he could build as many as 16 units per acre, as could any speculator who might buy this parcel to build profitable high density units.
Objections to this project (brought up at the March Planning Commission meeting and repeated at the May Board of County Commissioners meeting) were that 1,000 MFR units have already been approved in the county, and that there’s simply no need for more.
The Pinenut project would mean more traffic congestion at the already bottlenecked 395/Riverview and 395/Waterloo intersections. County staff pointed out that the Muller Parkway extension would alleviate that problem, but the Parkway lies well into the future; nor was the developer asked to help pay for it.
Commissioner Engels was concerned enough to testify, at the March Planning Commission, that of the nine Gardnerville water wells, only four are fully functional, questioning the wisdom of more demand on the rickety county water system and covering up more arable land with homes and paving that would reduce aquifer recharge. Speaking of water, the water rights on the subject parcel had been sold off, which gave the commissioners the excuse to declare that the land was no longer agricultural, but “just a weed patch.”
Planning Commissioner Dave Akola appeared before the Board to explain that in casting his very first vote on the Commission he had mistakenly voted for this project.
Akola explained that he should have voted no because the requested waiver to rezone agricultural land to multi-family residential, citing Title 20.608.040, requires that such a project be consistent with the Master Plan’s prerequisite to preserve the rural nature of Douglas County.
However Commission Chairman Penzel cut him off before he could finish his report.
Commissioners Penzel and Walsh have gone back on many of their campaign promises, like their stated preference for infill projects over sprawl. Regarding the Pinenut project, Commissioners Penzel, Walsh, and Rice cheerfully admitted they had met privately with the developer. Predictably, they voted to approve the project. Commissioners Nelson and Engels voted no. It’s unfortunate that three Commissioners are arrogantly making Douglas County into Carson City south.
We voters have reason to believe that when it comes to developers looking for waivers, the fix is in.
On the verge of homelessness
I am writing so maybe it will be brought to the attention of the community the problem of shortage of affordable apartments for senior citizens or handicapped people on a fixed income.
I was given a 30-day notice today by the new owner of my duplex. She had raised my rent $525.
I live on Section 8 I have been making phone call after phone call on the waiting list everywhere is 12 months to two years. I have called all over Carson, Gardnerville and Minden with no luck so in that being said in 30 days I have nowhere to go. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would become homeless at 56 years old. I have nowhere to go. I looked in your paper and there is nothing available. The Chamber of Commerce and the governor need to address the shortage of housing. I honestly do not know what I will do.
Hitting repeat on the developmental ploy
Regarding your May 9 editorial defending the property rights of landowners who want to develop their property — a couple of things were omitted.
What can be seen at county commissioner meetings are objections to freely granting waivers from agricultural to residential and too often, multifamily residential, thus allowing applicants to evade the Transferable Development Rights Program that was designed to provide incentives for farmers and ranchers to preserve the rural nature of Douglas County.
In the case of the Stoneridge Pinenut Road project just approved, an out-of-town developer makes promises about what he will build that cannot be enforced; and the landowner is rewarded for selling off the water rights that make the agricultural use of the land impractical.
We’ve seen this type of ploy performed too many times. Over the years, the residents of Douglas County have repeatedly indicated they wish to remain largely an agricultural culture.
Still time to protest well metering
If you check the NELIS website, http://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/80th2019, you will see that AB95, authorizing the unelected, politically appointed state engineer to force you to put meters on your wells at your expense and restrict your water usage by 75 percent, has already been approved by the State Assembly.
It was then passed out of the State Senate committee. There are no more hearings on AB95.
The state senators have not yet voted on it, but will no later than May 24 unless the majority leader does not send it to the entire Senate.
In other words, you have very little time left to provide any input to 21 state senators on AB95 by email or phone.
The email addresses and phone numbers of all the state senators (you have to click on each senator bio individually) are shown on http://www.leg.state.nv.us/senate/senators.html.
Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro can be reached at 775-684-1475 and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to convince her not to send this terrible bill to the entire State Senate.