Letters to the editor for Nov. 28
Public policy not property
Re: “Fairway Fight” (R-C Nov. 23) — there is a misquote in the story that creates a major false impression. I’m quoted as saying “This is good public property.” What I said was, more than once, “this is good public policy.” Huge difference in the context of the story. The golf course isn’t “public property.” I don’t challenge a golf course owner’s right to close his course for any reason — or no reason — just see him responsible to minimally maintain it as would any residential property owner. No one unreasonably demands an owner of a closed golf course maintain the course in “playable” condition. Rather, the focus of abatement would be unkempt open spaces and structures — dry vegetation and weeds growing, ponds becoming stagnant, and buildings deteriorating — representing health, safety, and fire hazards.
There is also a misattributed quote about property values dropping by 20-30percent in the event of closure. What I said was — the Genoa Lakes golf course owners threatened homeowners that their property values would drop up to 30percent in the event of closure. That was their threat — not my prediction.
A final point. This isn’t now about Genoa Lakes homeowners v. Gartrell and his three Texan partner owners. It’s about public policy for all seven golf courses in Douglas County. We now have 383 support forms returned with 642 individual signers. A majority of the signers are from golf courses outside of Genoa Lakes — from neighbors near the Ranch course, Sunridge, Carson Valley golf course, and Clear Creek. We have made no effort to contact the neighbors at Douglas County’s two other courses, Edgewood and Glenbrook. This is about what’s good public policy for all 7 courses — not a “special pleading” for Genoa Lakes. Dozens of communities, in a variety of states, have adopted golf course closure ordinances recognizing that their existing anti-blight/nuisance ordinances were inadequate. Douglas’s Title 20 is woefully inadequate.
It has a maximum financial penalty of $150 per day with a $10,000 limit. A golf course owner would be incented to simply do nothing and “take the fine” rather than pay the cost of even minimal maintenance.
The Henderson ordinance has a more realistic $500 per day “cap.”
It’s also noteworthy, and not included in the print edition of the story, that the Douglas County Board of Commissioners Meeting Action Summary directs county staff to explore the possible creation of or amendment to the Douglas County code providing an “Operations and Maintenance Closure Plan” as required in the city of Henderson.
That direction was unanimously agreed to by all commissioners present (4-0).
Open letter to John Engels
In light of your continued explosive and unprofessional behavior, the latest attack being against a resident making public comment during the Nov. 7 meeting, it is evident that you are making a conscious decision to not follow the procedures required for all commissioners. You continue to blatantly violate numerous items in resolution No. 2017R-017, to include, but not limited to the following:
Section I: A, B, C
Section IV: A..1, A.2, A.3, A.4, A.9, A.10
B.1, B.3, B.4, B.5, B.6
D.1, D.2, D.3, D.4, D.6, D.7
H.1, H.2, H.3
Section XII: A
Your continued disrespectful and abusive behavior toward the public and other commissioners is an embarrassment to the BOCC and Douglas County as a whole, and should be considered a safety issue. The residents of Douglas County deserve to be represented by commissioners of sound mind who can uphold the norms and procedures for the position they hold. It is important to remember that you represent all of the public in Douglas County and not just the desires of the small special interest group which you are a part of. Your erratic behavior pattern has many in our community on edge, waiting for the next time you explode and wondering what your actions will be when it happens.
Because you choose to be in continued violation of the above norms and procedures, and continue deflecting blame to others instead of taking responsibility for your behavior, I, along with many others in our community, feel strongly that you should resign your position on the BOCC immediately, for the safety of the public and the other members of the BOCC, and for the best interest of Douglas County.
Kathy Jo Kidd
County should deny Park plan
The proposed Park Ranch development and the master plan amendment that would allow it are not in the public interest, which is why residents are overwhelming opposed to them. Currently, Park Ranch would only be allowed 66 homes on that property, but the development agreement would allow up to 2,500 homes, one of the largest single increases in density in county history.
It’s important to remember that nearly 4,000 new homes are already allowed to be built in approved developments, almost all of them in the Carson Valley, and half of them just in Minden and Gardnerville. The Park project is outside both the town and urban service area boundaries, and hence would be sprawl. The master plan calls for infill development first, before expanding the town or service area boundaries. The Minden-Gardnerville Plan for Prosperity clearly calls for the towns to be built out to 85 percent before expansion, and both towns are currently only built to 60-65 percent. While future expansion (20-30 years from now) might be appropriate on the Park property, it is clearly not the time now.
It’s inexplicable why any of our county commissioners would support this massive giveaway to special interests (the Parks), especially given the enormous public outcry and opposition. Some seem to think that it is worth it to get the right-of-way for Muller Parkway, the so-called bypass, but the existing agreement with Park from 2007 already assures that right-of-way without giving away 2,500 homes. The county should stick to the current agreement.
The commissioners agree that Muller Parkway will only work as a bypass if it is four lanes, yet they have never answered how they would pay for that if they don’t get awarded a $25 million federal BUILD grant, that is highly competitive and problematic. If the grant is not awarded, taxpayers would have to pay that! The County has also never answered the repeated question about the effect of the development on traffic on Hwy 395 through the towns. Park’s proposed 2,500 homes, along with the nearly 2,000 homes already ready approved but not yet built, all in Minden and Gardnerville, would add over 10,000 people to the two towns. Without doubt, this would make traffic considerably worse on Highway 395, not better, even if the so-called bypass is built.
The Park project would be contrary to the often stated desire of most of our residents to retain our rural character, and it would be a burden to existing taxpayers, not only for roads, but a new school would be required, as well as more county staff, more sheriff’s deputies, a new judicial and law enforcement center, etc. While some growth is inevitable, and even desirable, it must be in the right place at the right time. This is neither the time nor place for the Park project, and it should be denied. Concerned citizens should contact the commissioners and/or attend the Special Meeting on Tuesday at the CVIC Hall.