Master plan is a guideline
The master plan is not the Bible, nor is it the law, it is a guideline on which Douglas County bases its decisions about the future. It contains policies and goals for county growth. Those policies and goals are implemented by county code. In chapter 2 of the master plan under population, a growth rate of 2-3.5 percent a year is suggested as a means to allow the county to keep up with services. To put things in perspective we are presently experiencing 4.8 percent increase each year.
The county can’t put up barriers at the border and stop people from moving here. The only means the government has to control growth is to parcel out building permits. Rather than do this by implementing an ordinance to impose the suggested growth rate, county leaders at the time decided to let the marketplace determine the county’s growth.
In 2002, a group of residents gathered to try and force the issue with the Sustainable Growth Initiative. Instead of choosing a percentage, they used a number that was the equivalent of 2 percent of the county’s population listed in the 2000 Census.
The initiative isn’t an ordinance. It is a policy that requires the county to write an ordinance to implement the growth control.
The battle over the initiative will continue until the money runs out and one side or the other surrenders.
But the initiative raises another question, do the residents of Douglas County have the right to manage growth?
Certainly, the Supreme Court’s majority opinion seems to indicate they do. If that is the case, than it is better for the county, the builders, Realtors and residents to work together and find a resolution we all can live with.