Maybe time to fix the latch on the master plan barn door |

Maybe time to fix the latch on the master plan barn door

The Record-Courier Editorial Board

While it has been likened to the Constitution, the Douglas County master plan is nothing of the sort.

Even the Constitution is subject to amendment, of course, though with requirements for a two-thirds approval in both the House and Senate and ratification by three-quarters of the states, that’s a job of work.

In comparison, the master plan only requires a simple majority of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners to amend.

That’s what happened last year with the transfer of 1,044 acres of receiving area from the South County, where it was unlikely to be used, to Carson Valley. On Tuesday, planning commissioners heard discussion of a specific plan for that property. We suspect that specific plan will turn up on county commissioners’ Dec. 17 agenda.

The majority of the county commission, made up by Barry Penzel, Larry Walsh and Wes Rice, have pressed to bring the master plan to a vote before Penzel and Walsh are off the board.

On Wednesday, county commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the master plan update after just one session where they added a few elements to the plan.

Both members of the commission keeping their seats voted to approve the plan.

The question for the three new commissioners taking their seats in January is whether they want to make the master plan more difficult to amend. 

The planning commission requires a supermajority of five members to change the plan. A similar requirement requiring four county commissioners to vote for an amendment was struck down by the Nevada Supreme Court. 

It might just be time to try enacting that rule again now that the Legislature has granted the counties some modified home rule. 

That might seem like closing the barn door after the horses have fled, but there will be more horses in the future and it might be time to fix the latch on that door.