Plans for prosperity underwent public process
I am writing to provide a clear summary of the public process which occurred during the adoption of the Plan for Prosperity by the Towns of Minden and Gardnerville. The Plan for Prosperity designated certain areas as “future urban reserves.” This area is expected to develop by the Towns when the currently designated “receiving areas” are nearing completion. This area allows Minden and Gardnerville to grow to the north and east in areas that are readily accessible to existing utilities and with the construction of Muller Parkway, traffic infrastructure.
During the consideration of the recent Master Plan Amendments by the County Board of Commissioners some public comment seemed to intonate that the Plan for Prosperity was adopted in covert manner with limited public input. I wish to clarify the transparency of the process used to adopt the Plan for Prosperity. The Towns were very careful to present the proposed changes in a clear manner and gain consensus, as much as possible, from a wide range of stake holders.
Public notices were placed in the newspaper and additional advertisements solicited up to three citizens in each Minden and Gardnerville to become of member of a Citizens Advisory Committee. Members of this committee were appointed by the respective Town Boards and met with representatives of the Visitor’s Authority, Chamber of Commerce and the Business Council. This group met a minimum of six times with the meetings being publicly noticed.
A Stakeholder Advisory Committee was formed consisting of land owners, architects, and members of Carson Valley’s Agricultural Community. The Plan for Prosperity identified the land held by these individuals for potential future urban reserve areas. These individuals were engaged to assess their vision for the future of their properties.
A Technical Advisory Committee was also formed consisting mainly of Douglas County Community Development Department (and other County) Staff. The TAC was joined by a former County Commissioner and a local engineer with significant land development experience in Carson Valley. The purpose of this group was to provide technical guidance on County Code, planning processes, and other adopted planning documents (such as the Valley Vision, Transportation Master Plan, Wellhead Protection Plan, etc.) to the CAC and SAC.
Three well noticed public workshops were held. These workshops were professionally managed by hired consultants and asked the attendees “what type of community would you like in the future?” Options were provided on types and locations of development including residential, commercial, industrial, mixed use, public facilities, parks, open space and all types of amenities desired by the community. These workshops were highly productive and were well attended.
The Plan for Prosperity was noticed for public discussion by the Boards of Minden and Gardnerville a minimum of eight times. Some of these meetings were held jointly with the elected boards of both Minden and Gardnerville so a joint vision for the future of the Towns could be considered. These meetings were well attended and open to anyone. The Plan for Prosperity was recommended for approval by the Gardnerville Town Board on Nov. 6, 2018, and the Minden Town Board on Nov. 7, 2018.
From this point the Plan for Prosperity was scheduled for two additional public hearings. It was heard by the Douglas County Planning Commission on Nov. 13, 2018, who approved the plan 4-1 with two Commissioners absent. The final public hearing was conducted on Dec. 6, 2018, at the Board of County Commissioner’s meeting where the plan received a 5-0 approval.
The process for the development of the Plan for Prosperity was lengthy and transparent. It gained approval from four public boards or commissions. Elected and appointed officials studied the recommendations of citizens, land owners, and professionals and adopted a document they believe will provide the best future of both Minden and Gardnerville. The Towns look forward to the revision of the Douglas County Master Plan which reflects the adopted vision contained in the Plan for Prosperity. If you have not read the document it is found on website of both Towns. Prosperity, once lost, can be a difficult thing to regain. The approved Plan for Prosperity is the adopted document which in the Towns’ belief will ensure the momentum gained is not lost and that the future will remain bright for the Towns and their citizens.
Erik Nilssen is Gardnerville Town Manager