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Scare tactics

Mary Bennington, Gardnerville

A Lake Tahoe developer, Jeff Dingman, is asking the county to change the master plan so he can build at least 300 homes around a golf course on the Schneider Ranch, a 1,600-acre parcel located northwest of Alpine View, currently zoned as agriculture and forest and range. To do this, the master plan would have to be amended to substantially increase the housing density from one house per 19 acres. Current zoning will allow a maximum of 115 houses.

In his attempts to coerce the commissioners and the residents of our county to support his 300-home project, he has developed a plan he calls the “Alternate Project Matrix.” This plan lists all the benefits to the county if he is allowed to build 300 homes. He threatens that if he is held to current zoning, he will be forced to create a bare-bones project deleting all of these benefits, which will have an adverse effect on the environment and the neighboring community.

I’d like to point out a fallacy in his alternatives. What Mr. Dingman is failing to disclose is that even if he is granted the master plan amendment, he will not be required to provide any of the promised “benefits.” In fact, a change in the master plan would allow him to build well over 300 homes, as there are no safeguards in place to stop him.

What will set the conditions for the proposed project is the special use permit approved by the planning commission Feb. 13. This permit is for the golf course and 32,000-square-foot club house. It was approved with the exact wording Mr. Dingman provided in his application and will require him to keep his promises and provide the benefits to the county.

In a letter from the county’s senior planner dated Feb. 15, the approved conditions for the special use permit are spelled out as follows:

1. Golf course is for private use for up to 325 members.

2. Project must pass the design review process prior to building permits or site improvements.

3. Project must connect to municipal water and wastewater (sewer) and construct any improvements required to adequately serve the development.

4. Tree replacement plan to be submitted concurrently with the design review, trees to be replaced at a 2:1 ratio.

5. Roadway improvements required include:

a) Public roadway from Highway 50 to the development.

b) Contribute $1 million for improvements to Clear Creek Road.

c) Construct a paved emergency access road to Bavarian Drive.

6. Project must comply with the Nevada Division of Forestry conditions of Dec. 18, 2000.

7. Deer migration corridors shall be provided.

8. Public trails and access easements shall be provided.

9. Damage to existing county roads caused during construction will be repaired.

10. The special use permit shall be inaugurated within one year of this approval.

Mr. Dingman has until 2:30 p.m. today to appeal the specific conditions of the special use permit. He has already indicated his intention to remove the public trails and access regardless of the action taken by the county commissioners on the master plan amendment application March 1. I await with interest to see which other conditions he chooses to appeal.

His scare tactics are clearly an attempt to bully the residents of our county into supporting his project. We can only hope the county commissioners will not succumb to his bullying and uphold our master plan. In addition, let us hope that the commissioners have the fortitude to then require the developer to keep his promises and not allow any changes to his special use permit. This permit was not conditioned upon the approval of the master plan amendment application and clearly reflects the promises made by the developer to anyone who would listen.