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Schneider Ranch project on agenda

by Jeff Munson

A master plan amendment that would allow a golf course and high-end housing development in the forest above Jacks Valley will go before Douglas County planning commissioners Tuesday.

The proposed development, Clear Creek Ranch and Golf Club, would occupy what is known as the Schneider Ranch in Clear Creek Canyon. Plans call for an 18-hole golf course and up to 300 homes. The developer is Jeff Dingman, who built Genoa Lakes.

Commissioners will decide whether to recommend a special use permit to allow construction of the golf course and a 32,000 square-foot clubhouse.

Commissioners will also decide whether to support an amendment to the master plan allowing the Schneider property to become the county’s first receiving area for development rights. This mechanism allows developers to build on property with an agreement with rural property owners that their agricultural land be set aside for open space.

The Schneider property is zoned for one house per 19 acres and was on a list of properties nominated for acquisition by the federal government through a potential land swap.

Development rights for Carson Valley homes could be transferred from agricultural land to the 1,600-acre Schneider property. Dingman wants to develop about 600 acres of the property beginning this summer.

Clear Creek Canyon, which parallels old Highway 50, is a popular destination for hikers and mountain bikers. The old road emerges at Spooner Summit near the Tahoe Rim Trail and Kings Canyon Road.

Dingman said the development would be conducive to the area because housing would be clustered in trees to protect viewsheds.

“We want to implement architect guidelines to make the materials compatible to indigenous surroundings,” Dingman said. “Our whole intent is to create something that is in concert with nature.”

Some Clear Creek residents, however, have expressed concern over the use of Old Clear Creek Road, which meanders between Douglas County and Carson City through Clear Creek Canyon. The road is not maintained by Douglas County or Carson City.

Access to the proposed development is proposed via through Carson City, either by a new road connected to Highway 50 or by Clear Creek Road.

While Clear Creek residents aren’t entirely opposed to the project, some are concerned about the amount of traffic the development could draw.

Dingman estimates the development would generate around 3,000 vehicle trips daily through the canyon and has proposed up to $1 million to improve the road. Because the development lies within Douglas County, Douglas County has been asked for input on various drainage and street design standards.

Dingman said he is willing to provide what he can to make the road better.

“I’m not sure what I’m proposing is going to fix everything, but it will go a long ways to bring the safety levels up to the demands of the road,” Dingman said.

The development may also hook into Carson’s water and sewer system, which could be achieved as part of a joint study to determine whether to create an enterprise zone for the area.

Mimi Moss, planning and economic development manager for Douglas County, said both counties will have to agree on who will provide the development with water and sewer, which would require expansion along Clear Creek.

As far as roads are concerned, improvements will have to be made along Clear Creek, Moss said. Dingman’s offer to pay for the improvements is generous, but the cost and the amount of improvements needed hasn’t been determined.

“The discussion we have had is to overlay Clear Creek, do some drainage improvements for new roads,” she said.

Dingman said the development would maintain the same standards of his Genoa Lakes development and has sought advice from residents to make it the right fit.

“We have listened to the community and I believe have created a project that is sensitive to neighborhood needs,” Dingman said. “We’re confident about the project because we are doing the right thing. We are (putting aside) lots of open space and we are taking environmentally sensitive areas out of the project to make sure they will remain undeveloped. We think it is a well thought-out project that we hope the community will embrace.”

Bkout

What: Douglas County Planning Commission

When: Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 9 a.m.

Where: Courtroom of the Douglas County Administrative Building, 1616 Eighth Street, Minden