Thankful it’s not worse |

Thankful it’s not worse

It has been 110 years since the good people of Gardnerville tried to build a railroad from the V&T depot in Minden.

In 1909, Gardnerville residents raised $5,000 and donated right-of-way for the train and a new station.

But the last piece of land was denied them by H.F. Dangberg Jr., who would only sell the land for $10,000, twice what they’d raised and 10 times what it was worth.

On Tuesday, the towns find themselves in an oddly similar situation when Douglas County commissioners take up a proposal to exchange the right of way for Muller Parkway for moving 1,044 acres of receiving area from Topaz Ranch Estates to Carson Valley.

Receiving area is the Swiss Army knife of land use in Douglas County allowing pretty much any kind of development up to 16 units per acre as long as the owner brings development rights from sending areas to build.

The Parks own nearly 10,000 acres of land across the county, so finding agricultural property from which to transfer those rights shouldn’t be a problem for them.

A development agreement capping the Park deal at 2,500 units is a critical component, because just approving receiving area for the property would be a disaster. Technically, the amendment and agreement actually reduce the number of units that could be built in Douglas County.

However, it has been a long time since anyone believed the Sleeping Elephant Ranch across from Topaz Ranch Estates was capable of sustaining such intense development.

Moving that receiving area closer to utilities and services would indeed increase the chances that someone would build homes on it.

As we’ve seen with the only active subdivision currently under intense construction, Mike Pegram’s project at 88 and 395, there are hurdles that must be cleared before a single house is built. Work has been underway most of this year just to install utilities and streets for a project whose master plan amendment was approved in 2017.

During October and November, around 20 single-family building permits were issued, despite beautiful building weather.

That’s because the biggest hurdle Douglas County has had to overcome despite having a significant inventory of various forms of development, is the market.