What good is a multi-million dollar master plan, if we don’t follow it? | RecordCourier.com

What good is a multi-million dollar master plan, if we don’t follow it?

Suddenly, the Douglas County master plan is as popular as “Titanic” (the movie, not the ill-fated luxury liner).

At Thursday’s county commission meeting, the county’s two-year-old master plan was the tool used to justify turning down the Crestmore Village Apartment affordable housing complex.

Beginning with public comment, speaker after speaker denounced the 40-unit affordable housing project as being in conflict with the master plan.

Missing from the discussion were previously heard arguments that Crestmore Apartments would mean urban decay, increased crime, declining property values and an influx of low-class undesirables. It was no longer necessary to be up front about the deep-rooted fears of neighborhood contamination.

Commissioners and constituents alike could agree that while the project itself had merit, Crestmore Village Apartments doesn’t belong on Elges Lane because the master plan says so.

What good is a multi-million dollar master plan, they chorused, if we don’t follow it? What good, indeed?

What we learned Thursday is that the part of the master plan which calls for affordable housing, when interpreted by this board, isn’t going to stand a chance. By hiding behind the master plan, we, as a community, have failed to deal with the issue. Essentially, We’re saying our solution to affordable housing is that there be none.

The county commission’s steadfast decision to uphold the master plan should send waves of fear through the 10 applicants who will go before the planning commission on Tuesday for master plan amendments and zoning changes.

With the precedent set Thursday, it will be interesting to watch how county commissioners rationalize any future changes in the master plan after they unanimously turned down a project many people suggested was worthwhile and badly needed.

Where do we go from here?

The people who hoped to bring forward Crestmore Village Apartments are talking to lawyers to decide if the county acted legally.

The master plans new-found fans need to remain vigilant in their fight to keep affordable housing from coming to a neighborhood near you. Tuesday’s meeting starts at 9 a.m. in commission chambers at the county administration building, 1616 Eighth St., Minden.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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