Trial set in February on Sustainable Growth Initiative

It will be at least February before Douglas County's new growth limit can take effect, depending on the outcome of court challenges.

Developers and contractors, real estate agents, attorneys and plaintiffs, including the Sustainable Growth Initiative Committee and Douglas County representatives filled Douglas District Court during last week's injunction hearing before Judge Michael Gibbons.

"We're back where we were in November," Gibbons concluded, extending an order that blocks the growth limit from taking effect.

Gibbons set a Feb. 11 trial date to decide whether the Sustainable Growth Initiative will be enforced.

Voters approved the initiative Nov. 5. Last week, the Nevada Supreme Court upheld the vote, but said the issue still could be challenged in court. The initiative limits new dwelling units in Douglas County to 280 per year.

Gibbons said it is proper to extend the restraining order because plaintiffs in the case are more likely to suffer financial harm than defendants, Douglas County or the SGI Committee members.

Kelly Chase, attorney for the Douglas County Building Association, said "irreparable harm" is happening now to his clients, the building association and contractors in Carson Valley.

Chase said several times he is confident he will win the case on the basis the law is unconstitutional and deprives people of their property rights.

The original case was filed by Minden-based Jumpers LLC and Century 21 Clark Properties, which sought a temporary restraining order hours after Douglas County Commissioners canvassed the Nov. 5 vote which approved the initiative.

Jumpers LLC plans to develop 31 townhomes behind Arco in North Minden. The project was approved Oct. 3 by the Douglas County Commission.

Another court challenge involves Nevada Northwest, which received approval in November 2001 to build a casino project in Minden that would also include more than 300 housing units.

Another lawsuit was filed Dec. 12 by Carson Valley-based developers, the Douglas County Building Industry Association, Aurora Land LLC and Merill Construction.

Gibbons consolidated the cases and said other interested parties have until Dec. 27 to join the legal challenges.


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