Douglas County growth limit measure OK'd

Douglas County voters on Tuesday struck a blow against growth and approved one of three road tax initiatives.

Voters passed the ballot measure limiting the number of dwelling units in Douglas County to 280 per year by a margin of 53 percent to 46 percent.

"I am very pleased," said Judy Sturgis, vice chairwoman of the Sustainable Growth Initiative Committee. "Now it is time for the county commissioners to fairly implement the initiative. It's their turn. Their responsibility."

The Sustainable Growth Initiative is not a done deal.

The Nevada Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments on the case.

The court will decide on three matters:

-- If it was proper for Douglas District Court to intervene pre-election on allowing the ballot question;

-- Whether the ballot measure is constitutionally permissible as an amendment to an existing law;

-- Or whether the initiative process proposes a new law that is either legislative or administrative in nature.

Sturgis said she is concerned about whether Douglas County officials will work to defend what voters have passed.

"Since the people have voted, it is the county's responsibility to defend it and we are calling on (Douglas County District Attorney) Scott Doyle to defend this and not to side with developers as he has in the past," said Sturgis.

"I am also hoping that the community as a whole can work together to build a very very strong community."

The other three ballot questions gave voters the chance to decide on new taxes to go toward roads.

Only Question 2 passed. The proposal for 50-cents-per-square-foot tax on new construction of non-residential buildings passed with 52 percent in favor, and 47 percent voting no.

Voters rejected Question 1, an increase of the optional 5-cent gas tax over two years, with 74 percent voting no.

And Question 3 to raise the sales tax by one-quarter of 1 percent to be used for construction and repair of roads as well as issue bonds for road projects failed with 69 percent against.

Renea Louie, manager of the Business Council of Douglas County and a member of the Transportation 20/20 Committee, which put the roads tax questions on the ballot, was dismayed by results.

"Obviously, it is disappointing," she said. "I think there was a lot of confusion on these initiatives going for new roads. They were not (for new roads). They were to take care of the people who are here and planning for the next 20 years.

"I don't know what more we could have done," she said.

Nearly 73 percent of registered residents in Douglas County voted, compared with 23 percent in the primary.


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