Actions taken by Lyon County officials in the week since the much-anticipated West Central Lyon County Land Use Master Plan has been in place should cause Lyon County taxpayers some serious heartburn.
Why did the county spend close to $60,000 to a private firm to assist with the project? Why did a 13-member committee of dedicated volunteers spent over two years working on the plan? Why were public hearings even held, when:
-- At their Sept. 10 meeting, the Lyon County Planning Commission, at the request of Landmark Homes, revised the West Central Lyon County Final Draft Land Use Master Plan map that the committee had approved at a public hearing in Dayton on Aug. 22.
-- At their Nov. 7 meeting, Lyon County commissioners gave their final approval to the plan. Moments after approving it, commissioners also approved a zone change for Landmark Homes on property located in the area where they had been granted their master plan change.
-- At their Nov. 12 meeting, the planning commission, at the request of the developers, ignored the master plan's recommendation of 20 percent open space in all new subdivisions. They approved the 138-unit Century Oak Land Development subdivision with only 10 percent open space and the 153-lot Landmark Homes subdivision with only 4 percent open space.
-- At the same meeting, the planning commission allowed five acres of commercial property along Highway 50 east of Dayton to revert to 12,000-square-foot residential lots, without one question as to what the new land use plan recommends for the area.
-- At the same meeting, the planning commission approved 21 revisions to the five-day-old master plan, in effect, adopting Landmark Homes' plans for 2,300 acres, extending from Rose Peak to the Six-Mile Canyon area. (This will come before the commissioners in December for final consideration.)
It should now be abundantly clear as to just what a Landmark Homes representative was referring to several months ago when he said "It's a done deal", (in other words, save your breath) in answer to Dayton Regional Advisory Council attendees' concerns with growth, zoning and traffic issues on Cardelli Road.
In light of last week's actions, the developer's zone change and traffic patterns were apparently already assured of commissioner approval, making resident and council concerns irrelevant.
It has now become evident to whom the local county commissioner is referring to when he publicly states that his only part in the master plan revision process was to see that the "community's" wishes were correctly passed on to the planning commission.
It is now quite clear why the local commissioner -- in reference to the advisory council's persistent questioning of developer's intentions, the lack of adequate commercial/industrial development to offset the abundant residential zoning on the land use map, recommending denial of developer's plans that did not meet their demands -- publicly accused them of being self-serving. Board members obviously could not see the 'big picture' for the Dayton Valley as envisioned by commissioners and developers.
It should now be clear as to why it was so difficult to get the professional planner to change land use maps to reflect committee and resident concerns. With some committee members' persistent urging, he finally presented a map that was more reflective of the communiy's wishes and it was approved on Aug. 22 as the "Final Draft Land Use Master Plan." It took only a letter from Landmark Homes to get it changed back to the developer's liking less then a month later.
While this change affected a relatively small piece of land, it well illustrates a troubling attitude of certain developers and county officials.
It is already evident that this new master plan will be used just as the 1990 master plan was used: When politically feasible, the commissioners will grant zoning changes to conform to it -- citing it as the community's wishes for the future. When politically expedient, commissioners will ignore it -- citing it as an ever changing document that was never intended to be etched in stone.
Only time will tell if the developer-designed master plan changes will be of greater benefit to the community, or not. That is not the point.
What our county representatives have shown us is that, when contradictory to their own interests, public input is irrelevant and will be ignored.
By ignoring, publicly deriding and/or verbally attacking those who have the audacity to question county issues, our county representatives have illustrated a new low in representing the interests of the residents of this county, and, apparently, could care less.
Since the only benefit Lyon County taxpayers will derive from this county's obvious intent on creating as much low-cost, entry level housing as developers can generate are higher taxes, residents ought to demand all costs involved in creating this master plan be returned to county coffers and expenses billed to the actual designers, and ultimate beneficiaries.
Think about it.