Clear Creek developers have until Dec. 31 to submit plans for a Highway 50 interchange in Douglas County, following a decision by Nevada's Department of Transportation board of directors Tuesday.
The interchange is required for the controversial Clear Creek development proposal, which includes 366 single-family homes and 18 time-share or guest homes associated with a golf course.
The deadline for submission of those plans passed June 20 and Syncon Homes requested the extension to complete the state-required engineering. The decision means the department will contribute $800,000 toward construction of the estimated $7.2 million project, the balance coming from Syncon.
If the developer doesn't meet that date, it will forfeit $100,000 in deposits for the project.
Jim Bauserman, Syncon spokesman, said he expects the company to meet that deadline and construction of the interchange should start in spring 2006.
Syncon attorney Scott Heaton said the remaining stumbling block is to secure easements from the State Lands Division.
Pam Wilcox, division administrator, told the board it generally takes three to six months to examine and approve easement agreements, the timeline she expects will be needed for access adjacent to the state-owned Clear Creek Youth Center.
The project was initially approved for 92 homes, and the most recent proposal is the subject of a Supreme Court case.
"I don't care about a few weeks' delay, but what about the litigation?" asked Gov. Kenny Guinn. "If the Supreme Court rules against you, will you still develop the property?"
Syncon attorney Scott Heaton said Syncon anticipated a higher density development when it took on the interchange project, but the issue is irrelevant at this point. Real estate prices have escalated, making it easier for the developer to absorb the costs, and the company has already dedicated a significant amount of funding to the interchange.
"As long as the costs aren't materially higher than our estimates, I'm comfortable that my clients won't walk away from the project," he said.
The primary issue is safety for state officials, who would have used the $800,000 for relocation of a truck ramp along the same stretch of highway, four miles west of 395 on Spooner Grade in north Douglas County.
Located near a break in the lane barrier where cars turn around or stop, the ramp is available for trucks having problems on the steep grade. The area also provides access to a private road for Clear Creek residents.
One truck driver said he could not use the ramp during an emergency because a car was parked in front of it, state officials said.
"Last January, you said you needed more time so we put off relocating the truck ramp, but this is a potential safety issue," Guinn said.
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