Developers of the Villages of Silver Springs, a 697-home planned-unit development, have only one hurdle left to clear before work can begin.
The Lyon County Planning Commission on Tuesday approved the development, and now developer George Peek, of ERGS Inc., must convince the Lyon County Board of Commissioners before work can begin. The commission will consider the project at its meeting May 4.
"We went back and did our homework and worked with the citizens," said Greg Peek, son of George Peek. "We're pretty proud of the whole project."
The original project on 250.28 acres between Topaz and Onyx streets in Silver Springs has been reduced to 244.8 acres with lots of more than 10,000 square feet along the outside of the development, up from 6,000 square feet.
The change means a loss of 1 percent open space, but overall the amount of open space still falls within the required 20 percent, said Rob Loveberg, Lyon County Planning director.
Planner Melissa Lindell, of Wood Rodgers, a Reno-Based engineering firm, said it will be built in phases over seven years.
"We took into account the planning commission's comments and the town board's comments in our redesign," she said.
The developers have added or expanded trails, added two small, "pocket" parks for more quiet enjoyment and a neighborhood "activity park" with barbecues and a children's area.
It also expanded drainage channels that parallel the interconnected trails designed to tie together the various sections of the development.
Lindell noted the planned-use development ordinance allows for unusable lands such as drainage ditches to be considered open space.
"We have the trail system, both paved and unpaved trails with multiple connection points throughout," she said.
She said the project will also include drainage culverts on the west side of Topaz, to avoid sheet-flow drainage from damaging the road.
Houses bordering Topaz Street would be limited to one story, Lindell said.
The intersection of Onyx and Ramsey Weeks Cutoff would be redesigned to meet at a "T," rather than at the angle it does now, she added.
The Planning Commission required several more changes before granting approval.
Commissioners Ray Fierro and Paula Rosaschi requested two additional crossings over the western drainage channel to make it easier for children to access the neighborhood park in the northwest corner of the project.
But Commissioner Ray Johnson argued that children would regularly use the road, to be improved with a 5-foot sidewalk, to get to school.
Fierro agreed. "You can engineer for the next 10 years, and you are not going to funnel kids where you want them to go," he said. "But for the safety of the residents, especially the children, I recommend two crossings across the drainage ditch."
The commissioners also required that parks and trails be built with each phase of the development, and that ERGS Inc. come up with a phasing plan before final maps can be approved. The phasing plan must be approved before building permits are issued.
Robin Harina, chairman of the Silver Springs General Improvement District board, assured the Planning Commission that the GID has the ability to serve the first phase of the development.
"We have to have a plan for expansion to the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection at 85 percent capacity," she said. "We're at 85 percent now."
Harina said the Villages had 226 equivalent dwelling units, or EDUs, available to begin the project, 25 that go with the property and another 201 that can be transferred.
Ron Adams, of Dayton, who owns property across Topaz Street from the development, objected to the drainage ditch being created in front of his undeveloped lot. But several planning commissioners said it was not feasible to put the ditch on the other side of the street because of sheet-flow of water over the street.
He also objected to four streets from the development leading to Topaz, and asked that two of them be closed. The commission did not act or comment on this request.
Terry Donohue, of Silver Springs, is opposed to the development itself.
"We're going to develop a lot of highway traffic, and NDOT is notoriously slow," he said. "You shouldn't develop high density in an area of 1- and 5-acre lots."
Commissioner Chuck Rogers cast the only vote opposing the project, which passed 6-1.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or 882-2111, ext. 351.