Park hits bump at planning board

MINDEN " A proposal by Park Cattle Co. to build more than 4,000 homes on a 1,373-acre parcel north of Minden and Gardnerville was rejected by Douglas County planning commissioners. Planning commissioner Bob Conner was the lone vote in favor of the project.

The project will go before county commissioners on Sept. 4. They could overturn or support the decision handed down last week.

Planning commissioners said they admired Park Cattle's presentation, but felt the timing was wrong for the project.

Six supported a staff recommendation that there was no demonstrated need for the project, which would require a master plan amendment.

"I respect the ideas and vision," said Planning Commission Lawrence Howell. "I'm concerned that the transfer of development rights program is intended to preserve ranch land. This proposal builds home on ranchland."

Planning commissioner Mike Olson said he wanted to see a lot more work on the plan before he would be ready to approve it.

"I think it is premature," he said.

Connor said he felt the Park plan was consistent with the master plan and expressed frustration that in order to approve an amendment the project had to meet all four conditions.

Commissioner Jim Madsen pointed out that the project is in the flightline of the airport.

He pointed out that a fire bomber taking off from the airport would only be 126 feet off the ground when it began to fly over the project.

Planning Commission chairwoman Margaret Pross pointed out that Park Cattle has only owned the property since 1995.

"It was A19 when you bought it," she said. "You could build 600 units on it, keep the water rights and apply for a conservation easement."

Denise Beronio, executive director of the proposed Nevada Horse Park, told commissioners the equestrian facility would be located on 1,634 acres of property at Muller Lane.

She estimated it would be a seven- to 10-year project and include a horse park, show facility and events center.

Beronio, speaking in favor of the Park plan, said development of the horse park would bring an "eco-friendly, much-needed" identity to Douglas County.

John Marsalis, vice chairman of the Minden-Tahoe Airport advisory committee, recommended the project be located as far from the airport as possible.

"It's extremely valuable to mitigate the number of people in the area of the noise corridor," Marsalis said.

John Garvin, chairman of the Sustainable Growth Committee repeated comments made at earlier hearings that the project was too big.

"Would you approve of a master plan that covers a 40- to 50-year period? Of course you wouldn't," Garvin said. "The project is too speculative, too massive in size and too complex. Even 25 years down the road, it's difficult to see what it's like."


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