One day, drivers headed south on Highway 95A through Wabuska may see vast expanses of sagebrush and mountains complemented by blue water-ski lakes, mid- to high-end homes and increased traffic on the route south toward Yerington.
The Lyon County Commission on Thursday approved the tentative map and zone change request for Diamond Hot Springs, a 54-lot planned unit development by Brad Jamieson of Homestretch Energy LLC.
The zoning will change from industrial to residential planned unit development.
The proposed development will lie about 2 miles from Highway 95A, off Julian Lane, which will be a secondary entrance into the planned development.
The first phase will include 12 homes, after which a paved Home Stretch Road will be built that will serve as the primary entrance into the community.
The development is about two miles from the highway, and plans eventually call for five water-ski lakes, swimming areas and a proposed airstrip.
Denis Smith of Western Engineering said the company would apply for a special use permit for the airstrip in the future.
Several of the original approval conditions were altered at the request of Homestretch. The developers won't have to build the paved road until 12 lots are developed, because the area where the road is planned is currently under water.
Developers will have to provide for their own water and wastewater treatment systems, which brought a concern from Lyon County Utilities Director Mike Workman.
Workman was concerned the groundwater would not meet heath standards or that individual septic systems will operate in that area, which contains considerable moisture and geothermal features.
"Some of the water headaches we ended up with were private systems or (general improvement districts)," he said. "Sometimes they just barely meet standards, or weren't setting aside depreciation and letting things run into the ground and then we have to take over."
That's been the case with several private systems in the past, in places such as Mound House, near Yerington and in Silver Springs.
Workman said the long-term operation of a water-system plant was his biggest concern, and he was concerned it would not be affordable for the people who purchase homes there.
Smith, representing Jamieson, agreed to work with Workman and water system consultants, the Public Utility Commission and the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection to assure the water quality.
Commissioner LeRoy Goodman said that if Lyon County Utilities staff puts time in on the project the department would have to be reimbursed, since they are paid by the ratepayers in Dayton and Mound House.
The geothermal water will be cooled, used in the water-ski lakes and then go into the Walker River if the department approves, or back into the ground.
Commissioner Phyllis Hunewill said the Paiute Tribe objected to the water being put back in the river, but Smith said that had to do with the temperature and not the quality. He said by the time the water was put back in it would meet the necessary standards.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or 881-7351.