Commissioners prepare to send packet to Navy

Time is running out for residents who want a final say on the Navy’s range expansion and modernization.

The Churchill County Commission will discuss the proposed Fallon Range Training Complex modernization and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement at its Feb. 7 meeting beginning at 1:15 p.m. and listen to public comments that will be included with the county’s packet. Final public input will be taken through mid-February by mail or through the project website at http://www.FRTCModernization.com and must be postmarked or received online by Feb. 14.

Jeremy Drew, project manager with Resources Concepts Inc., spoke at the last commission meeting by reviewing the DEIS and answered questions commissioners had from their Jan. 7 meeting.

Drew reviewed the following items:

Process for Navy’s Private Property Purchases and Notification of Landowners:

Drew said the DEIS indicates the Navy will pay appraised value of private property, but he was unable to provide detail on the process, timelines or unwilling sellers. According to the Navy, Drew said unwilling sellers may go through a condemnation process.

Geothermal requires design features in the Dixie Valley Training Area:

The DEIS pointed out that any power transmission lines should be buried. Drew, though, said a geothermal company executive said buried power lines increase costs. To extend a 120-kv line would cost $150,000 per mile, while a buried line could cost upward to $1 million per mile.

Area roads and proposed Interstate 11.

Drew said the proposed B-2 corridor, which would extend the proposed I-11 through Northern Nevada, would run through the northeast corner of the Navy’s Bravo-16 range at the end of Lone Tree Road.

The commissioners had a concern about heavy military vehicles using Lone Tree Road and is advising the Navy that the road was not constructed for large vehicles; furthermore, he said B-16 is located in the emergency overflow for flood management, and the commission has incorporated their concerns within their comments.

The county does not support Alternatives 1 and 2 and No Action.

Drew said the items pertinent to all withdrawal areas include the following: minimize withdrawal areas to the greatest extent possible; compensation for private land owners; compensation for ranchers; support full release of Wildlife Study Areas at Job Peak, Stillwater and Clan Alpine mountains; provide similar access to public lands surrounding withdrawal areas; and the need for diligent management for wildfires and wild horses.

Main points for the four training areas that emphasize the commissioners’ concerns:

DVTA: Drew said the commissioners have two key points for any level of support: The Navy must guarantee access and there must be reassurances for the Dixie Valley water project. Additional contingencies include right of way or setbacks on State Route 223 and U.S. Highway 50 full release of the WSAs and allowing geothermal exploration and development.

Bravo 16: Commissioners support the avoidance of Simpson Road, reduce withdrawal to greatest possible extent to the Weapons Danger Zone, re-route Sand Canyon Road along the north boundary, avoid or rebuild Lone Tree Road, provide space for I-11 and maintain emergency flood management.

Bravo 17: The commissioners support the avoidance of Sand Springs, State Route 839, Fairview Peak, Bell Mountain and Earthquake Fault Road; support SLMO designation rather than DVTA withdrawal; reduce withdrawal to greatest possible extent to match the WDZ; and expand controlled access to the greatest practical extent.

Bravo 20: The commissioners support the avoidance of East County Road, realign Pol Line Road north to the toe of the West Humboldt Range, avoid the national wildlife refuge and release the Stillwater and Job Peak WSAs to provide future infrastructure and economic development along East County Road.

Other agenda action:

Commissioners approved a professional services contract with Nevada Strategies, LLC for $5,500 per month for consultation related to economic development, housing and long-term planning. Bruce Breslow is a founding member of Nevada Strategies, a former Sparks mayor and a director for three state agencies under Gov. Brian Sandoval.

County Manager Jim Barbee said Churchill County is experiencing the same type of issues affecting larger counties. He said Nevada Strategies would bring leads to the existing development staff for business and industry.

“ I have the feeling we’re on the verge of something,” said Commissioner Bus Scharmann to Breslow. “We welcome your expertise.”

Breslow said he is familiar with Fallon and Churchill County and what their needs are. He said the explosive development has not extended past the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center.

“It took about 10 years to attract the industries and technology to TRIC,” Breslow said.

Scharmann told Breslow he’s heard that the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) doesn’t want the smaller businesses. Breslow said he’s talked to people at EDAWN and has asked them to look at communities such as Fallon for regional development.

At a separate meeting for the Board of Directors, Churchill Economic Development Authority, Commissioner Pete Olsen said he believes Nevada Strategies will augment CEDA.

Approved a redesign services agreement with CivicPlus for website design of the Churchill County website.

Updated job description for the Churchill County librarian.

Commissioners did not receive a written or verbal bid for property at 2525 Beasley Drive.

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