A year of debates over tolls, growth, water
December 18, 2006
In Lyon County, 2006 will likely be remembered as much for what did not happen as for what did.
A toll was not levied on those traveling Six Mile Canyon Road to get to work in Reno, growth was not as extensive as it was in 2005, and county manager Donna Kristaponis was not terminated from her position.
closure of Six Mile Canyon Road
The closure of Six Mile Canyon Road after the New Year’s Eve flooding affected hundreds of county residents who use it to commute to jobs in Reno, and many bristled at the possibility of it becoming a toll road.
The road was closed from New Year’s Eve to June 21.
Storey County commissioners approved an ordinance designating Six Mile Canyon a toll road subject to a $300 per year pass, but enforcement of the measure was pending approval of the county’s insurance carrier.
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The county found it didn’t qualify for federal or state aid, so fixed the road with $150,000 from its general fund. Pat Whitten, director of administration and budget, said the county would continue to pursue funding, as well as look at the toll option.
“All indications we’ve gotten are it most likely would take an act of legislation to allow toll roads,” he said. “We’re watching a couple of bills to be introduced in the 2007 legislative session.”
attempted termination of Kristaponis
The second biggest story of the year was the attempted termination of Kristaponis’ employment. Though no reason was given for the action, precipitated by Commissioners Bob Milz and Phyllis Hunewill, department heads, citizens and even officials of other counties showed up to support the embattled manager.
Kristaponis prevailed, and mediation meetings will be held to work out whatever difficulty provoked the action.
Growth may have been the top story in 2005 for Lyon County, but thanks to the recent real estate slowdown, it was less of an issue in 2006.
The Lyon County Building Department issued 2,400 building permits in 2005, but only about 1,700 for 2006 to date.
“It has definitely slowed down,” said Building Director Nick Malarchik. “We haven’t done the year-end statistics yet because we have a couple of weeks to go, but there was a slowdown in residential real estate.”
Malarchik said commercial development was the same or “maybe a little better,” than 2005, but estimated residential development has dropped by about 25 percent.
Even with the growth, the Lyon County commission approved maps for Aspen Creek, Silverhorn, the Villages at Silver Springs and many other smaller developments.
The election was big news in Lyon County, with Allen Veil defeating Charlie Duke to become the new sheriff; Larry McPherson upsetting Chet Hillyard then overcoming a challenge by Charlie Lawson to become the new District II commissioner; and Bob Auer defeating Stephen Rye to become the new district attorney.
District Attorney Leon Aberasturi will be moving on up to a judgeship for the Third District Court after defeating incumbent Wayne Pedersen.
Highway 50 was in the news, first for the construction and widening through Dayton (and the controversy of no additional traffic lights), then for speeding problems and a possible bypass north of Dayton State Park.
Those issues will come up again in 2007, with the completion of the Highway 50 Traffic Stakeholders’ Project.
Wild horses, as always, made news in 2006, from the rescues of abandoned foals in the early part of the year to the recent outrage surrounding roundups of horses in the Santa Maria Ranch development.
The Dayton Regional Advisory Council found itself in the news quite a bit, with its challenges to developers and the way it held its meetings and was finally disbanded by the county commissioners. A new DRAC will be seated in January.
In November, a long-standing thorn in the side of the county, the lawsuit filed by ASG Inc. over the loss of its special-use permit after an explosion at its chemical-manufacturing plant in Dayton, was settled for $4.75 million.
Other important stories of the year include water-rights transfers, the acquisition of the Dayton Depot, the yet-to-be rebuilt Silver City Schoolhouse, the turnover at the Silver Springs General Improvement District, and upheaval in the Lyon County Parks Division.
There was the surprise resignation of planning director Steve Hasson, rate hikes in the Stagecoach GID, the new Senior Citizens Center in Silver Springs, and new elementary schools in Fernley and Dayton.
Kristaponis said lots of things planned in 2006 will come to fruition in 2007, including the grand openings of the Silver Springs Senior Center and the Rolling A wastewater treatment plant. The Silver City Schoolhouse will probably be built, she added, because the county is pursuing bids for the building now.
“We’ll go a long way to meeting the environmental requirements for a trail in Wilson Canyon,” she said. “Also the (Dayton) depot will be in the hands of the Historical Society of Dayton Valley and progress will be made toward its rehabilitation.
“It ought to be a darned good year,” she said.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111, ext. 351.