Commissioners approve master plan |

Commissioners approve master plan

Mike Sciandra
From left, Alethea Steuart, Preston Denney, Marcie Compav, Terri Pereira, Cecilia Sanchez, Naomi Clay and Gary Rothery were recognized for their years of service with Churchill County.

County commissioners approved the adoption of the 2015 Master Plan for Churchill County at their most recent meeting.

The collaboration, presented by Planning Director Michael Johnson, is designed to address population, housing and education, conservation and natural resources, hazards and hazard mitigation, historical data and preservation, economic development, recreation, transportation, as well as public services and facilities plans for the next 20 years.

This is the result of a collaboration of the Planning Department and several committees researching community concerns and feedback.

The commissioners unanimously approved the plan pending the revision of chapter 12 to be updated in 2016, the chapter dealing with the policy plan for public lands.

In an interview this week, District 1 Commissioner Harry “Bus” Scharmann said part of the reason for this was, though chapter 12 was well written for 2009, that he believed it needed to be rewritten to be more specific in the protection of Churchill County public lands from infringements being made by federal agencies.

Scharmann said, including that this was why the board is taking steps to identify all the roads in the county to protect those areas, a study that will be included in the revised chapter.

Scharmann added such infringements are particularly in other western states and counties that they are trying in Churchill County.

“There are concerns about mining rights, grazing rights to make sure our ranchers can get grazing permits not subject to the designation of wilderness areas or declarations of endangered species,” he said. “There’s other things the federal government uses to infringe upon our citizens’ rights, but we just want to protect those things as much as we can.”

One of the other notable goals in the plan is to support Naval Air Station Fallon’s plans and projects that coordinate with the County’s plans. This, as mentioned in chapter 11 dealing with land use, includes guiding future urbanizing developments away from the important wetland and wildlife refuges in the north and southeast.

Scharmann said the commissioners fully support the mission of NAS Fallon and want to preserve their fly areas as best as possible.

Other chapters of the plan were under discussion in the past week weeks as well, including chapter six dealing with economic development according to Scharmann who sought to ensure there was input from Rachel Dahl, director of the Churchill County Economic Development Authority (CEDA). Upon inquiry, the Planning Department did include input from Dahl and the CEDA board in the official record.

Other action:

Approved an application with the USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Program for the Jail Financing Program with the necessary supplementary documents to be submitted and approved by the District Attorney’s office.

Approved to re-elect Pete Olsen and Carl Erquiaga as county commission chair and vice-chair, respectively, for the next term.

Approved appointments of Brenda Hutchings, Jeff Goings and Phyllys Dowd to the Board of Equalization, with Jeff Goings to serve a one-year term as vice-chair expiring Dec. 31, 2016.