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Clear Creek developers may lose millions

by Joey Crandall

Attorneys for the controversial Clear Creek project just south of Carson City claim that developers could face damages up to $10 million if a preliminary injunction is issued delaying construction.

In January, Clear Creek LLC was added to a lawsuit brought against the Douglas County Commission by the Alpine View Estates homeowners association.

Clear Creek is being developed on land owned by John Serpa. The project includes million-dollar homes with a golf course, club house, water and sewer system to connect to Carson Valley, and the transfer of 410 development rights.

Two hundred acres of the 1,576-acre property would be built out, with the rest preserved as natural and open space.

Alpine View filed suit in December against the project, arguing that a majority of the board did not approve the resolution and ordinance allowing construction on the project to begin. Attorneys for the association also argued that the approved amendment goes strictly against the spirit of the Douglas County master plan.

In its opposition to a motion for preliminary injunction, attorneys for Clear Creek outlined the estimated damages that would occur if such an order was issued.

The largest of the estimated losses included $279,000 from timber revenue that would be accrued from thinning and clearing fire fuels in the area, $800,000 from a potential failure to comply with an agreement with the Nevada Department of Transportation to construct a U.S. Highway 50 underpass, and $2.7 million annually from a delay in development based on the carrying and opportunity costs of the property.

Attorneys said the timing of the project is crucial to its viability, highlighting 40-year low interest rates and that any delay may cause a loss of the project’s first rights in the area.

Clear Creek also argued that Alpine View is concerned about the use of previously uncultivated land, but failed to state how the use would harm the homeowners.

Attorneys for Alpine View argued that the claimed possible damages were inaccurate and misleading and that possible harm to the project was not the issue before the court.

Specifically, Alpine View questions the validity of Clear Creek’s claim of potential damages from the delay of underpass construction.

The agreement for the interchange was entered into by NDOT and Syncon Homes, which is not a party in the lawsuit.

Under the rights and delegations of duties of the agreement, it states that Serpa, a managing member of Clear Creek LLC, shall have no interest in the agreement and cannot be an officer or employee of Syncon Homes for the life of the agreement.

On that basis, Alpine View claims that any damages related to the construction of the underpass cannot be considered an element of harm in determining the justification of a preliminary injunction.

Joey Crandall can be reached at jcrandall@recordcourier.com or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.