Committee hands in petition to stop growth |

Committee hands in petition to stop growth

Samantha Fredrickson, Appeal Staff Writer

After gathering signatures since March, a group wanting to slow growth in Douglas County to 2 percent a year submitted a petition Monday with 5,060 signatures in an attempt to place an initiative on the November ballot.

The amount of signatures gathered by members of the Sustainable Growth Initiative Committee is almost double the number of voter signatures needed.

The cutoff date to have the petition placed on the ballot is June 28, but because so many signatures were gathered committee members turned the petition in early to Douglas County Clerk Barbara Reed.

“We could have continued the signature gathering process until the cutoff date of June 28,” said Judy Sturgis, a co-chairwoman with the committee. “But we feel comfortable enough to stop at this point and prepare for the forthcoming campaign to provide information to all voters in time for the November election.”

Turning in the petition early allows the county clerk more time to process the signature petition as well, Sturgis said.

If voters pass the initiative, it would limit growth in Carson Valley to 280 homes per year, or 2 percent.

According to the committee, since a master plan was created in 1996 the growth rate has been 4 percent. At this rate, the population could double in 17 years, from 41,000 to 82,000.

“We learned that a vast majority of citizens want to slow growth down to a pace that preserves and protects their quality of life and the rural character of the valleys,” Sturgis said.

Co-chairman John Gavin said that while the initiative law does not allow them to spell out how the policy will be administered, the group has provided county commissioners with a proposed implementing ordinance to administer the program fairly.

“It will likely need some further study and redrafting,” Gavin said.

Gavin went on to say similar initiatives have been enacted in Nevada and have been upheld by the courts.

“If this initiative passes, and we think it will, all interested parties can pool their efforts and provide the county with best information available to make sure that the result is fair,” Gavin said.