Douglas Co. growth initiative goes back to state court
August 12, 2005
GARDNERVILLE – Douglas County’s Sustainable Growth Initiative is back before the Nevada Supreme Court after Judge Michael Gibbons signed an order clarifying his ruling invalidating the measure.
Justices asked Gibbons to explain his Feb. 14, 2003, order after it appeared to deny both sides’ motions for summary judgment.
Voters approved the initiative in November 2002. Wednesday’s order confirms Gibbons’ ruling that the initiative does not substantially comply with the master plan and violates state law.
Under the initiative a limit of 280 new homes, 280 building permits, a year could be issued in Douglas County outside the jurisdiction of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
According to the Supreme Court’s show order issued earlier this month, only one of three claims addressed in the order prepared by Gibbons is up for review by the court: whether the initiative conflicts with the master plan. Gibbons’ ruling concluded the controversial initiative was constitutional, but inconsistent with Douglas County’s master plan.
“For purposes of the motion, the court accepted all facts as true,” Gibbons wrote in 2003. “Nevertheless, the court recognized that there were serious scientific and factual disputes over whether there was any valid basis whatsoever for SGIC’s contention that a water shortage was imminent.”
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John Garvin, co-chairman of the Sustainable Growth Initiative Committee, said the group is not giving up.
He pointed out that while the case against the initiative has been winding through the courts, 4,000 more homes have been approved in Carson Valley.
He said that it could be 5-10 years before residents find out if the initiative will be implemented, and by that time it could be too late to be effective.
The initiative now goes back to the Nevada Supreme Court for a decision.