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SGI lawsuits add up

by Regina Purcell, Nevada Appeal News Service

Two new lawsuits have been filed against Douglas County and members of the Sustainable Growth Initiative Committee.

Last week, Aspen Park LLC and Chichester Estates filed suits alleging they have development agreements with the county and should not be included in any growth-limiting process.

The Sustainable Growth Initiative limits the number of new dwelling units in the county to 280 per year. It was voted into law during the Nov. 5 general election, and upheld by the Nevada Supreme Court Dec. 17.

The Supreme Court ruled the initiative is legal as a broad policy and not administrative in nature. The court also overruled the 1978 Foreman law regarding due process and the public hearing procedures, and threw out the district court ruling which said changes to zoning policy were administrative.

However, a temporary restraining order against implementation of SGI was issued by District Judge Michael Gibbons on Nov. 7. A trial on a permanent injunction is scheduled for Feb. 11. The plaintiffs in that case, Minden-based Jumpers LLC and Century 21 Clark Properties filed the temporary restraining order.

Both new lawsuits name Douglas County and unidentified proponents of SGI. The total list of defendants hasn’t been identified but could include committee members John Garvin, Judy Sturgis, Gary Pyle, James Slade and Patricia A. McKay-Timm.

Aspen Park has had a development agreement with the county since 1995 for the Aspen Mobile Home Park, 138 homes at the west side of Centerville Lane.

Their lawsuit alleges the initiative is unconstitutional and says the company cannot continue to sell mobile homes without assurance building permits will be issued by the county.

Chichester Estates’ development agreement with the county has been in effect since 1994 for 987 units in Gardnerville. This lawsuit also alleges the initiative is unconstitutional and detrimental to the business.

Chichester Estates, which has provided numerous infrastructure improvements to its property as part of the development agreement, also seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction against SGI.

SGI lawsuit tally

by Regina Purcell, Staff Reporter

The following are pending lawsuits related to the Sustainable Growth Initiative, which was voted into law in November and upheld by the Nevada Supreme Court.

The initiative limits the number of new dwelling units per year in Douglas County to 280. Currently, there are nearly 500 pending applications for building permits in the county.

— The issue is still at the Supreme Court level because the plaintiffs in that case, Nevada Northwest LLC, can request a rehearing on the matter.

If Nevada Northwest does not request the rehearing, the case will be sent back to District Court.

Nevada Northwest received approval in November 2001 to build a casino in Minden that will include more than 300 housing units.

— A Feb. 11 trial is set District Court in Minden to decide on a permanent injunction in enforcing SGI.

The trial is for the original temporary restraining order case filed by Minden-based Jumpers LLC and Century 21 Clark Properties, which filed a temporary restraining order hours after Douglas County Commissioners canvassed the votes from the general election.

Jumpers LLC is the developer of the 31 townhomes behind ARCO in North Minden approved Oct. 3 by the Douglas County Commission.

— On Dec. 12, Judge Michael Gibbons granted a motion to consolidate the Jumpers/Century 21 lawsuit with a suit filed by Carson Valley-based developers, the Douglas County Building Industry Association, Aurora Land LLC and Merrill Construction.

— On Dec. 19, Minden-based Syncon Homes filed a lawsuit alleging it has a development agreement with the county and should not be included in any growth-limiting process. Whether this lawsuit will also be consolidated with the others has yet to be determined.

Syncon has had a development agreement with the county since 1992 for Sunridge Heights, 250 residential units off Mica Drive in north Douglas County, and a 1992 agreement for Valley Vista Estates, a 261-unit development in Indian Hills.

The court has yet to rule on the following motions:

— Douglas County asked that additional issues be addressed: whether the magic 280 number applies to affordable housing projects under Title 20; if it affects development agreements and what exactly is a dwelling unit; and whether it applies to time-share properties.

— A motion filed by Douglas County to limit the scope of materials the judge uses from the portions of the SGI opposition motion for the preliminary injunction.

— A motion by Jumpers LLC to add an additional plaintiff, Dr. Jay Marriage, and to amend its complaint to include additional causes to the case.

— A Douglas County, and a DCBIA request to make a ruling on a cited California case law request that SGI is not consistent with the county’s Master Plan.

— A motion from the SGI Committee to recover legal costs associated with litigation in the Supreme Court.