Strip mall voted down second time
GARDNERVILLE – A 7.7-acre strip mall in Carson Valley’s flood plain lost a second time last week when two commissioners refused to change their votes against the project.
“This is the third time I get to vote on this. I still can’t deal with this. My vote is ‘no’,” said Commissioner Bernie Curtis.
“My short history in Douglas County, I recall a project where we were told retention ponds would hold the water. They did hold the water – for about 15 seconds,” Curtis said, adding, “I may be hypocritical because I live in a flood plain.”
Developers of the plan, Roger Falcke and Greg and Holly Painter, successfully petitioned the board to rehear their application so they could introduce additional information that they said would mitigate potential flooding at the site located on Waterloo Lane and Highway 395. The developer sought support to change the county’s master plan to allow for construction.
“I still believe it is a great project for the community as a whole,” Falcke said. “It doesn’t impact the flood zone, it’s a great way for the county to control its own destiny. This is not viable farmland anymore.”
Commissioner Don Miner, who supported the project, said he felt the denial equaled a taking of the property.
“This is a fundamental issue of not building in the flood plain. It’s not just a simple master plan amendment,” Miner said.
He recommended that the project developers fill in the 7.7-acre site to raise it out of the flood plain and bring the project back to the board.
“We prefer not to do that. We want to be upfront with the board,” Falcke said. “We’re not here to injure anyone.”
Project engineer Rob Anderson told the board flood mitigation factors included widening the Cottonwood Slough, and dedicating 22 acres surrounding the strip mall to public facilities open space. The site is adjacent to the county’s Lampe Park.
Developers had offered to dedicate the public facilities area to the county for skatepark and other amenities.
Jacques Etchegoyhen, who also voted against the project, said even though the plan would improve the Cottonwood Slough, “the fundamental issue is still a precedent-setting master plan amendment in the flood plain.”
He recalled the effects of the flood of 1997 at the nearby Aspen Mobile Home Park.
“I will never forget watching volunteer fire fighters evacuate people out of an area I was too afraid to drive in,” Etchegoyhen said.
Although the project passed by a 3-2 vote, county statute requires a “super majority” of 4-1 or 5-0 on changes to the county master plan.
None of the commissioners changed his vote at the second consideration with Miner, Steve Weissinger and Kelly Kite voting in favor.