Subdivision’s neighbors upset at Douglas County’s approval for drainage |

Subdivision’s neighbors upset at Douglas County’s approval for drainage

by Regina Purcell, Appeal News Service

GARDNERVILLE — Neighbors on Mustang Lane in Ruthenstroth are certain their property will be flooded when Douglas County’s condition to divert water at a new housing development.

They are appealing the county’s approval of the project at the Douglas County Commission meeting at Stateline on Thursday.

Kirk Johnson, the developer for the project on Lacey Drive, said the area has always flooded and will continue to do so.

HE said it is not his problem, and that he met the conditions imposed by the county, which, he said, is more than enough to handle the water flow.

Johnson of Johnson Development LLC will build nine homes priced from $340,000 to $450,000 on the lot.

Neighbors Doug N. Johnson and Gene Pasek said the flooding problem can be averted. The county is looking for the property tax revenues from the new development, rather than taking precautions to protect neighboring properties, they say.

Doug Johnson placed an old Cadillac on its side in front of his home and spray painted “flood control” on it to protest the county’s decisions.

“This bothers me,” said Doug Johnson, pointing to the construction workers working at the site. “This is under appeal, and they are still going at it.”

Pasek and Johnson say the conditions imposed for drainage at the site are unacceptable and allege county officials lied to them about the project.

“When we showed (director of the county’s Community Development Department Bob Nunes) what was going on, he said he would red flag the problem,” Doug Johnson said. “The next day, they said (the parcel map for the development) was approved.”

He said an acceptable drainage plan that is 10 feet from the one under construction was swapped by county officials because it negatively impacts property values because the drainage would be in view of the new homes.

“They are setting a precedent over another because the county will get more revenue off property taxes,” Doug Johnson said. “They just don’t care what happens to us.”

Pasek’s father, John “Doc” Pasek, has farmed the property across the street from the development for 40 years.

“Water doesn’t run uphill,” Gene Pasek said. “This is going to be a problem to everybody.”

Pasek plans to construct a vineyard to replace the alfalfa fields on his property, But with the new drainage, he said the water is going to eventually run right into his pump house and cause irreparable damage.

The neighbors have retained attorney Paul Taggart.

“In the way (the county approved the drainage), the water turns at a 90-degree angle, but water doesn’t always turn,” Taggart said. “Meanwhile, they are building and constructing based on a permit that is being appealed.”

Nunes said the developer met all conditions and the drainage design was reviewed by engineers and deemed appropriate.

“Anybody who doesn’t like what was approved can appeal,” he said.

Kirk Johnson said he couldn’t come to an understanding with the neighbors or Taggart.

“Before we bought this property, (Doug Johnson’s) property flooded,” Kirk Johnson said. “The water will puddle up and cross the road. It will always flood. We believe we are the first part of the solution out here.”