Transportation Board rejects Spooner developer’s plea for $2 million |

Transportation Board rejects Spooner developer’s plea for $2 million

State tranportation officials on Tuesday gave the developer of a Clear Creek housing project until 2004 to start construction if he wants state help with an interchange on Highway 50.

But the board balked when developer Jeff Dingman’s consultant Garth Dull asked the state to put up $2 million instead of the $800,000 originally requested.

Dingman’s plan presented by Dull, who is former director of the Nevada Department of Transportation, was for the state to delay spending $800,000 to move and rebuild a runaway truck ramp 4.8 miles up Spooner Highway and, instead, put it into the interchange project.

Dingman needs the interchange to provide access to his Clear Creek Ranch and Golf Club project on the old Schneider Ranch property.

He has plans for a project including a golf course and 300 upscale homes but, so far, has only been able to get approval for 91 houses.

Dull told the board, which includes Gov. Kenny Guinn, Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa and Controller Kathy Augustine, the interchange would make moving and rebuilding the truck ramp unnecessary, so putting that money into the interchange wouldn’t cost the state anything.

Dull asked the board to agree to pay for half the estimated $4.1 million cost of the interchange, saying it would increase the value of the state’s Clear Creek Honor Camp by at least that much.

State Transporation Director Tom Stephens questioned whether the state could realize profit from any enhanced value at Clear Creek. When the federal government deeded Clear Creek to the state, it came with restrictions on any resale of the property, which generally must be reserved for nonprofit and educational uses.

Guinn and Del Papa raised objections similar to those of Douglas County officials when they refused to give Dingman permission to jump-start construction of his golf course until he submitted all building plans.

“I’d rather see us come back with the package completed,” Guinn told Dull.

He said too often the state gives its tentative support for something, then faces pressure for more money from a developer who says he committed capital and man-hours based on that commitment.

He and Del Papa said the state needs to see a finished proposal, including support from Carson and Douglas officials who have to balance the need for the interchange with other area roadway projects.

For now, both said they would support no more than the staff recommendation.

That recommendation says the state will use the $800,000 for the interchange project if Dingman can fund the rest of it and get started by 2004. If the interchange doesn’t get going by then, the state will use the money for the ramp project.

As part of the deal, the interchange would also have to be designed to state standards.

Carson City Mayor Ray Masayko said he personally would oppose funding the interchange “if it’s going to take any money or any priority out of the bypass project.”

Dingman wants the interchange to be the primary access to his golf course and housing development. Clear Creek Road would be the secondary access.