Developer files suit to stop growth cap |

Developer files suit to stop growth cap

by Scott Murphy, Staff Writer

MINDEN — A developer planning a casino and housing development north of Minden is suing to keep a growth cap question off Douglas County’s November ballot.

Nevada Northwest LLC filed suit Wednesday against Douglas County officials and leaders of the Sustainable Growth Initiative committee to keep the growth cap question off the November ballot.

Nevada Northwest, a combined partnership of Tom Bruce and Reno casino executive Ferenc Szony, received county approval in December 2001 to build 376 homes in Minden as part of a casino and housing project east of Highway 395 near Douglas High School.

Nevada Northwest claims it would “suffer irreparable injury” if the ballot initiative goes forward.

Representatives of the company could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The sustainable growth initiative would limit construction of new dwelling units in Carson Valley to 280 homes per year.

The lawsuit names Douglas County, its commission and Clerk-Treasurer Barbara Reed along with SGI Committee members Judy Sturgis, John Garvin, Gary Pyle, James Slade and Patricia McKay-Timm as defendants.

Douglas Deputy District Attorney Brian Chally said Wednesday his office would represent only the county and county officials.

Other defendants are responsible for hiring their own lawyer, Chally said.

The county intends to file a response to the suit early next week, even though it has 45 days to respond, he said.

Garvin said he received a copy of the suit Wednesday morning.

“We’re not surprised, given the nature of the opposition,” Garvin said.

“This is big money talking, basically,” he said. “I think its kind of unfortunate (Nevada Northwest is) doing this in an effort to deprive the voters a right to go to the polls and vote on this measure.

“There’s a lot of big, moneyed interests,” he said.

Garvin said the Sustainable Growth Initiative Committee’s attorney Patty Cafferata had not seen the lawsuit as of Wednesday afternoon.

The suit was filed by Scarpello, Huss & Oshinski, a Carson City law firm.

The lawsuit claims the sustainable growth initiative “unconstitutionally usurps the authority specifically delegated to local governments to develop a long-term development plan and illegally alters the policies set by Douglas County in its master plan.”

Also, the company’s lawyers claim the initiative is unconstitutional because it “involves matters of statewide concern delegated exclusively to counties and deprives … interested parties due process.

“The true nature of the initiative effort is to usurp and dramatically alter Douglas County administrative decisions governing long-term planning,” the suit states.