Master Plan – How concerned should residents be?
March 26, 2002
Many legitimate issues have been raised during public hearings on a land-use master plan for West-Central Lyon County. And many tempers have flared as residents claim the document does not reflect popular sentiment.
With several committee members also expressing dissatisfaction with the proposal, one has to wonder who is controlling the process. Does this tentative plan reflect the will of the majority of the 13-member committee? Will the final map reflect the viable issues of concern brought forward at the public hearings? When the final map is presented to the Lyon County commissioners for approval, will it be a true reflection of public and committee input?
The most important question of all: Is this master plan going to be a legally binding document, or simply a tool to be used as a guide for future land-use related planning decisions?
A recent Lyon County commissioner decision to approve a zone change creating 900 12,000-square-foot residential lots was based solely on the current master plan’s designation for that area. If this is an example of what will be done for developers when the new plan is adopted, it should give cause for alarm.
The three supportive commissioners asked no questions and expressed no concerns as to what the impact of those 900 homes will have on Six Mile Canyon Road, Highway 50, schools, emergency services, senior and youth services, and so on. They simply said the master plan designation “tied their hands.”
Perhaps they should have read Page 1 of the 1990 master plan they were referring to:
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“This plan is not a regulation but rather a policy statement from which ordinances and regulations may be developed. With our expanding growth in the County, particularly in the Dayton and Fernley areas, the need for planning ahead is of utmost importance.”
Of course, maybe they did read it prior to denying a zone change request a few years ago involving some property in the center of Dayton. In that case, the applicant’s request conformed to the master plan designation, but it was denied. The courts upheld the commissioners denial.
Taking these disparate decisions and political logic into consideration, residents must pay close attention and forward suggestions to committee members prior to the final public hearing. The committee must then direct their professional planning consultant to present an amended map at the April 10 meeting in Dayton, reflecting not only their own views, but also those received from the public.
We will then have the beginnings of a genuine community-generated planning guideline.
Think about it.