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Water deal could help Dayton development

Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer

A project that will let Vidler Water Company sell water rights to Lyon County developers will spur construction in Dayton once the market picks up, supporters say.

“When the building market comes back, the goal is that everyone can go back to work in Lyon County,” Dorothy Timian-Palmer, president of the company running the project, said at a water forum Wednesday.

The project ties the water systems of Lyon County and Carson City through a pipeline, and will let the company sell water rights from Buzzy’s Ranch in east Carson City.

Work is scheduled to be done this summer.

This will help Lyon County and Carson City during emergencies, said Lyon County Utilities Director Mike Workman, as well as future developments in Dayton.

“In the master plan,” he said, “there are several large developments in the Dayton area that at full build-out will not have enough resources.”

Developers in Lyon County must have the water rights before they build.

But Ron Weisinger, director of the Northern Nevada Development Authority, said it could be later than 2010 before construction picks up.

“All the major developers are in hibernation right now,” he said.

Building permits in Lyon County dropped from 353 in 2006 to 229 in 2007. There have been 11 this year.

The project might help the market if it can bring the cost of building houses down, said Chick James, a broker with Realty Executives.

But right now, “getting water rights for their projects is more and more difficult and more and more expensive,” he said.

The project might not make water rights less expensive for developers, said Matt Denio, manager of Dayton Land Developers, because it allows the company to “hold other people hostage.”

Water also needs to be used for businesses if Lyon County doesn’t want to be only a “bedroom community,” Weisinger said, though home building for some developers has stopped altogether.

But, said Lori Williams, general manager of the Truckee Meadows Water Authority at the Northern Nevada Development Authority water forum, “There won’t be houses built if there’s not water.”

• Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.