Douglas residents willing to pay for open space, survey shows

MINDEN, Nev. - A majority of Douglas County residents polled in a random survey said they're willing to be taxed to save farmland from spreading residential construction, a recent survey concluded.

Fifty-nine percent of the 400 people surveyed by telephone responded that they are willing to support a quarter-cent increase in sales tax to help fund the purchase of development rights in the Carson Valley.

Twenty-five percent said they're opposed, with the rest undecided.

The survey conducted by Kitchens Group has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.

''The results are very, very positive,'' said Dave Bolick, chairman of a coalition of public officials, business interests and ranchers who have been exploring ways to save open space.

Bolick presented results of the survey Thursday to the Douglas County Commission, which took action on two other measures that could further efforts to protect open space.

Commissioners agreed to establish a citizens committee that will draft ballot arguments for a proposed open space tax, which is planned to be put before voters in November and will likely take the form of an increase in sales tax.

They also approved a contract with Lumos and Associates to prepare a specific plan for 624 acres in the north Carson Valley. The targeted area includes some 440 acres of Bureau of Land Management land and another 35 acres of Forest Service land.

Both federal agencies have expressed interest in a land exchange that would place the land in private hands for commercial and residential development. Money raised would be used to buy development rights in prime farmland.


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