Public pressure leads to more master plan meetings

DAYTON -- Responding to a swell of public sentiment, the West Central Lyon County Land Use Master Plan Committee agreed to hold at least one more public meeting prior to submitting a final map to the planning commission.

Planning Consultant Greg Evangelatos told attendees at last week's public hearing he would need two weeks to compile all public comments and letters into a written report. He will present the information to the committee April 24.

"I want to listen to the tape and go point by point. I would like to present it to the committee to digest and then bring it to a public meeting," Evangelatos said.

More than 70 residents showed up for what was billed as the final opportunity to offer comments to the 13-member volunteer committee before the plan is forwarded to the planning commissioners. Attendees reiterated their concerns about a lack of designated open space, large areas of high-density zoning and a lack of ample commercial/industrial areas on the proposed land use map.

In sometimes heated exchanges with committee members, they expressed dissatisfaction and frustration the map does not reflect comments made at three previous meetings. The demand for additional meetings appeared unanimous.

Dayton resident Richard Foley told the committee, "This map will shape our community; consequently we need to get it as the community wants it. It needs to be revised before it goes to the planning commission."

An outspoken critic of the amount of land designated for high-density residential use as opposed to industrial/commercial use, Foley presented the committee with two pages of concerns, goals and recommended changes, including a minimum lot size of 12,000 square feet, one-acre of required open space for every three acres developed, expansion of the existing Highway 50 industrial park and a 100 percent increase in commercial properties.

With preserving open space a primary concern, others suggested working with the Bureau of Land Management to acquire open space, the formation of a community open space committee, placing the river corridor into public trust and looking into conservancy buyouts of ranch lands.

Evangelatos said a transportation element would be tied into the plan once the land use element is approved.

Committee Chairman Bill Miles emphasized the map approved by the committee is not final, but just the start of the approval process.

He said the committee and Evangelatos have been working for more than two years on a limited budget and didn't have the desire or funding to continue, noting, "the public is going to have time to comment with the planning commission and county commission. Once it gets to that point I think it's pretty well unlimited as far as public input. It is not a done deal by any means."

Committee member Chuck Roberts, however, said he believes the majority of the committee wanted to continue the process until the map meets their approval. He agreed the map still does not reflect any of the conceptual changes brought up at previous meetings, while asserting changes were made that weren't reflected at the meetings.

"I don't think this committee has had a lot of consensuses throughout this process. What we have had is a lack of objection. We will slight you if we pass this plan as it exists to the planning commission. I think they will review it and make some technical changes, but they will support what this board feels," he told attendees. "I think you really need to fight and make us finish our job."

When residents expressed apprehension public participation would dwindle when the process moves to the planning and county commissioner boards in Yerington, Commissioner Bob Milz said his board would hold as many meetings as necessary and he would see to it the first county commissioner hearing would be in Dayton.

"We will not make a decision until it is right, I guarantee you that."

The committee unanimously agreed to hold one more public hearing after reviewing Evangelatos' summary of community comments.


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