Gardnerville looks east to grow |

Gardnerville looks east to grow

Kurt Hildebrand

The future of Gardnerville lies to the east, town board members decided on Aug. 29.

The board voted to recommend to the planning and county commissions the town’s urban service boundary be extended east to the Allerman Canal, according to Town Manager Tom Dallaire.

That boundary coincides with the boundaries of the Gardnerville Water Co. and the Minden Gardnerville Sanitation District, which provide water and sewer to the town.

“This will allow the town to update the plan for prosperity, provide some planning for transportation needs and regional drainage issues, and needed zoning that could provide some guidance to the land owners in the direction the town needs to grow in order to be sustainable once the development boundary limits are met,” Dallaire said in a report to the board.

Board members will be asked to add 408 acres located east of Orchard Road and between Toler Lane and Pinenut Road up to the canal.

They would also remove 319 acres of land south of Highway 395 to the East Fork of the Carson River, where the Hussman Ranch conservation easement is located.

If approved, the town would ask county commissioners to add language to the master plan requiring county staff work with the towns to update the plan for prosperity to reflect the new boundaries for each town before the next master plan update.

The town could also seek to change the boundary in the present master plan update, or take no action and wait another five years for the next plan update.

Three applications for master plan amendments adding 490 acres of receiving area east of the town, prompted the discussion, Dallaire said.

While none of the applications are being supported by county staff or planning commissioners due to the large amount of receiving area already approved, Dallaire pointed out 1,500 acres of that area is located south of Highway 208 in Topaz Ranch Estates.

He said he believes that land isn’t an ideal location for another community in Douglas County.

However, it’s possible that receiving area could be transferred to Carson Valley, where it would allow the town to grow.

“There will be another 1,000 homes in the Town of Gardnerville, with the proposed eight acres of industrial RV parking and a 10-acre plan for a school,” he wrote. “Residential developments cost way more than commercial areas to maintain, in that there are more roads, more drainage issues and most likely parks and open space we will inherit and have to maintain.”

Looking ahead 22 years, Dallaire said the town’s population could range from 6,000 to 10,000 residents, an increase of between 500 and 4,500 people.

Just the project located behind the Gardnerville Walmart, the 1,020-unit Virginia Ranch Specific Plan, could produce 2,500 people. However, owner Mike Pegram is proposing reducing the size of the project from 1,020 units to around 850. That would reduce the population increase around 2,000 people.

But Dallaire continues to question where those new residents would obtain services.

“Where will they get their cars repaired?” he asked.

Adding more homes to Gardnerville could reduce the demand for homes in Johnson Lane and Topaz, where public services for fire, law enforcement, medical, water and sewer aren’t as viable.

“I recommend the town board take action to move the boundary, or at least provide a loophole in the master plan, so we can provide adequate planning and input for the future of the town’s road connections, drainage, Pine Nut Wash basin’s flooding potential … and locations of parks, opens space and pedestrian connections” he said. “The effort will ensure we have a diverse property tax base, so if and when the state finally agrees the formula is flawed, the town will have done its part in ensuring it will prosper into the future when the growth stops.”

Dallarie estimates the town will reach its current service boundary within the next decade.

“There is currently no study on file that shows the needed zoning to sustain the town after full build-out,” he said.

The town is currently home to 5,780 residents, or 12 percent of the county’s population, and has 14 employees.

The town board meets 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5. The discussion of the service boundaries is the only thing on the agenda.

Planning commissioners meet 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 12 for a workshop on the master plan elements.

Douglas County commissioners meet 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on master plan amendments. The planning commission’s final master plan update meeting is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 10.

Gardnerville was founded in 1879 by Lawrence Gilman during the gold strike at Bodie. It’s the second largest community in Douglas County after the Gardnerville Ranchos.