BLM says no to Carson City’s request to stall land swap plan
The Bureau of Land Management has denied a request by Carson City officials to extend the comment period on a proposed land swap with Douglas County that would open 440 acres for development near the county line.
Last month, Carson City officials asked the BLM to stall its comment period because of fears the plan would create “significant primary and secondary growth impacts” on its government and infrastructure.
In a letter to Carson City Development Services director Andrew Burnham, the BLM’s Carson City Field Manager, John Singlaub, said the agency sees no reason to extend the comment period beyond the May 21 deadline.
“I regret the BLM’s current planning effort in Douglas County has raised issues regarding future development, service provision and revenue allocation,” Singlaub wrote. “However, it is within our power and responsibility to resolve those differences together. The public expects it. The public deserves it.”
The BLM wants to swap 440 acres at the Douglas-Carson line for agricultural easements.
The plan is designed to encourage growth in the northernmost end of the county while maintaining open space in other areas of the county. The land is located between Sunridge Drive and the county line east of Highway 395.
In a March 22 letter from Carson City, Burnham said Carson is concerned future growth in North Douglas County will affect Carson’s emergency, health, fire, parks and recreation, libraries, traffic and transportation.
Burnham asked the BLM to extend the comment period “indefinitely” until Carson City and Douglas County can work out a specific county services agreement. Burnham added the plan is being circulated among the city’s department heads for “detailed comment” and those comments would be forwarded to the BLM.
The request drew criticism from Douglas County commissioners, who said the deal has nothing to do with Carson City and that Carson officials are meddling in business that is between the BLM and Douglas County.
Douglas County Manager Dan Holler said the county will work with Carson City to address issues Carson City raised to the BLM.
“We will continue to meet with Carson City on these things. I believe the issues will resolve themselves,” Holler said.
In the BLM letter, Singlaub wrote that Carson City can protest the plan to the BLM director in Washington, D.C., but hopes the issue can be solved without going to that level.
“It is my hope that the issues and concerns you have expressed can be resolved with Douglas County and with the BLM locally, without having to turn to Washington for a final decision,” Singlaub wrote.
The agency has been working with Douglas County on the plan, which identifies suitable BLM lands for transfer into private ownership, and opportunities to protect agricultural and environmentally sensitive lands, Singlaub said.
Both Douglas County and the BLM have hosted joint public meetings and workshops to amend the Douglas County Master Plan and the BLM’s land use plan, to bring them into compliance. A similar planning effort was done with Carson City in 1996, Singlaub wrote.
Singlaub said the BLM recognizes the land in question to be near Carson City and is aware both counties are looking at ways to share revenues and services.
“One idea presented for consideration has been the creation of an Economic Enterprise Zone that would straddle the county line,” Singlaub wrote. “We encourage the city to continue discussions with the county and see the outcome of those discussions as the best way to address your concerns.”
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