Clear Creek development sent back for review
Homeowners’ group says golf course, upscale homes not approved by majority
By Jeff Munson
Tribune city editor
Leaders will again hear plans for an upscale housing and golf course project at the north end of Douglas County after District Court Judge David Gamble this week ordered development plans be sent back to the county for review.
The Clear Creek housing development project, approved late last year, has been the source of a lawsuit brought against the Douglas County Commission by the Alpine View Estates Homeowners’ Association.
The association has argued that the multi-million dollar housing development, approved Nov. 6, 2003, was done without a board majority. In December the Alpine View Estates Homeowner’s Association filed the lawsuit. In it, they argue that a majority of the board did not approve the master plan amendment resolution and ordinance which allowed construction on the project to begin.
The homeowners’ association also argues the board didn’t follow the county’s master plan guidelines. On two occasions, the county’s planning commission, an advisory board to the Board of County Commissioners, had rejected the project.
Despite county commissioners amending the master plan to allow for the project, Gamble ordered the plan back to the county, referencing conflicts with procedure, county officials said. The planning commission will hear the proposal on May 11, and the board of commissioners will hear it June 3. It will return the Judge Gamble on June 7.
The final paper work for the order was to be filed Thursday to the district court clerk. The document was unavailable at press time.
Commissioners will address the issue again next month as part of a public hearing. County Manager Dan Holler said he couldn’t specifically talk about the case because it is still in litigation but said the county will adhere to the order.
“We will take it back through the planning commission and board process as ordered,” County Manager Dan Holler said Thursday. “We will follow the order as directed.”
Clear Creek is being developed on land owned by Carson Valley contractor John Serpa. The project includes million-dollar homes with a golf course, club house, development of a Highway 50 underpass with access to the site, a water and sewer system to connect to the Valley and the transfer of 410 development rights.
Two hundred acres of the 1,576-acre property would be built out with the rest preserved as natural and open space.
The homeowner’s associated based its claim on events at the Nov. 6 county commission meeting. Then Commissioner Steve Weissinger was absent from the meeting while Commissioner Jacques Etchegoyhen, who was an employee of the American Land Conservancy, recused himself from the vote.
Commissioners Bernie Curtis and Kelly Kite voted for the project, while Commissioner Tim Smith voted against it as he had done in a 4 to 1 ruling for the project in September.
Deputy District Attorney Tom Perkins ruled that the September vote would stand according to state law because the November vote didn’t carry the required majority.
The issue appeared before the commission twice because the Douglas County Planning Commission had recommended denial twice.