Douglas County land bank will help builders get coverage
For two years now, Douglas County planners have been developing a Tahoe Basin land bank, a sort of land coverage repository that should simplify the building process for future private and commercial developers.
The philosophy behind the project, according to John Doughty, the county’s planning and economic development manager, is “Putting the people who need something in touch with the people who have something to offer.”
The bank, which should be up and running within the next few months, would probably be facilitated by the Douglas County planner working out of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency office.
“People who are, for example, looking to build a carport. Currently, they have to search around, look in the newspaper, beg and plead to find anybody with that kind of land coverage available. Then, if they can even find it, they have to make a deal,” Doughty said. “The intent of the land bank is to provide folks with a one-stop location for finding land coverage. Of course, sometimes there are certain land capabilities that the bank may not have available at the time, but we think it will be helpful nevertheless.”
The bank would also allow public and private owners to place land coverage, commercial floor area and tourist accommodation units into it without specific project approval. Then, when a project is under consideration by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, property owners and developers can acquire these commodities without too much legwork.
“This is an extremely good measure that will help people put their projects together,” said land use consultant and project facilitator Gary Midkiff, of Midkiff & Associates, Inc. “By providing this tool, Douglas County will be giving people the opportunity to assemble projects sooner, and save money.”
The county, according to Doughty, would operate as an intermediary, an organizer, receiving only minor administrative fees for the service and keeping prices in check. The bank would also allow the county to purchase marginal properties and relocate their coverage and relocation rights into more developable areas, he said.
Doughty, who has worked for the county since January 1994, will be leaving his post Sept. 10 to become the community development director for the city of Watsonville, Calif. He said that although his leaving might cause a few delays, the project will be completed in the next few months.
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