Douglas County wants to restrict growth |

Douglas County wants to restrict growth

by Regina Purcell, Tribune News Service

MINDEN — Douglas County voters turned out in force for Tuesday’s general election, striking a blow against growth and approving only one of three road tax initiatives.

Voters passed the controversial ballot initiative limiting the number of dwelling units in Douglas County to 280 per year.

With all 37 Douglas County precincts reporting, Question 4 passed with 53.22 percent, compared to 46.78 percent voting no.

“I am very pleased,” said Judy Sturgis, vice chair of the Sustainable Growth Initiative Committee. “Now it is time for the county commissioners to fairly implement the initiative. It’s their turn. Their responsibility.”

The Sustainable Growth Initiative is not yet a done deal. The Nevada Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments on the case.

The court will decide on three matters: 1) If it was proper for Douglas District Court to intervene with the pre-election allowing the ballot question; 2) Whether the ballot measure is constitutionally permissible as an amendment to an existing law; or 3) Whether the initiative process proposes a new law that is either legislative or administrative in nature.

Sturgis said she is concerned that Douglas County work to defend what voters have passed.

“Since the people have voted, it is the county’s responsibility to defend it and we are calling on (Douglas County District Attorney) Scott Doyle to defend this and not to side with developers as he has in the past,” said Sturgis.

“I am also hoping that the community as a whole can work together to build a very, very strong community.”

The other three ballot questions gave voters the chance to decide on new taxes to go toward roads.

Only Question 2 passed. The proposal for 50-cents-per-square-foot tax on new construction of non-residential buildings passed with 52.46 percent of the votes in favor, and 47.54 percent voting no.

Voters rejected Question 1, an increase of the optional 5-cent gas tax over two years, with 74.96 percent voting no.

And Question 3 to raise the sales tax by one-quarter of 1 percent (.0025) to be used for construction and repair of roads as well as issue bonds for road projects failed with 69.72 percent against, compared with 30.28 percent for the new tax.

Renea Louie, manager of the Business Council of Douglas County and a member of the Transportation 20/20 Committee, which put the roads tax questions on the ballot, was disappointed with results.

“Obviously, it is disappointing,” she said. “I think there was a lot of confusion on these initiatives going for new roads. They were not (for new roads). They were to take care of the people who are here and planning for the next 20 years.

“I don’t know what more we could have done,” she said.

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