Douglas rejects master plan change for Clear Creek property |

Douglas rejects master plan change for Clear Creek property

by Jeff Munson

MINDEN – After nearly five hours of passionate debate by open space advocates and property rights backers, Douglas County commissioners denied a developer’s request that would have allowed 300 homes in Clear Creek Canyon.

In a 4-1 decision Thursday night, commissioners followed the recommendation of the county planning commission, which suggested denial of the master plan amendment last month. The commissioners said the proposed changes didn’t fit the county’s master plan.

“To me, there is no real, compelling reason to change what is not broken at this point,” said Commission Chairman Bernie Curtis.

Unhappy with the decision, developer Jeff Dingman said he will build what is allowed under current zoning – 115 homes and a golf course – without many of the amenities that he said he would provide had he gotten the amendment.

“The system appears to be flawed when the county is happy to approve an inferior project and unwilling to approve a project with far more amenities and less impact to our neighbors,” Dingman said.

“While the importance of open space and public access has been discussed at great length, based on the county’s decision, it is obviously not as important as we first thought,” he added.

Plans will move forward with the golf course, where Dingman anticipates construction beginning within 30 to 60 days.

“We will take it one step at a time from there,” he said.

More than 100 people lined the hallways of the old county courthouse in Minden, many wearing stickers bearing their opinions. More than 20 people testified about the merits of the master plan and the requested amendment.

The proposed development would occupy what is known as Schneider Ranch in Clear Creek Canyon, south of the Carson-Douglas county line in the forest above Jacks Valley. The property, which is jointly owned by John Serpa and Wayne Prim, had been considered for preservation by the U.S. Forest Service.

Douglas County and the Forest Service split the cost of a land appraisal last year, and a verbal agreement was made to negotiate for the property in exchange for 28 acres of property near the proposed Wal-Mart site.

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