Restraining order stalls initiative |

Restraining order stalls initiative

by Regina Purcell, Tribune News Service

MINDEN — Opponents of voter-passed Question 4 were granted an emergency restraining order to stall implementation of the growth cap, hours after Douglas County certified its passage.

Douglas District Court Judge Michael Gibbons granted Jumpers LLC and Century 21 Clark Properties the restraining order. Jumpers claim the initiative causes irreparable harm and named Douglas County and 10 fictitious defendants, so that other names can be substituted in the future.

“We are thrilled,” Rob Wigton, owner of Century 21. “At least we won a small battle. Hopefully, we will win the war.”

Jumpers LLC is developer of 31 town homes behind Arco in North Minden approved Oct. 3 by the Douglas County Commission.

District Attorney Scott Doyle made the announcement to the county commissioner Thursday after they had canvassed the votes from the general election — making the slow growth initiative law.

Question 4 — the Sustainable Growth Initiative — caps the number of new dwelling units annually in the Carson Valley at 280.

Bob Nunes, director of the county’s Community Development department, had said the count for issued building permits would have started Friday, but Gibbon’s ruling prevented that.

Nunes said although the department is processing nearly nearly 289 applications, county planners will review them on a first-come, first-served basis and stop issuing permits when they hit 280.

The Nevada Supreme Court will hear oral arguments at 10 a.m. today. The court agreed to hear oral arguments this week in the pending case between Nevada Northwest LLC, Douglas County and members of the SGI Committee. Nevada Northwest sued the county and committee members John Garvin, Judy Sturgis, Gary Pyle, James Slade and Patricia A. McKay-Timm in July.

Nevada Northwest received approval in November 2001 to build a casino in Minden, east of Highway 395, that will include more than 376 housing units.

Sustainable Growth Initiative Committee’s attorney Patty Cafferta said the SGI Committee may file a motion to intervene in the new lawsuit filed by Jumpers and Century 21, asking to be allowed to defend the initiative.

“We were not served, but we are the real parties in interest,” she said. “It’s a whole new ball of wax.”

Cafferata said Doyle is in a tough spot in the Nevada Northwest lawsuit because he is opposed to SGI.

Because it is now law, Doyle may now have to defend SGI in the Jumpers lawsuit.

“How can he take another position?” she said. “It’s unethical.”

Doyle said as a governmental attorney, he has a multitude of responsibilities and that standards for possible conflict of interests are different.

“I will be arguing (against SGI) just as vigorously before the Supreme Court,” he said. “And now that it is law it is my duty to make sure (it) is protected.”

Gibbons sided with Kevin Ryan, attorney for Jumpers and Century 21, in a precedent set in Ohio that states that once the permit is applied for, the developer has a vested interest. Doyle, who cited Nevada law, said it states that until the permit is issued, the developer does not have a vested interest.

Gibbons scheduled a preliminary injunction hearing at 2 p.m. Dec. 19. Until then Douglas County is unable to enforce the growth initiative.

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