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Supreme Court rules against growth cap motions

Opponents of a ballot measure that would cap growth in Carson Valley at 280 homes annually received a blow last week when the Nevada Supreme Court ruled against two motions to take the issue off the ballot.

The Supreme Court denied a motion last week by Nevada Northwest LLC, respondents in the various lawsuits that have plagued the ballot question intended to curb growth in Carson Valley.

Proponents of the initiative, the Sustainable Growth Initiative Committee, said Nevada Northwest is desperate to get the issue off the November ballot because they know voters will approve it.



“Quite frankly I am surprised why they have gone through asking the court to basically overturn themselves a week later,” said Patty Cafferata, attorney for SGI. “Except it shows they’re desperate because they don’t want voters to vote it in.”

Nevada Northwest “didn’t raise any valid arguments,” she said. “They just don’t want people to vote. The Supreme Court wanted some time on this and they did not want to decide before the election.”




Cafferata said Douglas County, in its answer, agreed with Nevada Northwest’s desire to expedite the motion “because they don’t want it on the ballot either.”

Earlier this year, supporters gained enough signatures from Douglas County voters to put it on the ballot. Developers Nevada Northwest LLC sued the Douglas County Commission and Sustainable Growth Initiative committee’s five leaders in July to get the growth cap removed from the November ballot.

On Aug. 20, Douglas County District Court Judge David Gamble ruled the right to file an initiative does not extend to voters on zoning issues.

Cafferata and SGI then filed an appeal to get the matter heard in time for the upcoming election. Ballots had to be submitted for printing by Sept. 17, and the writ was an “accelerated method” to get the court to review the decision to strike the initiative from the ballot. In its appeal, SGI claimed the decision by Gamble was unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court ruled Sept. 5 that the growth cap initiative will return to the ballot and stayed Gamble’s decision in order to have more time to decide the matter.

After that ruling, Nevada Northwest filed a relief from stay motion in its answer to SGI’s writ of mandamus and filed a motion to expedite the matter. During the Douglas County Commissioners meeting Thursday, District Attorney Scott Doyle gave an update. He said the high court granted Nevada Northwest’s request to expedite the issue, and denied the motion to stay.

Doyle said the county filed its response Sept. 12. Although the Sustain Growth Initiative Committee is not required to respond to Nevada Northwest’s or the county responses, Cafferata said she filed a request to respond Friday.

Cafferata said her filing Friday is a request to respond to the replies by Nevada Northwest and Douglas County and ask for oral arguments. In addition, she is appealing the court’s decision to expedite the matter.

Cafferata said the Supreme Court rules do not automatically give her the right to respond.

William Huss, Nevada Northwest’s attorney, did not return phone calls for comment.


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