Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Douglas County, Nevada: Smart Growth Debates Continue

Creation of the hotly debated growth cap in Douglas County, Nevada has development and environment interest groups locking horns. The County includes Lake Tahoe and a portion of the Sierra Nevada range.
Two, 2.5 percent, 3 percent and 3.5 percent caps on residential building permits, in addition to a flat rate of 280 permits a year as approved by Douglas County voters in 2002 are being considered. Voters approved the Sustainable Growth Initiative, which limits the number of housing permits issued in Douglas County to 280 a year, in 2002. A series of court rulings and legal wrangling followed.
A report by Meridian Business Advisors advocates a flexible cap to "protect the economic viability and quality of life Douglas County now enjoys." The Meridian report, which states that growth pays for itself and is necessary for the generation of adequate tax revenues, was funded by the Coalition for Smart Growth.
The 280-permit cap, which represents a growth rate of about 2 percent, would require up to $124 million worth of new taxes or service cuts.
A growth cap limiting the number of new homes to 2.5 percent annually would reduce that need by up to $33 million and a 3.5 percent growth cap would reduced that need by $55 million, according to the Meridian report.
Development interests recently came forward with their arguments why development rules should be loosened in the County. Read what they have to say here.

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