By Nicole Barde

The agenda for this week’s meeting was pretty procedural.  Things begin to wind down at the end of the year and the Commission voted to cancel the November 17th and December 15th meetings.

Among the few staff updates Cherie Nevin, Community Services, reminded everyone of the free Health Faire this Saturday from 10-1 at Pipers. There will be many health related vendors, free stuff and flu shots will also be administered. I go every year and am always impressed at the high quality of information available.  There will also be the annual spaghetti feed for veterans at the SC Senior Center after the Veterans Day parade on Wednesday November 11th.

Austin Osborn, Planning, reported that the “soft opening” of 342 scheduled for November 12 will be pushed out to November 17 due to the recent weather but is still on track for full opening by Thanksgiving.

Hugh Gallagher, County Controller, reported that he had to ask Commissioner Jack McGuffey to help him get the financial statements from the Rail Commission. Hugh has started to do the financial audit to determine where the money Storey County has sent to them has gone. Storey County has stopped sending them the sales tax revenue until this accounting is done. On May 24, 2015 I wrote about some of the issues with the Rail Commission and the Storey County tax monies.

There was a presentation made by Mr. Ed James of the Carson Water SubConservancy District regarding impacts of the drought and some of the programs in place to mitigate both drought and flood events. The Carson district includes VC, Mark Twain and Gold Hill.  Mark Twain was listed as an area needing support for both flood and drought. As I listened to the presentation I tried to recall if I had ever seen the Highlands mentioned in these water updates or if it was part of any recent watershed study either thru the state or the Truckee Watershed. I couldn’t think of one. So, I asked Austin Osborn, planning, what if any water studies have been done of the Highlands recently. He said that part of the master plan for the Highlands is to have a survey done but that he needs to first finish the master plan then find a partner agency to do the study. There will be several recommendations coming from the Master Plan regarding how to address some of the water issues in the Highlands. I’m happy to hear that it’s in the plan but I’m not sure how proactive we can be if it takes several years to get the survey done.

The TRI public-Private partnership was approved for yearend 2014.  Since 1999 and to date we have accumulated about $47 million in debt to TRI, have paid it back with about $4 million in property tax credits and still owe about $42 million to TRI.

Austin Osborn gave a Master Plan update stating that’s it’s been a long process but that a lot of progress has been made and he hopes to complete it by mid-year 2016. Part of the update will be how Storey County deals with Planned Unit Developments (PUD). There are currently interim development regulations in place which placed a moratorium on any new projects until the full Master Plan is completed and approved.  This essentially protects the county from any imminent housing growth until we do a thorough update of the Master Plan to see if  these PUDs will negatively affect our existing communities, environment, infrastructure and water resources. I’m happy to see it.

Lastly, the Commission deliberated for over an hour on an ordinance amending the Storey County Health and Safety Code by adding a provision for how nuisances are handled. It’s a dry subject and the Commission took the time to really look at the implications of the recommended changes.  Specifically the process for legal recourse for both the subject of the nuisance complaint and the county.  The Commission discussed that the revised process should keep what is working well, ensure that there is a fair hearing process and takes care to maintain the cohesion of our communities and not create or exacerbate neighbor vs neighbor situations.

The Ccommission also discussed the balance needed between effective non-criminal methods to address some issues (barking dogs, noise) with a more structured framework to address other more labor intensive and potentially harmful issues.  One of these potentially harmful issues was brought up by Joe Curtis. Specifically that the power outage that VC and other parts of the County suffered during Sunday’s wind storm was caused by a piece of flying debris from a red tagged property near the sub-stations power transformer. A piece of 3×4 roofing tin hit the station.  This was the first reading of the ordinance so there will be some more revision based on commission inputs and a second reading in the future.

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