Washoe Valley: Preserve or Develop?

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WASHOE VALLEY -- It's hard to argue across the street from the historic Bowers Mansion and Bowers Mansion Regional Park isn't a prime spot. Right now the area between Bowers Mansion and I-580 is a meadow that's privately owned. Washoe County commissioners are slated to consider subdividing the area into 58 parcels at a meeting Tuesday -- a move that some residents say could lead to more homes being constructed.

"So many people come out here to enjoy this valley with us and we want to protect it for ourselves and their use too," Tim Salyer, a Washoe Valley resident, said. Salyer said he would like the area to be preserved.

Washoe County's director of planning and development, Bill Whitney, said public agencies have bought thousands of acres of land in the region for preservation.

"There's a lot of money involved in acquiring this land and it has been bought in chunks and this is the last chunk," he said.

However, Whitney said there has not yet been a deal for a public entity to buy the more than three-hundred acre area. The Bureau of Land Management said it is considering purchasing at least some of the property, but no deal has been reached. A spokesperson for the BLM said thanks to land sales in southern Nevada, there is enough funding to purchase the land in Washoe Valley. She did not disclose how much could be spent. Whitney said a committee is recommending commissioners proceed with dividing the land into parcels in case the deal does not happen.

"We have to look at these parcel maps that we approved in the light that they might actually happen," Whitney said.

Salyer said he is concerned about traffic and water rights if the area is developed.

Washoe County commissioners are slated to consider the issue Tuesday at 6 p.m.