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Bill to regulate landscaping on new construction moves forward

An effort to update the county’s landscape code for new construction that will address water conservation in Pahrump has moved forward.

Nye County Water District Governing Board on Monday gave the go-ahead to a bill that aims to fulfill the water conservation specifications outlined in the 2014 planning district Master Plan Update, and the Basin 162 Groundwater Management Plan. The bill will not impact existing homes.

At the Jan. 11 meeting, the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission made a number of corrections pertaining to future construction and infrastructure.

Oz Wichman, the Nye County Water District Governing Board interim general manager said the Nye County Water District had asked the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission to work on implementing the Water Conservation Section of the Basin 162 Groundwater Management Plan.

“The GWMP remains in large part at the data gathering phase, such as the recently approved contract with Shaw Engineering to assist with identifying cost versus benefit with regard to physical infrastructure as outlined in the GWMP chapters,” Wichman said.

The Pahrump Regional Planning Commission requested to present the document to the Water District Governing Board for their review and comments.

“In my opinion, they’ve done in my estimation, everything they were supposed to do to comply with an ordinance to help in the direction we need to go with water conservation,” Dave Hall, Nye County Water District Governing Board chair said.

According to the proposed amendment, all required landscaping must consist of live native, xeric and drought-tolerant plants to minimize outdoor water use on landscapes.

Also, landscape plans must incorporate water conserving designs which includes appropriate soil, soil amendments, mulching and drainage. All applicants for building permits for construction that have an approved and certified site development plan must submit and have approved by the zoning administrator, a landscaping plan prior to issuance of a related building permit.

“What we’ve managed to do working in concert with the Groundwater Management Plan and other members of the RPC is to pull together those policies off the groundwater management plan off the master plan, and off the existing code, reform it into what I think is hopefully a much more streamlined ordinance,” Nye County Principal Planner Cheryl Beeman said at the Jan. 11 meeting.

Greg Hafen II, chair of the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission, said the staff went through the current code and compiled its different sections into one area. The staff also went through the master plan and the groundwater management plan.

“They tried to incorporate everything into this one ordinance, so there’s one landscape section you go to rather than having to go into different areas depending on what you are doing,” Hafen said.

The bill also imposes restrictions on watering schedules for new construction. The Nye County Water District set forth the days, time and duration of time allowed for outdoor watering.

From Nov. 1 through February, watering is limited to one day a week. From Sept. 1 through October and March 1 through April, watering is limited to three days per week. From May 1 through August, watering is allowed seven days of the week.

From May 1 until Oct. 1, sprinkler and drip system watering is prohibited from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

According to the preliminary data, the bill will head back to the RPC on Feb. 6 and will appear on the Nye County Commission’s agenda on April 18.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77

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