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Tougher planning regulations approved

Nye County Commission Chairman Dan Schinhofen Tuesday said property owners outside a utility service area could still subdivide residential lots smaller than five acres if they dig a community well, as commissioners approved tougher planning regulations designed to reduce future water demand.

The bill requires a minimum size of 10 acres to submit a parcel map in single-family residential areas and requires new parcels created to be at least five gross acres. It also mandates donating three acre feet of water rights for each new parcel instead of two acre feet.

The bill states that due to water concerns in the Pahrump Regional Planning District certificated water rights of three acre feet must be donated to the Nevada State Engineer’s Office for the approval of a parcel map outside a water service district.

Recently, developer Dan Harris told the Pahrump groundwater management commmittee a recent report showed water rights last year sold for an average of $3,026 per acre foot, meaning a donation of three acre feet would cost a property owner $9,078.

The Nye County Water District board recommended approval of the proposals Oct. 28, the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission added their endorsement Nov. 13. When first presented to the commission, Commissioner Frank Carbone asked the Basin 162 Groundwater Management Plan Advisory Committee to review it. The plan was approved April 14.

The groundwater committee is attempting to recommend ways to deal with an over-appropriation of water, with 62,000 acre feet allocated for water rights in Pahrump Valley and a perennial yield of only 20,000 acre feet.

Carbone said he had concerns people who own property today will be unable to subdivide into something smaller.

“You can still do it under a development agreement. It would have to be with a community well,” Schinhofen said. “This is, I think, a big step moving forward to show the state engineer we’re doing something to do this and all three of those other boards voted in favor of this.”

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