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Water conservation plan for new development sent to county

The Pahrump Regional Planning Commission got the last shot at the proposed water conservation plan for a new development before sending it to Nye County commissioners.

At the Feb. 15 meeting, officials went over the revised version of the 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.

Darrell Lacy, county planning director, said that the bill has been discussed for several years in the master plan and Basin 162 Groundwater Management Plan. It will apply only to new construction in the Pahrump Valley.

“We already have an ordinance for conservation measures in the Nye County code of ordinances, and this is an amendment to that existing code to strengthen the conservation measures,” Lacy said. “It is designed to be prospective toward new development in the valley, not focused on existing people that live here and their existing lots.”

The ordinance does not apply to existing homes or businesses.

The ordinance would only apply to “large” development in the valley, and would not affect single home builders that build on small levels, said Greg Hafen II, Pahrump Regional Planning Commission chair.

“No home in existence today will be subject to this (plan), however, any new construction or new development will be subject to these ordinances, if approved by the board of county commissioners,” Hafen said.

Lacy said all new commercial and industrial development must submit landscaping plans as part of the approval process. Nnew master planned residential subdivisions must have approved guidelines.

The three utility companies serving the Pahrump Valley are required to have conservation plans and were involved in the approved ordinance.

“The rules do apply to new home construction but no approval or enforcement mechanism if outside of a master planned development or utility service area– if someone complains we could enforce through our normal code enforcement process, it would need to be a major violation before anyone would spend resources to enforce,” Lacy said.

One recently approved development that would have to comply with new standards is Beazer Homes.

In November, Nye County commissioners moved forward a development agreement with Beazer Homes Holding Corp. for a residential subdivision in Burson Ranch at Tesora in Pahrump.

Cheryl Beeman, Nye County principal planner, said the developer is going “completely native, without a requirement for outdoor water use in their front yards.”

According to the proposed plan, landscape plans must incorporate water conserving designs which include 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 before issuance of a building permit.

All salt cedars of any size must be removed before any new development in the valley, the rules said. Also, planting cool season grasses such as rye and fescue from seed is prohibited from May through August.

The portion of the plan that has to do with water conservation standards also specifies that automatic irrigation systems are required for all common areas, residential, agricultural and commercial landscaped areas.

All common areas, residential dwellings and commercial areas must comply with watering schedules issued by the Nye County Water District which sets forth the days, time of day 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 a week, according to the documents.

Summer watering restrictions allow landscape watering any day of the week through August. Watering newly installed sod is allowed daily for up to 30 days once per calendar year.

Final action on the item by Nye County commissioners is scheduled for April 18.

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

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