MEETING OF THE
STOREY COUNTY COMMISSION
VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS, LLC
TUESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2007
26 South B, 2nd Floor
Virginia City, Nevada
Reported by: Marcia L. Ferrell NV CCR #797
STOREY COUNTY COMMISSION:
JOHN FLANAGAN, CHAIRMAN
GREG "BUM" HESS, COMMISSIONER
BOB KERSHAW, COMMISSIONER
STOREY COUNTY STAFF:
WENDY BACUS, CLERK
HAROLD SWAFFORD, DISTRICT ATTORNEY
MARILOU WALLING, ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER
PAT WHITTEN, COUNTY MANAGER
DEAN HAYMORE, BUILDING OFFICIAL/BUILDING & PLANNING ADMINISTRATOR
FOR STOREY COUNTY:
MARK H. GUNDERSON
ATTORNEY AT LAW
5345 Kietzke Lane
Reno, Nevada 89511
FOR APPLICANT VIRGINA HIGHLANDS, LLC:
STEPHEN C. MOLLATH
Prezant & Mollath
6560 SW McCarran Blvd.
Reno, Nevada 89509
MARK E. AMODEI
Kummer, Kaempfer, Bonner,
Renshaw & Ferrario
5585 Kietzke Lane
Reno, Nevada 89511
G. BLAKE SMITH, SOMERSETT
GREG HAWS, THE PLANNING CENTER
VIRGINIA CITY, NEVADA
THURSDAY, JULY 19, 2007, 6:00 P.M.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: Okay.
MR. MOLLATH: Mr. Chairman, members of the commission. My name is Stephen Mollath, I'm the attorney for the applicant. With me here tonight is the applicant's representative, Blake Smith, managing member of Virginia Highlands LLC, Cordevista project. I also have with me here tonight Mark Amodei, attorney for the project, and our consultant, our main consultant Greg Haws, who will address the planning issues that we're going to discuss tonight.
I've provided at the planning commission, and which you also have -- I've talked to Mr. Gunderson, the special counsel -- what we refer to as the record. And the record is two binders Bates stamped and numbered Exhibits 1 through 133, starting with Bates stamp VH 0001, and they're in chronological order. They contain all the transcripts of the prior hearings, they contain all the submittals to the planning commission and staff, and they contain all the letters that were sent to -- for and against the project, to staff and the planning commission and the county commissioners.
We have agreed that Exhibits 1 through 133 constitute the record, except for a couple of items. The
first item was Exhibit No. 127, which is the Hi-Shear stipulation that was in 1989, the Delta V special use permit for the Hi-Shear property, which is the same property that we're talking about here tonight. Hi-Shear was the predecessor in interest to Virginia City Highlands, which we think -- well, it was referred to at the planning commission hearing relative to what the status of the property was, and we feel that should be as part of the record, since it's also a public record. And I know counsel had some concerns about whether that's relevant to this proceeding or not, but we submit that as part of the record.
And also Exhibit 133, which is a letter from Mr. Mark Amodei concerning some recusal issues regarding county commissioners. With those two things as an exception, I think the special counsel for the county and I agree that the two binders, Exhibits 1 through 133, constitute the record, except for what's going to be presented here tonight. That will be a supplement to the record.
And if I have stated that correctly, Mr. Gunderson, please advise.
MR. GUNDERSON: We have agreed that the agreed-upon record will include Exhibits 1 through 133, with the exception of 127 and 133.
MR. MOLLATH: And without waiving our right to ask that those records to be considered by the district court,
we understand the objections of Mr. Gunderson.
In regards to Exhibit 133, I'm going to ask Mr. Amodei, before I get into the presentation of the issues on the master plan and the zone change, I'd ask Mr. Amodei to address Exhibit 133 for a moment, if I may.
MR. AMODEI: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. For your record, Mark Amodei of the law firm of Kummer, Kaempfer, Bonner and Renshaw. I think the correspondence speaks for itself. I think the citation to the statute speaks for itself. So if there are any questions from the commissioners regarding the request, or counsel regarding the request on the record, I'd be happy to respond to those at this time.
MR. GUNDERSON: Well, thank you, Mr. Amodei. Since the letter was addressed to me, I'll respond to your request. I want to make sure that everyone understands that the documents and the letter you delivered was received by my office on Friday the 17th. There's a request in that letter for a substantial amount of investigation and due diligence on our part, and respectfully, we cannot and could not in the time frame necessary prepare a written response, which we fully intend to do. And we'll take that up at the appropriate time.
My only question to you is, are you taking the position that Commissioner Hess, in prospectively voting on
the Cordevista property, has actual bias?
MR. AMODEI: My answer to your question is an understanding of NRS 281 indicates that it is a two-step process. Before you can form an opinion on whether or not there is a bias, you must have a disclosure. And to quote the statute, that says, "You shall not act without disclosing --" and I'm quoting from 281 right now -"without disclosing sufficient information concerning the commitment or the interest to inform the public of the potential effect."
That is step one. So the position of the letter is with the conflicting statements reported in the media, compared with documents that are from the recorder's office, compared with documents that are in the secretary of state's office, it is impossible, with those conflicts, to form an opinion as to whether or not there is a bias.
And therefore, in order to form that opinion responsibly, the disclosure needs to be cleared up, in the context of is there an interest in a managerial sense; is there an interest in an ownership sense; are there documents that are unrecorded that followed; were there changes in the ownership of Civaletto. So the answer to your question directly is without an appropriate disclosure, it is not possible to form an opinion as to whether or not there is a bias.
MR. GUNDERSON: So the answer, the answer apparently is no.
MR. AMODEI: The answer is therefore, until a disclosure in accordance with the statute is provided, it is not possible to form an informed opinion about whether or not there is a bias.
MR. GUNDERSON: And so at this point, based on that information that you have, you are not making a claim of bias. Correct?
MR. Amodei: We are making a claim that there is a problem with the disclosure, and we are requesting that it be pursued.
MR. GUNDERSON: That's fine. Now, can you tell me why, Mr. Amodei, since this Cordevista project has been pending for the amount of time that it has, that it was only at the eleventh hour that this issue was raised?
MR. AMODEI: Well, actually, because the most contradictory statement that happened in the whole context of the letter is the one that was reported after the planning commission meeting, which indicates that people who thought that there was an interest, those were referred to in the article, if Mr. Hess was quoted correctly, as just allegations, and not true.
MR. GUNDERSON: Okay.
MR. AMODEI: So that was a complete repudiation of
the documents that are on file with the secretary of state, the documents that are on file with the Storey County recorder, and, to some extent, the document that you provided for the October disclosure regarding the previous project.
MR. GUNDERSON: Thank you, Mr. Amodei.
MR. AMODEI: Thank you. Any other questions regarding the correspondence? Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
MR. GUNDERSON: For the commission's edification, the letter, in my opinion, came too late to prepare an adequate and substantive response. And I think it manifestly unfair to place Commissioner Hess in the position that he is without having a chance to respond to these. He will be responding in an appropriate fashion at the point in time that it is appropriate to do so.
But at least at this point, there is just a first step of a two step process, and there is not an expressed claim of bias at this point as to Commissioner Hess participating in these proceedings. And I think it would be an untimely request if it were, in any event, so that would be my observations for the commission.
MR. MOLLATH: By that comment, Mr. Gunderson, is that -- am I to assume that there will be no disclosure at this hearing as to any involvement of Commissioner Hess?
MR. GUNDERSON: Just so you're clear, Mr. Mollath,
and so the record is clear, the breadth, depth, and extent of the materials submitted by Mr. Amodei was not capable of being researched in less than a one business day time frame. And therefore, we'll make the appropriate response to the request for disclosure once our due diligence has been completed in a reasonable period of time.
We are not in a position and could not be in a position, with the lack of timely application of the presentation of these facts, to make a response that would be responsible or responsive. So there will be no response tonight.
MR. MOLLATH: Okay, and that means no disclosure tonight of any fact or information concerning this matter?
MR. GUNDERSON: I don't know how many ways I can say it. There will be no disclosures tonight because of the lack of timely notice and the depth, breadth and complexity of the issues that have been raised by Mr. Amodei. We will, in the time frame that's provided for by statute, make the appropriate response.
MR. MOLLATH: With that, I'm going to go into the issues that are presented on the planning and zoning matters for this evening. As I indicated, I have Mr. Greg Haws here from The Planning Group, who will address the two issues that I believe are the issues before you tonight.
The first issue, which is a threshold issue, is
the appropriateness of an application for master plan amendment requested by staff to have this applicant process.
As I indicated in my letter of 7/13/07, Exhibit 47 in the record, to Pat Whitten, I believe that the request to file and thereafter process an application for a master plan amendment is inappropriate because we believe that the zone change to mixed use is consistent with the master plan. And if the zone change that is being requested is consistent with the master plan, then there's no need for a master plan amendment.
We have provided in the record, I believe at Exhibit 30, tab 20, a conformance table which Mr. Haws will get into with you and explain, which indicates that the mixed use zone change application is consistent with the master plan.
He will go over the master plan with you, and explain why we believe as an applicant that a master plan amendment is not necessary to be processed. But you requested that it be processed, and we have to go through that procedure.
But in no way do we construe or say that we waive any of our right to the master plan amendment application or the claim that the master plan amendment application is appropriate, because we believe that the master plan amendment is not necessary.
The second issue deals with the zone change. And of course in that regard we have Exhibit 110, which is the Cordevista impact staff report, which we agree with the conclusions of that report, I think it's a very good report that was prepared by staff. But these issues come into play after a zone change is made by way of a detailed and comprehensive review process. Mr. Haws will go through that process with you.
The key to any zone change is that the zone change has to be consistent with the master plan. And that gets back to the threshold issue, we believe that the zone change requested is consistent with the master plan.
Now, the State of Nevada has certain rules relative to master plans, which I don't think Mr. Gunderson would disagree with me, and those basic rules or principles are that the master plan can't be utilized as a legislative straitjacket within which to confine a public body in voting or determining or administering a master plan.
It has to be, secondly, read as a whole and looked at as a whole, not individual parts. So you can't pick a little part out of a master plan and say it's inconsistent with this section, but it's -- therefore it's inconsistent with the whole master plan. Mr. Haws will get through that with you when he does an analysis of the master plan.
So those are the basic legal principles that you
have to look at a master plan. You can't look at individual lines and words, you have to look at the whole plan, the scope and intent of the plan, how it's adopted, and whether that plan is something that is universal in nature, not specific in nature.
We've gone through a number of exhibits I'd like to kind of point out to you that I think are important. Mr. Haws will go over those with you.
We have the justification statement for the zone change, which is contained at VH 0058. And thereafter, we have a number of supplemental documents that have been provided in the record to staff, which is the Exhibit 9, the supplemental information tabs 1 through 7. Exhibits 13, 15, and 16, which are the expert reports on drainage and other technical matters. We have provided responses to the April 23rd, 2000 letter from Mr. Prater, and asking certain questions, that's Exhibit 20. And our responses to that are contained in Exhibits 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30 tabs 1 to 20 that talk about all the questions that were brought up by Mr. Prater on April 23rd, 2007.
Exhibit 37 was the traffic study. Exhibit 40 is the facts and rumors, the comparison of special industrial to mixed use, which I believe is the current zoning, versus the proposed zoning on the table on the right. Exhibit 43 is the housing study. And Exhibit 46 is the phasing letter.
Obviously a project of this side is going to be phased, and that process is done in the planning process after the zone change.
And clearly, in zone changes, you can't condition zone changes, you can make a zone change or deny a zone change. The conditions that are attached to projects are attached in a context of a special use permit, planning a new development, tentative map, and the like. So at this point in time we're just talking about a zone change, and you can't condition that.
But a couple things I guess I want to, you know, make you aware of is the process by which the master plan had included within it the property that is the subject matter of this case's -- or this evening's case, has a long history to it.
Usually, a planning process on a master plan is undertaken in a manner by which the governing body's planning commission, public input, and county commissioners go through a reasoned process to determine what's going to be included in the master plan, what should be part of the master plan, and how a community should thereafter thrive, expand, grow, the like.
In 1989 I represented Hi-Shear, which was the owner of the property that is the subject matter of the application today. Hi-Shear was the predecessor in interest
to Virginia Highlands. And at that time, because of certain things that occurred on the property, Storey County sought to revoke the special use permit for the use of that property as an explosives testing, manufacture, rocket testing plant. And there was a stipulation entered into, which is Exhibit 127 to the record, whereby the county, after the lawsuit that I filed against it, agreed that we would comply with certain conditions in the operation of that property as a rocket explosive and testing plant, and that property was carved out.
Bear in mind that prior to that stipulation we had a permit to operate that plant with no conditions on it. And by virtue of the stipulation, the county got certain conditions on it. Bear in mind, however, the county did not want to see that rocket plant and explosives facility continue.
Today, we're hearing kind of the opposite, that now we have a master plan that includes this rocket and testing plant, and therefore this applicant, even though it owns the same property, there's an inconsistency with the master plan, therefore there has to be an amendment.
Therein lies the issue. Because you have to look at a master plan on an overall basis and as a whole, and you can't just look at -- and I'm speaking from a legal standpoint now, you'll hear from a planning technical
standpoint from Mr. Haws.
But you just can't look at the fact that on the master plan there contained an element that said the Hi-Shear property is a rocket testing and explosives facility, therefore it's part of the master plan. It's inserted in the master plan by virtue of a judicial decree, not by virtue of a reasoned process in adopting a master plan by the county, which ordinarily would have been done.
And also there is nothing contained in the master plan which would indicate, separate and apart from its sole inclusion, that would indicate that this type of facility should be a part of this community in the master plan and the overall conduct of the development and growth of this community.
So with that said, I would like to turn it over to Mr. Greg Haws, who will go through with you first of all the threshold issue of the appropriateness of the application for master plan amendment, and thereafter go through with you the reasons from a planning standpoint why a zone change from special industrial to mixed use is appropriate, given all the circumstances. And we're here to thereafter answer any questions that you may have, and we appreciate the opportunity that you've given us to present this this evening. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: Mr. Haws?
MR. HAWS: Mr. Chairman, commissioners. As Mr. Mollath stated, my name is Greg Haws, I am the senior -- I'm a senior designer and director of the Utah office of The Planning Center of Draper, Utah.
The Planning Center is a large planning firm that specializes large scale planning issues. I've been with The Planning Center nearly 10 years, and as a professional planner, and I've personally been manager, project manager, for four very large projects around the country that are similar in size and complexity to the entire county of Storey County.
I managed the Kennecott master plan. Kennecott is transitioning from a mining operation in Salt Lake City, that's 93,000 acres. I managed the Centennial project, which is a 273,000 acre master plan transitioning to home ranch, to residential development, and recent managed the Estrella Mountain Ranch project just outside of Phoenix, Arizona. And in the process of working on that project, it evolved into not just a small master plan, but an analysis of an entire region of approximately 240,000 acres.
As Mr. Mollath described, I will be discussing two things. I will discuss compliance with the master plan, and discuss the zone change.
As a professional planner, I painstakingly reviewed your master plan. And as a result of that
investigation, I personally prepared this compliance analysis that's found in the record, as Mr. Mollath indicated. Based upon that thorough review, as a professional planner, my opinion is that a master plan amendment is not required for the Cordevista project. I'd like to go through with you the master plan, and cite some of the key references that support my conclusion.
Chapter 1, Introduction. Says the purpose of the master plan is to provide goals and objectives for the development of Storey County.
On the next page, in Section 1.2, Land Use Master Plan Development, it states, "A further goal of this master plan is derived essentially from the desire to preserve and improve the present quality of life in Storey County, to resist change -- changes detrimental to the historic integrity of the Virginia City area, and to define geographic growth areas, and to direct growth in all parts of the county."
There's an assumption here that's very important. The assumption is that change will occur, and growth will occur in Storey County.
One of the key purposes of looking at a master plan is to identify the goals and objectives. Let me just go through this analysis. Section 1.4. It says Chapter 2, Population. Goal number one, "Anticipate population changes
and the level of county provided services needed to accommodate that change." Change will occur.
Chapter 3, Economy. Goal number one, "Enhance diversification of economic opportunities within the county." That when this document was created, Storey County had a problem. They relied solely on tourism in Virginia City to support the county. Someone had the vision and foresight to put in here that we need to diversify the economic base for the county.
There's a recommendation right underneath there. "Contact the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada regarding membership and the coordinated development of prime industrial land in the River District." Referring to the area where TRI has now been approved and is up in development.
Chapter 4, Housing. Goal number one, "Encourage that adequate housing is provided all residents of the county through zoning and planning." There's a nexus between economic development and the responsibility to provide housing for people who work and live in Storey County.
Goal number three of Chapter 7 -- of Chapter 8, Cultural Resources. "Protect the petroglyphs from vandalism." As stated earlier this evening, you had an incident there where vandals had come in and desecrated a
national treasure. Cordevista has pledged to protect the petrogyphs, in compliance with the master plan.
Chapter 9, Land Use. Goal number three, "Provide for the orderly development of the largest undeveloped area in the county, north and east of Virginia City and south of the Truckee River." The area that is indicated is exactly where the Cordevista project is.
Objective 3.1, right under goal number 3, "Working with regional economic development authorities, private landowners, and state government agencies, initiate a study of the resources in this area -- of this area and its potential for residential, industrial, recreational, or other types of development. Such a study would lead to orderly and desirable development, enhance the natural amenities of the area and increase the county's tax revenues."
Cordevista accomplishes objective 3.1 of your own master plan.
Section 4.3, Growth Prospects. This refers specifically to what might happen if a large industrial project like TRI was implemented. "Currently no future growth prospects have been identified in Storey County that would accelerate the county's population growth beyond the expected rate. Industrial growth along Highway 50 and Interstate 80 and in-migration from Washoe County, Carson
City and the State of California could increase the rate of population growth over the forecasts prepared by the state demographer."
There's an assumption in this document stating that if there's a successful industrial project in the county, there's a necessary population increase that needs to be accounted for.
Section 4.5, Land Inventory. "Storey County land inventory suggests there are enough parcels of land to support growth through the year 2000." Seven years ago. "Much of the vacant land is intended for residential use."
Let me go back up above, one paragraph up, there's a definition of vacant unknown. "Under current Storey County Code, these parcels are zoned forestry." The time this document was adopted, the exact property recorded this is, was zoned forestry. It wasn't until 1999 that the zone for this project, this property, was changed to special industrial.
"Converting parcels of land from vacant unknown to vacant single family will depend upon access to the land, water availability, suitability of the land for development, and required services. Future consideration should be made for households who earn relatively low wages by designing additional parcels of land for the development of multi-family housing units. Based upon the availability of
vacant land and accessibility, future growth can be expected to be limited to the four communities. However, there is a large amount of land in the north-central section of the county which is in private ownership and has considerable development potential."
Storey County Management Plan is identifying the Cordevista property as an area that has considerable development potential. And states in that same paragraph residential, industrial, and so forth.
You know, I searched at great depths to find in the goals and objectives one item that suggested that the Cordevista project, property, should be a rocket testing plant. There are no goals and objectives in your master plan that suggests this land use. There's one citation in section 9.1.5, The Great Interior, that speaks directly to the Aerojet facility.
Why was that included in the master plan? As Mr. Mollath has explained, back in 1989 Storey County wanted to revoke the existing specific use permit for Hi-Shear. Hi-Shear won that, and were able to keep their special use permit intact. That inclusion in the zoning code in 1999 was based upon a judicial decree to protect the preexisting nonconforming use of a -- that's very nice. Feels like an oldtime dance.
The judicial decree was to protect a preexisting
nonconforming use by an existing landowner. That landowner has changed, and is now requesting a zone change from special industrial to mixed use development.
Finally, in summary, in terms of the master plan analysis. The master plan is very clear. It calls for economic development. The TRI is the embodiment of that economic development. It was a great concept to diversify the economic base of the county, the TRI satisfied the needs. The master plan also identified key growth areas. There are very limited growth areas where development can be accommodated. Mr. Smith in other meetings previous to this showed exhibits where there's only a limited amount of area in the central part and northern part of the county that can accept development.
Based upon my thorough examination of this document, I find that the Cordevista project is in compliance with the Storey County Master Plan.
MR. HAYMORE: Mr. Commissioners, can I respond to some of the comments?
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: Go ahead.
MR. HAYMORE: Commissioners, my name is Dean Haymore, I'm the Storey County Building Official and Planning Administrator. I took this office on June 8th, 1987. My first day on the job I was in court all day defending Boardwalk, the second day I red-tagged Hi-Shear
and closed them down. Because of noncompliance, and everything that was going on up there.
With that, I implemented the -- was the one that asked the county commissioners to have a show cause hearing to pull their special use permit to run a rocket fuels plant up there, because of numerous complaints, numerous noncompliances, and numerous explosions. Typically, three explosions that exploded many of the buildings 100 feet away.
So with that, the county commissioners did have a show cause hearing. I said in this meeting Hi-Shear at that time said they wanted to be good neighbors, and Mr. Mollath was correct, the next day we were sued. We hired outside counsel to work with us, and then we came up with -- there was some stipulations in the special use permit that was enforceable on the original special use, that was approved and in place before I took office.
Some of those were unreasonable and unsafe. Some of those we negotiated with compliance, and came out with an understanding -- and it wasn't anybody won, it was an understanding of what their special use meant, and what they could do in that operation up there at that facility.
With that, I was the one that implemented and asked the county commissioners, when we saw the potential of the land of TRI, took the county commissioner out there and
showed him, and he told me, the county commissioner said put a planning commission together, and we started with the master plan.
Some of this master plan referred in there -- and I want to refer back to some of the things that Greg said, excuse me. "The further goals of this master plan is derived essentially from a desire to preserve and improve the present quality of life in Storey County."
I take that very serious as my responsibility to all the residents of Storey County, to preserve and enhance the quality of life of everybody that lives in Storey County.
With that, he is correct that it was reactionary that we put in the master plan, under that time -- Hi-Shear changed their name to Defense Systems. Hi-Shear -- I spent two weeks in Reno with the EPA and the FBI, and we stung and hit Hi-Shear and found numerous violations which related into $1.3 million worth of fines and two gentlemen put in jail for five years.
So with that, Defense System then sold, and that's why you see the word Aerojet. And Aerojet bought the facility, worked with us, and worked with us on making sure we had the proper buffer zones, because of what it was permitted to do out there; they were making rocket motors, they were making explosives that would leave the ground,
that needed to be tested in the area, that were very unsafe. So we are -- Mr. Haws is correct, we did, reactionary, put that in the master plan that we needed to put a proper zoning out there for the protection of the owners and the protection of the surrounding residents.
What is not correct is Storey County does not believe that's a good zoning. We don't, and I'll say that, because it's a nasty zoning. And we're concerned about that, and we need to address that zoning out there currently.
Mr. Blake Smith says if he cannot get his change, that he can go in there, and he is correct, he can go in there and bring those kind of companies in. We've experienced that with our neighbor in Lyon County, where they put one down right by a school, and with an explosion or a disaster it can poison all the people around, and we're concerned about that. And that is my job, to protect and preserve the quality of life of every taxpayer and every worker and everyone in Storey County.
So I just wanted to let you know there's
a lot of history behind what happened there. Why we did it, and where we
Mr. Mollath is correct. If this was approved, this is so big that every part of the master plan needs to be changed. Every part of the master plan completely
changes in Storey County. Where we don't have busing, we can't afford to get busing out there to the employees now. Every part of the environmental, every part of the recreational, every part of the fauna, every part of the master plan has to change.
And so I firmly still believe that an amendment is required so we know the impacts on our current master plan. And this project would cause those impacts. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: Thank you. Just one moment. Pat?
MR. WHITTEN: Mr. Chairman, for your record, Pat Whitten, Storey County Manager. First off, I commend the three of you, all three of you, for specifically taking this process and letting it run its course through our planning commission. I am exceptionally proud, I've attended I believe every hearing, every county held hearing on this matter, and I think they have done an extremely thorough job.
I want to make sure that as you consider their decision that you base your decision on the facts. And I'm a little worried about that, because quite honestly, this has been an extremely thorough process. We've provided you copies of every transcript, although I apologize the most recent transcript of the Virginia City hearing wasn't delivered until yesterday, due to delays.
What I want to tell you, what I've learned in this process, is -- and no disrespect to Greg or others, we've worked with him throughout this process and others -- is we can bring up other plans that can give you the other side of that story. Staff's job isn't to try to sway your opinion. Staff's job, quite honestly, is to hit the ball straight down the middle. And as I think I heard Dean say, follow through on whatever the decisions are.
But taking a couple of those statements that I heard, and going through the process that I've watched our planning commission go through, I take some pretty strong exception. You know, A, you can hear the statement and take it at face value one of the requirements of our master plan -- which is a good document by almost everybody's standards -- is to ensure that adequate housing is provided.
Well, I have to tell you, you know, we've got a lot of houses on the books. You guys have approved, through both the planning commission process, a master plan amendment, went through the same process as we have requested this developer and this applicant to go through. You've already approved the master plan amendment and the zone change under the very same circumstances at the Painted Rock development. Is that a level of adequate housing? That's really for you to determine.
We provide for orderly development. This probably
is my biggest concern, I have made several speeches trying to stay as independent as I can. We have 4,110 people in our county right now. With 22, 2500 acres in Painted Rock, another 3500 homes anticipated, just the Painted Rock development, that is going to take our county up, using 2.7 residents per housing, that's going to take our county residents up over 12,000.
I question the staff, and we tried to question in the staff report, which has already been recognized as a good document that needs to be addressed somewhat down the road, how orderly can a development be with 17,500 additional homes.
The master plan calls for economic development. And again, a statement that I do agree with, is TRI satisfies that.
The last issue that I really have, and again I want to be sure that you focus on as you consider this, is the fact that if we are going to preserve and enhance -- which is the overall theme of that master plan -- you have to take a look, I believe, at the appropriateness of this project as it has been submitted and as it has been heard, and not necessarily as it may be adapted tonight or in the future. Thank you.
MR. HAWS: I respectfully disagree with you, Dean. And I think the master plan does not need to be completely
overhauled if things will change, however. That growth is foreseen in your own master plan.
The issue here is whether we are compliant with what it states in the master plan. I do respectfully submit as a professional planner that we do comply with the goals and objectives as stated in the plan.
I want to speak now about zone change. My experience, working with very large scale planning efforts, they tend to be very complex. There are a lot of issues surrounding a plan of large pieces, large contiguous pieces. But going through all those complexities, there's a simple formula. We're going to give you a little planning 101, here. There are three main ingredients for a sound large scale plan.
You need to identify first the vision. What is the vision for this place. Well, you have a vision. It's stated clearly in your master plan. It identifies what this place wants to be. One of the critical objectives was to increase the diversification of economic development. That has resulted in establishment of TRI. That changes things significantly.
The second thing a large scale plan needs to have is it needs to identify structure. What are the infrastructure requirements to support that vision? What is the circulation plan required to support that vision? What
are the critical public amenities that will be required to support that vision? A lot of time is dedicated to crafting what that structure is.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I'd like a point of order, please. On the agenda here it says that this requested zone change will only be heard when and if the master plan amendment has been approved as requested.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: Our attorney advises that he's right.
MR. MOLLATH: Counsel, am I to interpret that as we are precluded from presenting the testimony of our expert concerning the propriety of the zone change as it relates to the master plan amendment and all issues related thereto?
MR. GUNDERSON: No. What I said was what's on the agenda tonight is to vote up or down on the planning commission's decision related to the master plan amendment. Because they did not reach the zone change request.
To the extent that you're addressing the comments to the master plan, Mr. Mollath, you certainly have free rein to do that. But I think the concern is that we're going to wander far afield and talk about zone changes, when in fact what's really on the agenda tonight is the master plan amendment.
We're. not going to cut you off, you may make your presentation.
MR. MOLLATH: Because I don't -- I disagree, counsel, that the only issue tonight is the master plan amendment. I don't really care what the planning commission did or didn't do in their wisdom. What I care about is the application that we filed was for a master plan amendment, the request of staff, and a zoning change application. We are entitled to have both the planning commission consider that in any way, shape or form that they desire to consider it, and we are entitled to have the county commissioners consider that in any shape, manner or way they're entitled to. But we're entitled to have our evidence presented and a decision made.
MR. GUNDERSON: Did I not just say that, Mr. Mollath?
MR. MOLLATH: I think you did, but I just want to make this clear.
MR. GUNDERSON: You need to listen to me and not make a speech. What I said was you may make your presentation. I told you this two days ago, and you may. You use the time however you wish. We both agreed that you would take no more than an hour to do so, and according to my calculations you're about 35 or 40 minutes into it. Use your time however, make your presentation, but what the planning commission did is what the primary issue is for this commission to address. So make your case and make your
MR. MOLLATH: And I'll again turn it over to Mr. Haws, and we'll discuss the zone change issues as it relates to the master plan.
MR. GUNDERSON: And I said that was fine.
MR. MOLLATH: Okay.
MR. HAWS: Again, reiterating. First thing is to identify a vision, which you've done in the master plan. The second is to identify structure. The third thing, third and final critical issue with large scale planning is to define the economic engine. How can we sustain the vision. How can we sustain a community. Your master plan does that.
You know, economic development is like planning for retirement. And your own master plan states it best, it says in Chapter 3.1, the goal number one, "Enhance diversification of economic opportunities within the county."
In other words, it says don't put all of your eggs in one basket. We learned a lot of lessons on September 11th about that very thing. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket. Our request to change the existing zone from special industrial 2 to mixed use development will help the county accomplish this goal.
Cordevista complements TRI, as it diversifies the economic opportunities for the county. It also provides
housing to ensure the long-term success of what you've already done.
It is my belief that existing zoning on this property is unnecessary and redundant in the shadow of the country's largest industrial park. In my professional opinion, a few more of the same eggs in the same basket is not a wise thing to do.
I applaud you as a commission for implementing your master plan. It's a good plan, it's a great document. It's visionary, it's forward-thinking.
You did the right thing with TRI. TRI changes everything. It changes the context, it changes the rationale for adjacent land uses. it impacts the county severely. A lot of those things have already been done.
You did the right thing with TRI, it's a great economic engine and a diverse economic base for this county. You did the right thing with Painted Rock. Painted Rock is the first response and step in making sure that TRI is a success. But it's not the final step, it's only the first step.
You did the right thing. I implore you to stay the course. Make the very difficult decisions that you have before you to make sure that the plan, the master plan for Storey County, is a success. Cordevista is the next step, the next very difficult decision to make sure that the
master plan is a success.
My final statement is I believe that the zone change from mixed use development -- from special industrial to mixed use development is sound planning. Those are my comments.
Do you have any questions?
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: Thank you.
MR. HAWS: Thank you very much.
MR. MOLLATH: I believe we probably have about 15 or 20 minutes left, and I reserve that for rebuttal.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: We'll move on to the speakers. I'll remind you again it will be three minutes each. The first one is Rusty Aldrich.
MS. ALDRICH: Rusty Aldrich, Virginia City. Is this working?
MS. WALLING: Pull it down a little bit.
MS. ALDRICH: Is that better?
MR. HAYMORE: Speak in the little one.
MS. ALDRICH: Okay, Joanne Aldrich, Virginia City. I'm here to present the petitions that were circulated on the Cordevista issue, although Cordevista was not mentioned by name, and the attempt was in the language of the petition to address the long-term planning issues. So I'll read my statement, if I may.
I wrote the petition, and I hereby submit the
original master plan petition to Storey County Commissioners.
Included are 35 sheets signed by 617 Storey County residents between March 25th and April 13th. We actually got more signatures, but they kind of fell by the wayside after I presented this to the commission, so I'm giving you an exact copy of what the planning commission got.
On behalf of the hundreds of Storey County residents who signed the petitions, spoke out, wrote letters, attended meetings, and consistently expressed a widespread grassroots consensus against Cordevista and similar developments over the last year, we hereby make a formal request that Storey County Commissioners take a stand on the following three issues outlined in the petition language.
I'd like to clarify the language a little bit, I'm not going to repeat what the plan says -- or what the petition says, because you have copies in front of you. But I'll give my comments.
We ask that you bring this issue to a vote of the people by the way of including language on the Nevada state ballot that would henceforth make it illegal for any developer or group of developers to circumvent the intentions stated in the current Storey County Master Plan without going through a formal master plan update process
first that includes public hearings.
We ask that you commit to completion of the master plan update process within the next two or three years. As part of the update process, please commit to conducting open and honest public hearings for the purpose of presenting research, discussing options, and soliciting public input prior to the preparation of a final draft document.
We ask that you implement a moratorium on applications for large scale residential developments by instructing the planning commission not to consider any such amendments, rezones or changes to the master plan until Storey County residents speak on the issue by casting their votes in a county-wide election.
We expect you to reject Cordevista tonight as recommended by the courageous planning commission, and to stand with us against those who do not have our best interests at heart.
And I thank every one of you. Commissioners, county staff, and all the wonderful people of Storey County. It was a community effort, and I believe we will prevail here tonight. Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: Second speaker will be David Abel.
MR. ABEL: My name is Dave Abel, A-b-e-l. I've been a Highland resident for 27 years, also Storey County
resident. And with the assertion by Mr. Amodei over here as far as Bum's causing us all to be here in unison to vote against this and not support this travesty in our county, I'd like to rebut that. Because I myself am a columnist for a local paper up here, and since this whole project started I have pounded this gentleman here constantly without any rebuttal in the paper as far as the accusations that I've made against him.
He's promised this county, and he's hit up certain areas of this county basically with smoke and mirror propaganda. One of them is that he would supply the Highlands with water. Well, he might supply it with water, but to get it to the whole populace in the Highlands it probably would be estimated at a couple hundred million dollars.
Secondly, he promised Lockwood he would quit -- stop the flooding down there and supply new schools. I don't believe it's up to him to stop flooding in Lockwood, it's up to the county to do something about that. And as far as the schools go, Painted Rock is going to have schools that are long before a proposed subdivision, new city I'd like to call it, in the middle of -- on the zone map up there you can see that this area is right in the middle of TRI. What's wrong with it being a part of TRI, rather than a bunch of homes in there?
The developer of TRI at the planning commission meeting said that they didn't really need the housing from Cordevista. They have plenty of people out there to work. Also, he said that -- and one of Mr. Smith's presentations out on the Highlands, they showed basically an access through TRI to Cordevista. Well, he denied that, too, he said that that isn't at the time been approved, either.
Excuse me. And the other thing about Mr. Amodei over here, he's asking Mr. Hess to probably recuse himself from this vote when -- what are you, our elected official? Senator? Or are you a high bucks lawyer for Mr. Smith over here? What are you? You're claiming -?
MR. AMODEI: That was in the transcript.
MR. ABEL: You're claiming Bum has organized all of us in this county to petition against Mr. Smith. There's got to be something else going on, because actually, we don't want that there. We want the commission to basically follow our master plan, no matter what the expert on master plans said that you sit in front of us. You can get a lawyer to decide anything, to fight any side of anything. That's what's happening here, and all that's happening with this gentleman here.
All I can say is I just -- I plead with you guys, John, Bob, and Bum, follow our master plan, and deny this project. That's all I have to say, thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: The next speaker is Bill Sjovangen.
MR. SJOVANGEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll try to be as brief as Dave. I want to say first of all I'm amazed at how the residents of Storey County have on their own pulled together on this project and many others in the past. I think this Cordevista project in particular has really galvanized this county. They've acted as individuals and small groups, they've written letters, they've collected signatures on petitions, they've put up a number of websites about Cordevista, they've passed out fliers, they've nailed up signs, and all this has been done with their own volition.
And all, for the most part, in opposition of Cordevista. The residents have come together in unity many times in the past before this commission, before the planning commission, and in fact before the state legislature. And I think that it says a great deal for the people in this county. They know what's going on, and they know what's best for them.
The Cordevista project, as far as I'm concerned, is totally counter to the county master plan. That area was zoned for special industrial, slash, forestry for very good reason. The area was never designated and never intended to become residential area. We've got too many problems up
there, you cannot mix residential and industrial. We're going to have some problems down the road with TRI if we put residential up there. There are going to be residents running into big trucks, all sorts of problems.
And in closing, I would encourage you to approve the minutes of the planning commission meeting. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: The next speaker would be James Reeves.
MR. REEVES: My name is James Reeves, and hopefully I'll be able to speak loud enough so all of you can hear. This is the second meeting I've been to where I can't hear anything.
I've been a resident here for four years, five years in Clark County. And I have a question. Has there been an environmental impact report requested and done? I don't think there has been, but I can tell you this, we live in a desert. If you want to see what happens if you don't look out for your environment, go to Clark County, take a look at Lake Mead. This is what happens when people develop in a place that's a desert.
We live in a desert. Take a drive over a desert, just two wheels, and see how long it takes for that to redevelop. It takes years.
This thing is a monster. And it's a mistake. I spoke with Mr. Smith over the phone after having driven out
to take a look at where he's going to get his water. I had a nice discussion with him. He wouldn't divulge to me where he's going to get his water. But I can tell you people, if we don't have water -- and our table is going down every year, the static level is going down, down, down. And any -- if you people don't know it, you're deep, your well is really deep. We have run out of water. We have a lot of friends who are running out of water. We live in a desert. So kill this thing. Please.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: Cathy Lee James.
MS. JAMES: Thank you for the opportunity to speak. Contrary to my customary wont I've written it down, because I'd like it to become part of the record.
I'm Cathy Lee James, and I'm a proud resident of Virginia City and even prouder resident of Storey County, and I'll tell you the two reasons why. In times where it seems there's a dearth of honesty and openness in governments we often feel our voices fall on ears of politicians who act heedless of those they represent. It's an absolute joy to live in a county where the opposite is true.
And our neighbors in this 4,000 strong county are an equal joy. We are an eclectic lot, but we know how to work together to protect the good life we've found here in Storey County. The best example of those two things played
out in the last several months since Blake Smith came to town. The root is this textbook case of how good, honest government and determined citizen activism should work.
From the inception of the Cordevista proposal, Blake Smith and Mark Amodei have been given every possible opportunity to make their case for the massive development they hope to impose on the heart of this rural county. They have offered town hall meetings, we've attended them in droves. They've contacted residents through The Post, we dutifully read everything they purported to say as truth. They utilized AT&T in their attempts at persuasion in untold numbers of phone calls.
And finally, they've been extended the gift of fine locations by our open, honest and deliberate body of planning commissioners. No less than four planning commission meetings were held in all quarters of the county so that no residents could avoid the impact of the Cordevista proposal's 27 three-by-six colored glossy placards with the circles and arrows and paragraphs in the back of each one.
We've listened, we've deliberated, and we, the citizens -- residents of Storey County came to the conclusion that Cordevista is not right for our county. And we came together as citizens of this county to say no, and we said no resoundingly. over 600 residents signed their
names to that resounding no.
That 600 is especially notable considering it's over half of Storey County residents who voted in the last election. Notably, this is in stark contrast to the Painted Rock development proposal, which garnered not a single voice raised in opposition.
Concurrently, our local government deliberated over months of meetings. They came to the same resounding conclusion, Cordevista is not right for our county. And they voted it down.
Today we await the commissioners' approval or denial of that decision. We hope fervently that the commissioners will concur with our planning commissioners. That they, all three of our Storey County commissioners, have conducted themselves with honor and dignity throughout the process, eschewing any involvement in either the planning commission meetings and deliberative process or the grassroots movement of the citizens of Storey County.
As I said at the outset, a textbook case of how good, honest government and determined citizen activism should work. I could say a shining example in a weary world, but I won't. Let us hope that it remains that way. Let us hope that our good names and our good government and our good county are not dragged into court if the purveyors of massive developments are not given their way. Let us
hope that doing things the right way from beginning to end is given the respect and honor it deserves.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: Let's see, I'm having a little trouble reading this next one. Jim Work?
MR. WATSON: Jim Watson.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: Jim Watson.
MR. WATSON: Jim Watson, I live on Geiger Road in the Highlands. You're a hard act to follow.
There's a couple things that I want to bring up in particular. I sat at every meeting, and there were several questions that I never got answers to. I got a lot of evasive answers. There's one, for instance, when I said your definition of open space, I never found that out. The other thing that has come up recently, what this community needs is a change in the zip code before any of this happens. That's got to be changed before any of this happens.
If you won't pay attention to history, you're going to repeat it. The petroglyphs represent history. That type of area, that type of historical area, needs to be preserved. Not by a developer. I think it needs to be preserved by the county or some organization that's capable of doing it correctly.
The first thing I want to do is thank the planning commission for all their work. I cannot believe the hours
and the time and their attention to detail. It's really appreciated by me, and I know by everybody I know.
The other thing is when you talk about the industrial special use area, and it shouldn't happen because it's nasty. I'm an explosive engineer, I worked with explosives for most of my life. Believe me, that's something safer than driving on Cordevista streets. There are so many federal regulations, state and federal, governing explosives, governing chemicals, that you're going to have a lot of support handling that. It won't be between the residential developers and the county, you'll have all the other organizations involved. It's not a bad deal.
Again, thank you very much. Thank you, commissioners.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: The next speaker is Thomas Purkey.
MR. PURKEY: Thank You, Mr. Chairman. My name is Tom Purkey, I'm a resident of Virginia City. I'm also a professional planner, I've been a certified professional city planner for over 25 years. And I'm very confused about the argument that Mr. Mollath and company there seem to be presenting, that this master plan doesn't need to be amended in order to approve their proposed zoning ordinance. It's very clear to me, reading this, that this master plan does present a clear vision for Storey County.
For instance, Section 1.2 Paragraph 2 states, "Since 90 percent of the county land is in private hands, the potential threat of change is perceived to come from large scale land subdivisions. This type of development could destroy the historic land use patterns, unique social and architectural environment of Virginia City and Gold Hill area, and other values which residents want to protect."
I don't see how you can possibly approve a zoning change that has -- that comes behind this type of a clause in the master plan. The zoning ordinance has to conform to the master plan. As long as this clause is in the master plan, I don't see how you can approve the zoning ordinance. And I don't see how you -- why you would want to change that clause in the master plan.
There's been talk about the master plan presenting a vision for the county, and I think this master plan does present a vision for the county. If you want that vision to change, then change the master plan. But I think that the people here, and myself included, don't want to see that vision changed.
And I moved here for a reason, and I would like to see this community, this county, adhere to what -- the vision that has already been presented and written up in the master plan that has been in effect for a number of years now. I don't think the community wants to change that
So it's -- you know, I've been to the planning commission hearings on this issue, and I just want to say in my professional career I have never seen the planning commission do such a great job in looking at a proposal, coming up with questions that addressed the issues, and making a sound decision based on questions and on the issues that are being presented to them.
So you know, I think you've got to, for the vision of this community, you've got to hold to this master plan. This master plan governs what the zoning ordinance may eventually be. But, you know, I don't think the community wants the master plan changed, and I think that the planning commission has done such a stellar job in these hearings, and looking at this issue, that you're not going to have much chance of losing a lawsuit that may or may not come.
So it's -- I would like to thank the planning commission, I just hope that you will uphold their recommendation.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: That is the last speaker.
MR. MARGOLIN: Excuse me, I didn't get to fill out one of those forms. Could I have a few minutes?
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: Okay.
MR. MARGOLIN: My name is Jed Margolin, I live in Virginia City Highlands. Blake Smith has a history of
providing important documents to the commission and this board at the last minute. He provided his white binder to the planning commission two days, I believe, before that meeting. His master plan. The transcript for the planning commission meeting was provided to the county I believe Friday afternoon. It was provided in a format that requires special software to read it.
I received that on Monday, and was able to convert it to PDF and post it on my website that evening, which is way too late for the majority of people to have read it. And that is an extremely important document. I believe that shows disrespect for the process.
In speaking to that -- I'm just roaming on, I'm sorry. I urge this board to accept the recommendations of the planning commission. It's my understanding that Blake would have a year, and then he could file a new application. Is that correct? Does anybody know?
MR. HAYMORE: I think so.
MR. MARGOLIN: And I would recommend that during that year, Blake and his family move up here, and -- and live among us, and then you'll understand this county. And hopefully, you will love it as much as we do. And maybe you'll make some changes in your plan.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: You can go ahead with your rebuttal.
MR. MOLLATH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm going to have Mr. Haws come up and address the issues that the public has brought up concerning the master plan. But what kind of disturbs me is what I'm hearing from the audience and citizens here is we need to change this master plan and the rules mid-stream, and words like moratorium. The issue that's really before you is whether this master plan allows and treats as consistent a mixed use development. If the master plan allows that, then the zoning change has to go forward. And then the issue becomes is the zoning change appropriate from special industrial to mixed use.
Now, all the process of how that development unfolds, how big it's going to be, the infrastructure, that's for another day. That's not for what we are here for today. But what I'm hearing is we don't need any more bunches of housing. Follow the master plan and deny the project.
It is our opinion that the master plan allows for this project. And it was intended to be residential in this particular area along with a mixed use.
So I'm going to have our consultant, Mr. Haws, address those issues relative to the consistency with the master plan. How much time -- Madam Clerk, how much time do we have? Roughly.
MR. GUNDERSON: 8 minutes 33 seconds. About.
MR. HAWS: In the comments that were made, I heard the topics of six different issues brought up. Water. Storey County has a massive water problem. What is the county going to do to solve the water problem of the Highlands?
Mr. Smith has proposed a potential solution. It's not the only solution, it's a potential solution. I haven't heard any other recommendations from anyone on how to solve that problem. There's a big problem.
Housing. You know, Painted Rock would satisfy the short-term generation needs for TRI. I'm not disputing that, that is the right short-term solution. But we're talking about job generation of 180,000 jobs.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Bullshit.
MR. HAWS: Potential -- the potential is there for --
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: Let's have order.
MR. HAWS: It's not -- it's not just a Storey County problem. The satisfaction, satisfying that job -- that housing need is a regional problem. Storey County shares part of the responsibility. A great share of that responsibility.
You're not going to just solve it with one project, you're not going to solve it with two. You're not going to solve all that demand in Storey County. I'm just
saying there's a housing problem coming your way that needs to be addressed.
Cordevista will not happen overnight. Everybody is -- I think there's a paranoia that with an approval we're going to run out and build this thing next week. It's not going to happen that way. You can't build a project of this size and scale overnight. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't start thinking about it today.
You should start thinking about it today, because sound and orderly development doesn't occur on a last-minute approval. It occurs with well-thought-out planning. That starts today. It may be unpopular, but that's the reality of it. Storey County embarked on a direction several years ago, that's the reality.
History. Somebody brought up the history of Storey County. Interesting. Storey County has one of the most colorful histories of any place I've ever read about. It's a long history of boom towns and busts. But why did those -- there was 25,000 people living here in Virginia City at one point. Why did those places fail? The economic engine went away.
Do not -- don't fool yourself in thinking -- don't make the same mistake twice. You have a great potential economic driver for this county that needs to be carefully supported and sustained in order for it to be sustainable.
Storey County needs sustainable economic development. You set a great course for that, achieving that goal.
A gentleman just referred to a statement in the master plan that says that 90 percent of the area is privately owned, and you should be aware of large developers. That statement actually refers to the Gold Hill and Virginia City area, it does not apply -- does not apply -- it's not crafted, that language is not directed toward the greater interior. It is specifically for Virginia City and Gold Hill area.
And finally, Cordevista is downzoning. The application for a master -- for a mixed use is downzoning from a special industrial to mixed use development. Painted Rock was an upzone from forestry to mixed use.
Those are my comments. Within 8 minutes and 33 seconds.
MR. GUNDERSON: Mr. Mollath, is there anything further you wish to present or any other arguments that you would like to make with regard to the current matters before the commission?
MR. MOLLATH: How much time do I have left?
MR. GUNDERSON: As I said, it was an estimate of around an hour that you would have, and that you would be able to make your case and make your statements and make whatever presentations you thought were necessary and
appropriate in the best representation of your client. So understand, Mr. Mollath, you're not being cut off. These are all just planning guidelines and estimates for you to assist you in your presentation.
So if you have anything further, make sure
that we all understand and the record is absolutely clear, you're not being
cut off artificially under any stretch of the imagination. So if there's
anything further that you would like to add or
arguments you would like to make, you have the floor.
MR. MOLLATH: Thank you. And I'll be quick on what I have to say.
What we attempted in this case is to present to the planning commission, present to staff, present to the board of county commissioners, a body of documentary evidence based upon sound engineering, planning, zoning principles, so as to allow the county to make a reasoned decision on these matters.
And that record consisted of 133 exhibits and two binders, which I was severely chastised for by the planning commission for bringing forth at the time of the planning commission here. But they contain a volume of documents that analyze and look to explain to this body what the master plan is, what the master plan should be in the future, and how it should be looked at, and how the zoning
and planning ordinances operate in the context of the technical matters that are presented in these Exhibits 1 to 133.
I had Mr. Greg Haws here, who was one of the principal authors of all the documents that were presented in 133 prepared by Planning Group, that sets forth before you the technical issues that have to be looked at. Because these are technical issues, not emotional issues. And I get back to the -- what I heard tonight, is we need to change this master plan because this community doesn't want any more housing. We need to change this master plan because we don't want this development to occur, this massive project.
That is not the issue, that's something for the future. If they want to -- if this county wants to change the master plan, they have the absolute perfect legal right to change this master plan any way they want. But we have the perfect absolute legal right to submit an application for a zone change based upon the four corners of the master plan as it is presently written. And we believe that what we have submitted firmly establishes that the master plan is consistent with the mixed use zoning that we have requested, and the master plan is inconsistent with the present zoning that exists on the property, albeit technically it is consistent by virtue of the Hi-Shear litigation.
And that's what I think this board needs to look
at. It needs to look at the entire picture of this region. Virginia City, Storey County, is just not a -- an element that keeps the rest of the surrounding counties, Lyon County and Washoe County, Carson City, at bay, and they're separate and apart from all that. They have to recognize that the economic engine that is starting on the north side of this county has to be followed through with.
Now, they might not like what's occurring in development in Storey County, but that's what the master plan provides for, and that's what we are entitled to process through this board of county commissioners. And that's what we are entitled to have looked at in a logical, reasoned, factual based analysis.
And it's unpopular; that's just the way it is. It's unpopular. But you have to look at whether the master plan allows for this particular use.
And if you decide no, well then, then we have to deal with that. But you have to look at it and say is the special industrial use, the rocket plant, the explosives, that we had there before, is that part of the vision of the county because it's contained in the master plan? And because that exists there, we have to get a master plan amendment to change it? I don't think so. You've got to look at the master plan as a whole, and that's what I think the Supreme Court has said in many cases.
So with that, I would request the board of county commissioners to approve the zone change from special industrial to mixed use, to determine that the master plan amendment is not necessary because the mixed use development requested zoning is consistent with the master plan for all the reasons set forth in the 1 to 131 exhibits, and the testimony of Mr. Greg Haws.
I haven't heard one thing tonight that tells me or tells this record why this mixed use development is inconsistent with the master plan. All I've heard is we don't like it, and we don't want it. But that doesn't mean it's inconsistent with the master plan. That's the critical decision you have to make. Thank you for your time.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Bullshit.
MR. MOLLATH: And I don't like comments on the record continually with -- starting out with bullshit and bullshit. I don't think that's appropriate for this county, and that just lets everybody know the context and the background within which we are operating today.
MR. WHITTEN: Mr. Chairman, just very briefly for the record. Again, what the record should reflect is you should acknowledge that you have been provided with copies of all the documentation that has been referenced, with the exception of the transcript from the -- July 21st meeting? Or July 19th?
MS. WALLING: July 19th.
MR. WRITTEN: July 19th, that was provided for you last night, that all documentation was provided for you well in advance for your information and your work and prior to hearing the case.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: Does the commission have a motion?
COMMISSIONER KERSHAW: You're going to hate me for this, but I'd like to ask a five minute recess while I consult with counsel.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: We'll take a five minute recess.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: I'd like to call the August 21st meeting of the Storey County Commission back to order. What is the desire of the commission?
COMMISSIONER KERSHAW: Well, I'd like to say that back a couple years ago now, seems like, and I've been at this for I think about 15 years since holding public office, and one thing I've learned is that you listen to all sides, and you give it time to make a decision. And I find myself in a unique position between commissioner districts in this county. Mine is more of a split-up district than some of the other two fields. I've had a lot of people favor this, and people strongly against it. And there are people in the
middle that, you know, try to say, well, growth is inevitable.
But the bottom line is, is the people that favor, one thing they've told me is why bother -- you know, make a decision based on smart growth. Responsible growth.
And the other thing I have to consider, the board has to consider, is I've been on here for about seven years now, and I've seen -- I've appointed five of the seven planning commissions, and I have to really think back to how this board relies on the planning commission to sometimes do our dirty work. For the big money they make, they've got to put a lot of time in. And I know they went through a roller coaster on this, motions back and forth.
So with that, I think at the same time, this county taking a step also to looking to the future, the actions we took not long ago to approve for a planner, our own planner of this county, because I believe that -- and I've said it before, it's here, the pressures of growth are going to be here, they're not going away anytime soon.
So on that, I move to uphold the planning commission's recommendation denying the application of the master plan amendment, because the proposed amendment is not in substantial compliance with the policies and goals and objectives of the master plan.
We are just talking of the master plan. And if we
need more to look at, you know, I have to look at land uses, you look at, with zoning -- land uses which is inconsistent or incompatible with adjacent land uses. Transportation is amendment would not create an immediate need for access -- would create an immediate need for access roads, or government services which would adversely -- would adversely affect the county's ability to meet those needs.
The conservation of natural resources. This amendment would jeopardize ensuring that present and future county residents have adequate water supply meeting safe drinking standards. This amendment would not protect the present or future water resources, which I'm well aware of what's going on in the Highlands, and I'm well aware of what's gone through in the River District, that we're lucky to have what we have there. And I'm a little concerned, too, also hearing the latest actions from Washoe County, the water graph right now, I don't know how the Washoe County commission is keeping water to their district.
And so with that, that's my motion.
COMMISSIONER HESS: As I said all along, I never have felt that I've been in conflict just because of the Painted Rock project because I have people I ancillary deal with. But due to the advice of our counsel in order to remove any conflict, I abstain voting Cordevista at this meeting.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: Given the first part
of this hearing regarding Commissioner Hess, I think it best that I
second Commissioner Kershaw's motion. I support the thoroughness of the planning commission.
How do you vote, Commissioner Hess?
COMMISSIONER HESS: I abstain.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: Abstain. How do you vote, Commissioner Kershaw?
COMMISSIONER KERSHAW: Aye.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: The chair votes aye.
Is there any board comment? Harold, do you have any comment?
MR. SWAFFORD: No, I'm not part of the process. I don't have to vote.
CHAIRMAN FLANAGAN: We're adjourned.
(Meeting adjourned 7:10 p.m.)
STATE OF NEVADA )
COUNTY OF LYON )
I, MARCIA L. FERRELL, a Certified Court
Reporter in and for the State of Nevada, do hereby certify:
that I was present at the above-entitled hearing on August 21, 2007, and took verbatim stenotype notes of the proceedings in the above-entitled matter and thereafter transcribed them into typewriting as herein appears;
That the foregoing transcript is a full, true, and correct transcription of my stenotype notes of said hearing.
DATED at Fernley, Nevada, the 28th
Nevada CCR No. 797
September 14, 2007
Other documents for the Cordevista issue
are available at www.cordevistahoa.org