By Mark Waite
The old adage that success in real estate depends upon three ingredients — location, location, location — might also apply to a proposed senior living center.
Pahrump Regional Planning commissioners told developers proposing a four-story, 160-unit assisted living and independent senior housing facility at 780 W. Gamebird Rd., called Le Chateau Residences, it was a good project, but the wrong location. They continued the item until next month to allow developers to work out a better arrangement.
Pahrump Fire Chief Scott Lewis said his ladder trucks couldn’t easily reach that high, it’s too far away from the nearest fire stations and the proposed water system wouldn’t be adequate without hooking up to public water and sewer lines.
RPC member Joe Goode Sr. had to recuse himself from the discussion because he’s the architect for the project.
The proposal was for an inclusive project, with the assisted living center/independent senior housing center in the back of the 4.7-acre parcel and a retail complex up front for things like pharmacies or doctor’s offices. It would be a wood-framed building, holding a 32-unit, 64-bed assisted care facility on the first floor and a 128-bed independent senior housing facility on the second, third and fourth floors.
There was a suggestion at one point in the discussion to approve the master plan amendment and zone change, but deny the conditional use permit and waiver allowing a 52-foot, 9-inch height in a rural estates zone where a maximum height of 35 feet is permitted.
Developers suggested a private water system with a deep well and storage tanks for fire suppression. They also asked Utilities Inc. of Central Nevada about extending water and sewer lines. Both options are expensive and would require additional units on the fourth floor, according to a letter submitted by project manager J.R. Raviz.
Planner Beth Lee said the property is two miles from the nearest water and sewer connection, but there’s the possibility of a commercial septic system. She said it’s on the outer edge of service for fire stations on Kellogg Road and the main fire station, which increases risk factors for response times.
Lewis said his department doesn’t have the ability to place the 75-foot ladder truck directly against the building to get direct access to the height of a structure above four or four and a half stories. They may have to clear landscaping, sidewalks, and any potential parked vehicles, he said.
“If there was an established water system that could effectively manage the suppression requirements for the sprinkler system we would still have to be able to manage a group operation. Our ladder truck is 75 feet. It is limited. If we couldn’t use the ladder truck we would have to ascend that height in the burning building,” Lewis said.
Sprinklers would be instrumental in holding a fire at bay until firefighters arrive, but he said it’s about the farthest possible site from the fire stations. The building size allows Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Service little ability to surround the fire with crews and apparatus, Lewis said.
Pahrump Town Board member Harley Kulkin said those details would be ironed out when the builders, Lys Barawid and Michael Barawid, pull their building permits. He said the project is in the vicinity of the Pahrump Airport, and would be an asset to the community.
RPC member Bob King suggested the applicants apply to rezone the property general commercial, which would allow a 48-foot height without a waiver. Lee said there were concerns about spot zoning.
“The owner really wants to have this done because they acquired the property 12 years ago and this is the only project they want to do on the property. Regarding the height that was being discussed, the top of the part that we have there on the fourth floor basically covers the roof-mounted units,” Ravis said.
Lewis said he considers each story to be 10 feet. He said the nature of the occupants worries him, the time frame for a response in perfect conditions and fire suppression systems.
RPC member Greg Hafen II inquired whether the owners looked at any other parcels in the valley. He said to approve a conditional use permit the RPC has to find a project would be served by essential public services.
“You understand it is highly residential and highly rural and there are lots of farm creatures that make noises all day long?” he asked.
“This is a very rural area and I think this is a great project I would like to see come to the valley. I just don’t know how a 54-foot building sits in such a rural area,” Hafen said.
Lys Barawid operates Opportunity Unlimited, a senior citizen community in Escondido, Calif. Ravis said the owner operates six similar facilities in the San Diego area but wishes to operate the Pahrump facility herself.
“I explained to her the cost associated with the project whether we go with Utilities Inc. extending the water and sewer or a private water and sewer system, would be enough to buy another property closer to where the utilities are but she’s focused on doing the project on this property,” Ravis said.
The project is being proposed as Inspirations Senior Living Center is nearing completion on Java Street.