By Mark Waite
The Pahrump Regional Planning Commission last week allowed new owners to reopen the Sunset Tavern on 680 S. East St. under the same grandfathered conditions four years after it closed.
Daryl Keppner applied for a conditional use permit to reinstate the grandfathered use, which by Nye County Code normally expires after a business is closed more than six months..
The 1,470-square-foot building was constructed in 1967 and was a tavern before being abandoned in 2008. The year 1967 predates Nye County development standards.
The property is zoned general commercial. Planner Beth Lee said the tavern is on 4.3 acres that’s part of the Pahrump Mobile Home Park. The planning department recommended approval of the permit.
RPC member Greg Hafen II asked why a grandfather clause had to be extended if a tavern was already permitted in a general commercial zone. Lee said it exempts the owners from bringing the property up to current building codes, like a paved parking lot.
The owners can’t expand a grandfathered use.
The matter was approved without much discussion. The district attorney’s office issued a legal opinon May 12 that a conditional use permit would allow a grandfathered use to extend, or to be reinstated on a property.
The owners are required to obtain a town business license and submit a tenant improvement application for any interior construction or modifications.
Keppner and his partner Ruth Edwards, in a letter to the RPC, wrote they moved to Pahrump 14 years ago to live with their parents and grandparents. The pair have two children who are in college, another is a freshman at Pahrump Valley High.
“We have both worked in this community and are now ready to start our own business,” the letter said.
Keppner’s mother, a 20-year resident of Pahrump, recently died, she had owned a bar called The Bounty Hunter, in Phoenix.
“We wish to open the Pahrump Bounty Hunter as a tribute to this special woman. Our desire is for The Bounty Hunter to be a respectable environment for Pahrump to relax and enjoy,” the letter states.
Keppner said he’s cleaning it up as it’s been vacant for a while. He wanted to open by March but expects it could take up to six months for the county to issue the liquor license.
That would be a step up from when the Sunset Tavern was colloquially known as “the laundromat bar” when it existed, as there was a laundromat attached. Bar patrons would shake dice and the person with the low score would have to put quarters in the dryer in the wintertime to help warm the establishment.
The washers and dryers have been removed.
* A conditional use permit was approved for Jane Tyrka to open an indoor swap meet in the old Farmer’s Insurance building at 2210 E. Commercial. Dr. Tyrka hopes it will supplement the fixed inome of her and her husband.
Nell Worden opened the Farmer’s Insurance business in Pahrump in 1977, Robert Worden left in December 2010 to take a job with Farmer’s insurance at their corporate offices in Minneapolis and Chad Goins took over the agency. The offices were moved to 1401 S. Highway 160.
“This might give me an opportunity to meet the community and get a little more involved,” Tyrka said. “The town of Pahrump loves swap meets because it gives us a place to send the people who park along the side of the highway and try to sell their junk. It was a real challenge before there was any swap meet.”
Tyrka plans to have swap meets two to three days per week using a 2,520-square-foot building on a half-acre located in the general commercial zone. It will be around the corner from a swap meet held behind Sunflower Fashions on Loop Road and Highway 160.