By Mark Waite
The Gonzalez family, owners of Two Brothers Junk in Johnnie, learned last Wednesday the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission can’t approve the expansion of a legally non-conforming, grandfathered use.
But there were different suggestions how to resolve a code compliance complaint when the owners began storing junked cars on an adjacent lot at 1961 Garnet St.
The RPC denied the request for a conditional use permit, but they passed a suggestion by Vicki Parker to request the property be rezoned from rural estates to heavy industrial and brought back for approval. The nearest structure is 7,000 feet away, according to the planning department report.
Planner Beth Lee said such a business opening today would have to be 1,000 feet from a county-maintained road and screened off.
Deputy District Attorney Charles Watkins said approving the permit would set a bad precedent.
“We’re going to get a whole host of grandfathered, new properties popping up. Obviously the goal is to get rid of non-conforming, not create non-conforming properties,” he said.
Urban Chavez, speaking on behalf of the family, said they only wanted to store cars they were bringing into their salvage yard at an adjacent lot purchased two years ago. He said the property is two miles from anything, a good place to have a salvage yard.
RPC member Bob King said the adjacent parcel was empty when he visited recently, but he noticed junked cars stacked up on the legally permitted grandfathered parcel.
“It’s a residential zoning area in name only. The only things living out there are jack rabbits and coyotes and maybe a tortoise or two,” King said.
Johnnie resident Harley Kulkin said he lives in sight of the junkyard and doesn’t have a problem with it. He suggested a reversionary map to combine the two lots would be a lot cheaper than a zone change.
The junkyard is visible from Highway 160 traveling north through Johnnie.
“I travel all over the country and every major city you can see a salvage yard from the highway,” George Romero said, owner of Romero’s Restaurant. “It’s in the right part, it’s outside of town, it’s in the perfect location and we should let them go forward with that.”
County commission liaison Butch Borasky asked why the boundaries of the Pahrump Regional Planning District extended north into Johnnie, he suggested their jurisdiction end at Roadrunner Road.
“I think what the public has to understand, we have rules and regulations. We have to be consistent No. 1 and if we allow one to wander from that we have to allow them all and then you might as well throw everything out,” Borasky said.
He said even if the property was rezoned, it would still require paving the lot.