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Action on parcel map changes deferred

Nye County commissioners on Tuesday modified changes that were originally supposed to speed up approval of development projects. Three changes to county code were proposed, including lifting limits on permits for fireworks stores. But they deferred action on the most controversial change, requiring minimum five-acre lot sizes for single-family residences, to a new Pahrump groundwater basin management committee.

County commissioners had previously approved a 1-1-1 review schedule on developments: an initial review of site plans for developments under 20,000 square feet with no waivers should be completed within five business days from the date an application was deemed complete; followed by five business days to respond to revisions requested by the applicant and another five business days from when final revisions are received. The new changes allow a 3-2-1 review schedule for projects smaller than 20,000 square feet of gross floor area.

Planner Beth Lee had complained to the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission the tight review schedule was difficult to comply with for some projects, like the recent Pinnacle Propane application.

In another change, commissioners voted to allow development project applications submitted in person before Dec. 31 to be exempt from the re-imposition of impact fees scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, if forms are signed by the applicant, submitted and stamped received by Nye County Building and Safety by Dec. 30. The building permit must be obtained by June 30, 2014, a certificate of occupancy must be issued within a year from that date for residential and within 18 months for commercial.

County commissioners set hearings for Jan. 21 on three other changes to county planning code, relating to payments of impact fees, the expiration of conditional use permits and lifting a limit on fireworks permits.

County Commissioner Frank Carbone requested bill 2013-25, which would require the relinquishment of three acre feet of water rights for each new parcel created instead of two acre feet; require minimum parcel sizes of 10 gross areas for parcels zoned single-family residential to be subdivided; and require all single-family residential parcels created be at least five gross areas — be referred to the new groundwater basin advisory committee. The Nye County Water District Board already approved the bill Oct. 28. The Pahrump Regional Planning Commission recommended approval by a 5-2 vote on Nov. 13.

The changes are designed to reduce future parceling of lots that would affect Pahrump groundwater withdrawals.

County commissioners decided to extend the application period for the groundwater management plan advisory committee until Jan. 10 as only two applications were received. County Manager Pam Webster suggested presenting nine applicants to the board, with county commissioners picking seven members, Commissioner Lorinda Wichman didn’t want applicants interviewed in public.

“We haven’t even started this and we’re already putting it off. I’m really disappointed in this,” Commissioner Dan Schinhofen said.

The other code changes proposed, to be heard in public hearings Jan. 21, include bill 2013-23, allowing developers to defer payment of impact fees until the certificate of occupancy is issued for a building, but offer a 10-percent discount as an incentive if the fee is paid when the building permit is issued.

Another bill, 2013-24, allows conditional use permits to automatically expire and become void if that particular land use has been discontinued for a year or more on the parcel where it was approved, or two years if the building was damaged or partially destroyed by fire, flood, wind or other calamity. A conditional use is considered to have been discontinued if any required licenses or permits expired.

Schinhofen said bill 2013-27 was one he had been advocating before, but the language was spruced up this time. It would remove the limit of six permits for stores to sell fireworks, reduce the fee for applications, set forth provisions for use of safe and sane fireworks, as well as prohibit selling fireworks out of a tent or temporary structure. The county protested a tent set up by Ninja Fireworks on Highway 160 near Manse Road between June 1 and July 4, 2012.

The cost of consumer/display fireworks permits, which must be renewed annually, was reduced from $1,000 to $500.

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