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Beatty residents reject special use permits

Beatty residents want nothing to do with the county’s proposal to institute special use permits for certain commercial buildings and projects.

That was made abundantly clear when nothing but negative comments came from those gathered for a town board workshop on the matter before the board’s regular May 14 meeting.

Nye County Planning Director Brett Waggoner and County Manager Tim Sutton were on hand to explain the reasoning behind the proposed addition to the county’s land use and zoning ordinance, but they did not sway the feelings of the group.

Residents did not like the idea of being required to get permits to build or make changes on their property. In various forms, they said they wanted to be left alone and that what was needed was less government, not more government.

A couple of residents, notably Debbie Baker and David Spicer, pointed out language in the proposed ordinance that was too vague, one example being a portion that called for permits for a garage, not specifying a commercial garage business.

Business owners feared that the paperwork and permit fees would make it too difficult for them to make improvements to their businesses. Others were of the opinion that this would be the first step in increasing regulation of what people could do with their property.

Planning Director Waggoner said that many of the negative comments were based on a misunderstanding of the ordinance. He said that the ordinance did not apply to existing businesses, not would it apply to their expansion unless it hit certain triggers, and that it is aimed at large commercial projects that would have a significant impact on the community.

County Manager Sutton assured the crowd that the proposal was the result of concerns expressed to them, some of them by people in the room.

Sutton and Waggoner explained that it was intended to protect people from someone buying up property next to theirs and putting in something like a wrecking yard or a garbage dump.

Several residents said that they felt it was an overreach by the county, and that Beatty was capable of handling its own problems locally. Baker suggested that the ordinance be made town-specific.

Beatty Town Advisory Board treasurer Erika Gerling said she had read the proposed ordinance so many times she got a headache just thinking about it, and that the ordinance was too broad and too hard to understand, so it scares people.

Sutton assured the crowd that the proposal “was not something we came up with because we had nothing to do, but that it was intended to address concerns that had come to their attention.” He said he was leaning, based on what he had been hearing from residents, to not recommend that it go forward, but that it would leave people without recourse to address those concerns.

After the workshop in its regular meeting, the board voted to send a letter to the county commissioners voicing the town’s objections to special use permits.

Richard Stephens is a freelance reporter living in Beatty.

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