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County says no to use permit for artificial lake

Builder Rene Morales’ dreams of another Lakeside recreational vehicle park were shot down by Nye County Commissioners Tuesday who upheld the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission denial of a conditional use permit for a three-acre artificial lake.

A request for a master plan amendment to change 55 acres at 600 S. Leslie St. from mixed use and low density residential to general commercial land uses and a zone change to convert 32 acres of the 55 acres from rural estates zoning to general commercial were referred back to the RPC.

American Eagle RV and Resorts LLC had plans to build a 213-slip RV park which now appeared to be in jeopardy without the artificial lake as an amenity. Nye County Commission Chairman Dan Schinhofen asked to hear the appeal on the conditional use permit first.

“One of the main issues was the proposed lake, there’s a three-acre lake that was proposed. Staff had recommended the matter be referred to the water district to allow them to review it, provide their input and recommendation to the planning commission. The applicant did not want to do that,” Nye County Principal Planner Steve Osborne said.

Dave Richards, president of CivilWise Services, representing the applicants, said an impact study was given to the county planning department but not included in the backup material for the RPC to consider. It included a traffic impact analysis, drainage impacts, water facilities, utilities, infrastructure, sheriff and fire protection, he said.

“We were not aware until the RPC hearing that the document was not put into the backup information for the RPC,” Richards said. “That’s withholding information from a very important committee.”

Schinhofen told Richards he had to tell the commission why the RPC had their facts wrong, the county commission couldn’t receive new evidence Tuesday.

The master plan amendment and zone change were also rejected by the RPC by a 5-2 vote. RPC members Joe Goode Sr. and Vince Clark voted against the denials.

Nye County District Attorney Brian Kunzi said it was an appeal, not a trial, which must determine if there’s a factual basis to support the RPC decision.

“To open this up to a new hearing is not really provided for in the process. Everything should’ve been presented to the RPC and that’s the time of the hearing,” Kunzi said.

Regarding Richards’ accusations, information was withheld by the planning department, Kunzi said. “I fundamentally want to disagree with that statement. It’s the applicant’s job to present what information they want to present to the RPC.”

He said applicants have a burden of proof to provide the facts to prove what they need.

“The staff is there to assist the board but ultimately it is the applicant’s responsibility to present the burden of proof,” Kunzi said.

Nye County Planning Director Darrell Lacy said the conditional use permit was only a small part of the zone change and master plan amendment package. He said the applicants provided no information on what they wanted to do after they rezoned the remaining 23 acres left over of the 55-acre property after the RV park, other than mentioning it would be commercial.

“He’s asking for this massive zoning change, 55 acres of commercial property is similar in size to this Walmart center down the street,” Lacy said.

Richards asked unsuccessfully for all three requests to be remanded back to the RPC. He will have to wait six months to present another application for a conditional use permit, a delay that developers standing outside the meeting felt would be too long.

“Is this going to put a problem with the financing to get this project underway? You said this was months away from being started,” County Commissioner Frank Carbone asked.

Richards said developers will start in “very few months.” “I mean they’re ready to start now,” he said.

Morales, who had been rejected last year on his request for a private landfill for construction debris on Bell Vista Avenue, charged favoritism after the county commission approved a development agreement that will allow Spring Mountain Motor Sports to build an artificial lake.

“It’s just personal. It has nothing to do with the project,” Morales told the Pahrump Valley Times.

When asked if he would build the RV park without the lake, Morales said, “It will take all the attraction away. We have all the water rights. If we don’t use them we lose them.”

American Eagle RV and Resorts LLC has 125 acre feet of water rights on file with the state engineer’s office.

Outside the meeting, Morales continued to rant.

“They killed a multi-million dollar project,” he said. “What happened to economic development?”

But neighbors who voiced concern over the water use, noise and construction dust were pleased they didn’t have to comment during the public hearing.

Morales had his supporters ready to testify, like George Romero, owner of Romero’s Restaurant and Tom Oganesoff, owner of Top Soil Etc.

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