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Countywide planning commission in the works

The results of the 2020 Census were released last year, showing that the total population of Nye County had climbed to 51,591 residents. As a result of that boost in population, the government of Nye County must begin to follow an assortment of Nevada laws that did not apply to it before, one of which requires the establishment of a countywide planning commission.

The new requirement was a topic of discussion for the Nye County Commission at its last meeting, held July 19. Amargosa resident John Bosta had first broached the subject a couple of months ago, explaining to the commission that it needed to be aware of the necessity of forming a countywide planning commission and noting that actions it takes prior to that formation could be challenged if such a commission is not established.

After the Nye County district attorney’s office reviewed the Nevada Revised Statute that Bosta had cited, it was determined that the county was in fact required to create that new commission.

Nye County Planning Director Brett Waggoner was on hand to explain the two options that his department had come up with. The first called for a dissolution of the existing seven-member Pahrump Regional Planning Commission (PRPC) and the creation of an entirely new seven-member board, the Nye County Regional Planning Commission. The second option would allow for the retention of the PRPC, the members of which would also act as Nye County Regional Planning Commission members along with two other, separate members from towns outside of Pahrump. This would create a nine-member countywide planning commission.

“With the creation of this board, it is going to be required to meet on a monthly basis, just like the PRPC,” Waggoner stated, seemingly leaning toward the second option. “My thought with that was figuring out a way to create a joint-meeting circumstance, like we’re doing today. You’ve got the town of Pahrump, you’ve got the Highway Commission, the Liquor and Licensing board.

“At that point, with that nine-member board, it would make the quorum five,” Waggoner continued, adding that this would give the two new countywide planning commission members the ability to skip any meetings that do not have agenda items relating to areas outside of Pahrump, which are few and far between.

Nye County Commission Chair Frank Carbone noted that the biggest issue at the moment was that there were certain actions the county cannot take until the countywide planning commission is created. Therefore, moving forward was a must. But just how to move forward was something that elicited plenty of debate.

Commissioner Bruce Jabbour felt there needed to be a better balance between members from Pahrump and members from other Nye County communities, adding that many of those other communities already have town boards representing them. Commissioner Debra Strickland chimed in to state that it would make sense to have members of those town boards appointed to the new countywide planning commission, to which Jabbour agreed.

Waggoner was obviously hesitant about that proposal. He said he was concerned about having problems with getting enough applicants from the various towns to make a truly balanced countywide planning commission. On top of that, he was unsure if there would be problems with establishing a quorum for meetings of that commission, if members were to be absent.

Carbone jumped in to state he felt it would be better to at least start with adding two members to the existing PRPC just to get started, remarking that the county can always readdress the issue at a later date.

As for commissioner Donna Cox, she said thought the PRPC was to be dissolved, adding that she didn’t think it made sense to have two different boards.

Following public comment and a round of more debate, Strickland made a motion to retain the current PRPC and create a new, separate countywide planning commission of seven members. However, she was unable to make that motion due to the way the agenda item was written and had to modify it to exclude any mention of the number of members. That motion passed with all in favor.

The membership details of the new Nye County Regional Planning Commission will be worked out and announced at a later date.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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