A definition of casitas is on the way to the county code.
In a divided vote, the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission moved the proposed definition of casitas to the Nye County Board of Commissioners after the subcommittee had come up with a designated wording.
According to the definition coined by officials, casita is a site-built guest house not exceeding 600 square feet, which is designed and intended to be occupied by temporary guests of the occupants of the primary residence and is not used as a rental unit.
Nye County Department of Planning Director Darrell Lacy said the term was brought up when the Wine Ridge RV Resort and Cottages applied to build four casitas for overnight rental earlier this year.
“Casitas are a new word – we have had on average a couple a month for guest residences, accessory structures, mother-in-law quarters, etc.,” Lacy said in an email.
While casa means “house” in Spanish, casita is defined as a “cottage” or “small house.”
“Wine Ridge RV park called their units casitas when that is not what most people think of as a casita,” Lacy said. “That was the confusion and the reason to define casita.”
Pahrump resident Robert Howard argued that casitas should be attached to a main house.
“If you look around town, you see casitas usually used for somebody (who) can’t get around like a mother of father or somebody in the family, that they move (to) a casita themselves but they are still part of the main house,” he said.
“In most cases, when one sees a casita, it is usually attached or semi-attached to the primary residence and is actually designed to be an extension of the primary residence in another bedroom or room, a multi-purpose room perhaps,” commission Secretary Bob King said. “I know some people use them as a home office or a workout area, what have you. It’s not necessarily a guest residence or a guest room.”
Nye County Principal Planner Steve Osborne said according to a current definition, guest residence is a manufactured home or site-built house up to 1,500 square feet.
“If you want a manufactured home, then you would need a temporary use permit, but the RPC recommended to delete that out of the temporary use section,” he said.
After some questioned whether the new word would overdefine what casita is, members of the commission voted 4 to 3 to pass the wording to the Nye County Board of Commissioners for consideration.