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Race resort OK’d for housing subdivision

A tentative map for a 77-lot residential Spring Mountain Estates subdivision at the Spring Mountain Motor Sports Ranch on Highway 160 was approved by a 6-1 vote of the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission Wednesday. Builder Russ Meads of Double M Construction said the sales would also open the door to commercial development along Highway 160, including a hotel.

The planning department report said the proposed lot sizes, from 11,925 square feet to 23,995 square feet, don’t meet the minimum lot size required in a heavy industrial zone, but the map could be approved conditioned upon the property owner obtaining a zone change.

Spring Mountain Motor Sports owners also won approval of a parcel map to carve three small parcels out of 194 acres for a watchman’s living quarters. They will use a well and septic system.

RPC Chairman John Koenig voted against both requests. He asked why the master plan amendment and zoning change wasn’t done first. Planner Steve Osborne said he couldn’t answer that. Koenig added there wasn’t a definition of watchman’s quarters in the county code. Osborne said the owners wanted to get the watchman’s quarters approved separately and soon, to provide security.

Osborne told RPC member Bob King it will be a gated, residential subdivision accessed by a private road.

Meads said the tentative subdivision map will generate an opportunity to greatly expand Spring Mountain Motor Sports Ranch, which last year acquired another 120 acres from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Owners John Morris and Brad Rambo purchased the original 193-acre racetrack in 2004. It underwent a major expansion since then, with an extended track, separate buildings for the Corvette and radical sports car training programs, numerous garages, a clubhouse with restaurant and gym, even an exotic car dealership.

But Meads said it’s been difficult to categorize with county zoning requirements.

“The whole facility is unique. We just don’t have anywhere to compare it with anywhere in the country,” he said.

The acquisition of the other 120 acres created security problems, he said, hence the need for live-in caretaker’s quarters. Meads said eventually the applicants will do a special project overlay with the master plan amendments and zoning.

“The tentative map allows the owners to be able to start advertising and marketing their property to members of the track to consider building homes on the track. It allows them to raise funds, raise capital, which allows them to acquire enough capital to build the water and sewer out of pocket,” he said.

RPC member Joe Goode Sr. asked about the hotel. In January 2009, a zone change and conditional use permit was approved for an 88-room MicroTel Inn and Suites on 5.4 acres, which never materialized. The three parcels created for the watchman’s quarters replaces parcels created in 2008 for a hotel site.

“We do have a hotel slated for the commercial property. We just haven’t been able to sign an agreement yet,” Meads said.

He told Koenig the original race track is in the Utilities of Central Nevada service territory. When the original racetrack was built, it was before zoning.

“The reason the track’s been able to expand for so long is we’ve been able to go under that conditional use permit. We kind of crossed that line a long time ago,” Meads said. “The code could use some adjustment.”

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