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Residents opposed to RIBs plan earn victory

Residents who opposed the use of rapid infiltration basins in Discovery Park won a victory Tuesday.

In a split vote, Nye County commissioners reversed on appeal the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission’s approval of a conditional use permit for basins, commonly known as RIBs. The appeal had been filed by Pahrump resident Kenny Bent.

A two-hour discussion culminated in a split vote, with commissioners Dan Schinhofen and Lorinda Wichman voting for the project and Donna Cox and Butch Borasky voting against it.

Nye County Commission Chairman Frank Carbone sided with Cox and Borasky, drawing massive applause and cheers from the audience that overwhelmingly criticized the project.

Commissioner Borasky questioned the adequacy of the planning commission’s assessment of the risks that the RIBs could have on the groundwater quality.

“I do not believe that the RPC had adequate evidence to support findings… that the RIBs will be a substantial improvement to the property in the immediate vicinity and the community as a whole,” he said.

The decision however could be overturned as park owner Utilities Inc. of Central Nevada can reapply for another use permit.

“Maybe, if this thing goes around one more time, we could get it right with additional information that was not provided,” Borasky added.

Under the conditional use permit granted by the planning commission in January, Utilities Inc., planned to construct two RIBs at the former Willow Creek Golf Course by modifying existing overflow ponds located on the property for the purposes of effluent disposal, flood control and groundwater recharge.

In addition, RIBs would help to remediate the degraded Willow Creek Golf Course, that had been renamed Discovery Park, according to Utilities Inc.

Many of those in attendance spoke against the project.

“It’s not up to you guys to prove beyond the reasonable doubt that there’s potential problems with this (project). It’s not. This is a community and for the well-being of the community it’s all you needed to do,” Bent said.

Utility officials in turn said the concerns were “speculation and not evidence” and added that RIBs would provide additional filtration.

As an alternative, Utilities Inc. had previously said a pipeline could be built to the Mountain Falls treatment facility that discharges its water to the ponds at the Mountain Falls Golf Course, which would be a multimillion-dollar project.

While the utility will cover $660,000 of RIBs’ cost, a pipeline to Mountain Falls would have to be covered by ratepayers, company officials said.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77

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