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RPC delays approving new town trailhead plan

Pahrump Town Manager Susan Holecheck said Wednesday there was some urgency in getting Pahrump Regional Planning Commission approval for a conditional use permit for a different trailhead site as an access to the long-awaited Last Chance Range Park.

But the RPC delayed action while they wait for conceptual site plans, along with other projects up for discussion, at the advice of their legal counsel, Deputy District Attorney Tim Sutton.

The five-acre property at 3761 N. Stephanie St. was forfeited to the Nye County Sheriff’s Office in 2000. Holecheck said if the town is able to use that site for a trailhead the town will inform the BLM it isn’t interested in their proposed site. The BLM is in the process of releasing their resource management plan for the Pahrump Valley, which will identify different parcels up for disposal.

Noel Smithers conceived of the plan for a Last Chance Park, below the mountain range of the same name, at the north end of Pahrump Valley. The town has been actively planning the park since 2007. The trailhead would have parking for trucks and horse trailers, a covered picnic area, restroom and water facilities. Holecheck wrote the town expects to construct hitching posts, corrals and signage as well. The toilet, picnic tables and fencing were previously estimated to cost $43,000.

In his letter of support, DeMeo wrote the site is zoned rural homestead, with a minimum lot size of 4.5 acres. The property has a well, septic system and a building that is to be removed, he said.

But Sutton informed the RPC, Nye County Code requires a conceptual site plan be presented before approval of a conditional use permit, a requirement that hasn’t been enforced before.

The Pahrump Town Board representative on the RPCBill Dolan, said the town manager has an issue with timing. Commissioner Frank Carbone suggested a special session, but Planning Director Darrell Lacy said she could wait until the next regular RPC meeting Oct. 15.

“If we could have this heard before the end of the year it would be appreciated,” Holecheck told the board. “It is truly a trailhead, we’re not going to be putting a NASA fire rocket launching pad on there. It’s trying to find an alternative to land being offered by the BLM.”

The owners of two properties nearby, C and S Oster, submitted a letter of opposition to the conditional use permit. They asked who would be responsible to remove a contaminated trailer on the property. They said the proposed trailhead is surrounded by private property a quarter-mile from BLM land and would require using street easements to get to, or private property.

“Can the street easement be used for a riding trail and how would a trail in the easement affect water flow/flooding? Who would be responsible for clean up of horse manure along this area?” the Osters wrote.

They complained about all-terrain vehicles kicking up dust and making noise.

“This is one of the BLM’s longest applications,” Holecheck said after the meeting.

The BLM doesn’t want the town to drill a well at their site and there are other environmental problems brought up, she said. Lacy had suggested the parcel seized by the sheriff’s office as a perfect spot.

“The people have waited so long for Last Chance Park,” Holecheck told the Pahrump Valley Times. “The sheriff really wanted to get it done before the end of the year because he was leaving office.”

“I just want the public that waited for Last Chance Park to know there’s something on the horizon,” she said.

The town submitted a request to the BLM for a recreation and public purpose lease more than nine years ago for a 1,520-acre recreation area and improvements on five to 10 acres. Bob Adams, town of Pahrump public lands advisory board chairman, said Wednesday the town later learned the maximum acreage allowed under such a lease was 640 acres. Then the BLM was requiring desert tortoise mitigation of $1,100 per acre, since the county doesn’t have a desert tortoise habitat conservation plan, he said.

Environmental Compliance Specialist Mary Ellen Giampaoli finally suggested the town board consider taking out rights of way for riding trails during a report last April.

The town scaled back the plans to make the project more appetizing. The town board last December voted to submit a revised application to the BLM for 10 acres to be developed into a trailhead gateway for horseback and hiking trails near Bell Vista Avenue and Bannavitch Street.

The BLM identified Native American remains in the cultural survey. Giampaoli said they were close to completing the cultural mitigation, but the town is expected to prepare the environmental assessment.

Nye County commissioners last January endorsed the town board’s application for the recreation and public purpose lease.

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