Gardnerville - Nevada's voter-approved smoking ban put a crimp in plans for a commercial area on six acres in Gardnerville, so much so that developers came back for a zoning change here, from neighborhood to general commercial, to loosen smoking restrictions.
Located on Highway 395 across from Raley's, Waterloo Center developers are requesting the zoning change for about two-thirds of its 5.91-acre parcel, a request the Gardnerville Town Board endorsed.
Resident Victoria Roberts challenged the proposal, noting there's no reason to encourage smoking in bars when several downtown Gardnerville businesses already allow smoking.
"A lot of the community doesn't need this," she said. "Why aren't you pushing for more family-oriented stores?"
"We're not pushing smoking," said architect Julio Sandoval. "Those original businesses we thought would be allowed can't go there now. We wanted the flexibility, not for smoking taverns or bars but to allow the same mix as we originally envisioned."
Effective Dec. 8, 2006, the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking tobacco in most public places, including school buildings or grounds, grocery, convenience and drug stores, and restaurants. Smoking is allowed in some businesses, including stand-alone bars and taverns that don't serve food.
The ban applies to any bars, taverns and saloons serving food, a type of business the proposed commercial development could attract. Neighborhood commercial once allowed sports-bar type of uses with smoking, but that can no longer be with the new legislation, according to Gardnerville officials.
It's a problem across the state. In Carson City, businesses have closed their doors because a change from the existing zoning was not allowed by Carson City officials, Sandoval said.
"The owners are stuck," he said.
The zoning change was not requested for a strip of the property adjacent to Lampe and the mobile homes.
"We decided, because of the current business mix along the Highway 395 corridor, it makes more sense to have more intense zoning along the corridor, then back off toward Lampe Park and the mobile home park," Sandoval said.
Approved for development this year, the property includes about 60,000 square feet of commercial space in three buildings, according to Gardnerville officials.
The building arrangement will remain as originally approved and parking will be used as a buffer between the businesses and a nearby mobile home park, Sandoval said.