FERNLEY - Despite reports of a housing shortage, Lyon County commissioners put the brakes to a plan to build apartments here.
While generally agreeing multi-family dwellings would be the best use of the property, commissioners unanimously denied a request by owner Wanda Cagliari to change the zoning on 10 acres until access concerns are resolved.
The only existing legal access to the site is Westerland Lane, a Truckee-Carson Irrigation District access road.
Though currently used to reach a few private residences, the narrow gravel road is owned by the Bureau of Reclamation and used by the irrigation district for maintenance purposes. Only local traffic is allowed on the road.
Commissioner LeRoy Goodman said, "This gives the county the message we need to get the Westerland road mess straightened out. Apartments appear to be the best use of the property, but we need to get together with the involved parties and resolve this."
The county met with irrigation district and bureau officials a year ago but issues of access and maintenance have not been resolved.
Don Parsons, representing Cagliari, said the proposed housing project was needed to ease a severe shortage of rental units in the community.
"Wade Development and industrial park businesses are concerned with the lack of living facilities," Parsons said. "Amazon.com currently brings in nine busloads of employees each day because there is no place to live and new hirings are taking place every day."
The county planning commission and Fernley Town Board had recommended denial of the project, citing public opposition, traffic concerns and claiming multi-family dwellings were not the best use of the property, but county commissioners disagreed.
Commissioner David Fulstone noted that most nearby property is multi-family housing and said a similar designation would be the most sensible.
Cagliari, a former resident of what had once been a rural, ranching area, said, "They crowded me out. I think I have a right to do what I want to do. It is now prime apartment property."
County officials said they would resume talks with the bureau and irrigation district.