Gaming ordinance will wait for business impact statement

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A vote on a proposal that would require future Carson City gaming properties to incorporate 100 hotel rooms as part of the same development will have to wait while a business impact statement is created.

Carson City Treasurer Al Kramer, sponsor of the ordinance, said he has extended the deadline for comments on the statement until Jan. 21. Previously, Kramer's office had sent out notification to area business people, asking for opinions and giving them until Friday to respond.

"I had a request (for the extension), so it will be done next month now ," he said.

A vote on the issue was delayed at the city supervisors' meeting on Dec. 6 when Joe Masini, part owner of Bodine's restaurant, reminded the five-member board that a business impact statement is required under Nevada law.

Supervisors appeared ready to approve the measure, but Mark Forsberg, deputy district attorney and counsel to the board, concurred with Masini -- despite apprehension from some supervisors -- and recommended the delay.

If approved when the ordinance comes up again early next year, developers holding an unrestricted gaming license (to operate more than 15 slot machines), would be forced to incorporate the rooms as part of the same property. Similar laws have long been in effect in Las Vegas, Clark County and Reno.

Backers of the change, including the Carson City Gaming Association and a handful of business community members, say it would encourage a larger tourist draw for the city, "enlarging the pie" for gaming revenue.

The move could mean the end to new developments like Slot World and its neighbor, the Silver Dollar Casino, in favor of traditional hotel/casinos like the Pi-on Plaza and Ormsby House. Barring last minute development projects, the new restriction could also change the face of the Highway 395 bypass corridor.

Developers interested in building new properties under the current gaming regulations would have an opportunity, within a year, to submit applications before the ordinance goes into effect. Properties with a history of operating with an unrestricted gaming license would also be given a grace period to revive their operations.

While the measure is being heartedly endorsed by the alliance and some local government officials, others feel it is being hurried through without proper review or a substantial public comment period.

Judy Lepire, who owns approximately nine acres of undeveloped land at the south end of town with husband Gene, said she requested the extension when she learned of the ordinance during a visit to Arizona.

"The city for whatever reason is trying to hurry this through," she said. "Whatever the city ends up doing in a fair and just manner is OK, but I don't see why it has to be done like this."

She said the ordinance could affect the value of the couple's land by limiting its potential use.

"My feeling at this point is that any property zoned for this unrestricted license should be grandfathered in," she said. "What's fair for me should be fair for you."


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