Zone change back in Lyon commissioners' laps

DAYTON - More than a year after denying a zoning request for two small Dayton lots, the issue is back before Lyon County commissioners.

Requests from William Mitchell and Michael Zacharias to change the zoning from residential to limited commercial on lots at 180 River and 155 Gates streets respectively appear on Thursday's Lyon County Commission agenda.

Commissioners approved requests from Mitchell and Zacharias in 1998, but after neighbors protested that they had not been notified of the hearings, commissioners voted to reconsider the applications.

In February 1999, after listening to opposition to the request, the commission reversed their decision and denied the applications. However, Mitchell and Zacharias appealed and the court ordered another hearing.

In March of this year, despite opposition from fire officials and neighboring property owners, the Lyon County Planning Commission voted 5-2 in favor of approval.

Those in favor cited the county's master plan designation of the underlying zoning of both properties as commercial and the current commercial use of adjacent property.

Led by neighbors Paul Howard and daughter-in-law Cyndi Howard, those in opposition want to preserve the residential nature of the area, noting both parcels are within a designated federal landmark historic area.

Central Lyon County Fire Prevention Specialist Mary Ellen Holly said a zone change would require adherence to Uniform Fire Code guidelines not required of residential properties, including the widening of access streets.

In overturning the board's prior decision, District Court Judge David Huff agreed the Howards were improperly notified in 1998, but declared all subsequent decisions invalid because the commissioners acted outside their authority in reconsidering the original decision.

Huff's opinion said evidence did not support the primary reason given for denial.

Commissioners based their February 1999 denial on the community's desire to maintain the historic character of the Dayton area. Huff stated, "The evidence clearly demonstrates the Dayton area is not zoned for historic preservation and that the area in question contemplates exactly the type of development Mitchell and Zacharias sought. Denying a zone change under the circumstances probably amounts to prohibited spot zoning of the properties."

If you go:

What: Lyon County commission

Where: Courthouse Annex, 31 South Main Street, Yerington

When: Beginning at 9 a.m.

For info: Call 577-5035 (Dayton/Silver Springs) or 463-6591.


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