Silver Springs Realtor Vida Keller got her wish to rezone property she owns on the Ramsey-Weeks Cutoff in Silver Springs to develop a shopping center, despite opposition from neighbors and some county officials.
The property, on Ramsey-Weeks cutoff and White Oak Road, is made up of three lots totaling just under 25 acres, one of which was zoned commercial and the other two zoned five-acre minimum residential.
Keller had requested a master-plan amendment and zone change for the other two lots to commercial so she could develop it into a shopping center, with a supermarket, a bank and perhaps even a pharmacy.
Many residents of the area have been hoping for a supermarket for years. Keller gained support for her plan, though many of those living near the property were opposed, as were Central Lyon County Fire Chief John Gillenwater and Road Manager Gary Fried.
Fried objected because he said Ramsey-Weeks is not in good enough condition to sustain the kind of traffic a shopping center would attract. Trucks are banned from the two-lane road that connects Highway 50 to Highway 95A.
Gillenwater wrote a letter opposing the plan, not only because of the condition of the road but he said there was insufficient water available for fire suppression.
Lyon County Planning Director Rob Loveberg said the commercial zone for the one lot was an error, but Assistant District Attorney Mark Krueger said the commissioners had to accept the designation since it was given to Keller by the county assessor's office.
Keller's requests were denied by the Planning Commission in January, but approved by commissioners the following month. When there are different votes, items are returned for review to the Planning Commission and then again to the commissioners. Because the Planning Commission again voted to deny Keller's request on March 11, the commissioners had to take final action last week.
They voted 3-2 to approve the requests, with Commissioners Phyllis Hunewill and Bob Milz opposed.
Hunewill held up a real estate ad for the property that indicated it was zoned commercial, and implied the reason Keller wanted to rezone was to be able to sell it for a higher price, a charge the Realtor denied.
"I think we're being used here, to increase the value of this property," Hunewill said.
Keller explained the listing was an old one, and that she and her partner, Ben Smith of Lahontan Commercial Investments LLC, had a signed joint-venture agreement. "I'm not denying it has been listed, but this is not a plan to sell the property."
Though there are other lots in Silver Springs already zoned for commercial development, Keller has said previously that it is too expensive for her to purchase. She said she would bring in water and sewer to the property and make any improvements the county required.
Don Melvin of the Silver Springs Chamber of Commerce supported the project, saying the area needed a supermarket.
"I sympathize with the folks who are against this," he said. "It's going to affect their lives. It's going to increase traffic."
But he said the need for shopping was the greater need.
Sandy Caven, who lives on property adjacent to the property, agreed that a shopping center was needed, but not at that location.
"The majority want it, but they want it downtown," she said.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-7351.