Cordevista suit to be heard

A lawsuit filed by developers of the proposed Cordevista project in the center of Storey County will be heard on Sept. 22.

Stephen Mollath, attorney for the plaintiff, Virginia Highlands LLC, said arguments for judicial review of the county's refusal to allow his client a master-plan amendment and zone change to build commercial and residential projects in an industrial area will be held before Justice Miriam Shearing in Virginia City.

"I'm going to argue our petition for review and see what the court wants to do," he said.

In May, Fritz Duda, the new managing partner of Virginia Highlands LLC, and consultant Rob Winkle, announced they wanted to seek accommodation with the county, and had asked that the lawsuit be delayed while the two sides talked. The lawsuit was to have been heard June 16.

Storey County Manager Pat Whitten said nothing came of those talks, so the lawsuit would be going forward.

According to Mollath, nothing came of it because that was the county's choice.

"I wasn't involved in that meeting, though I know that representatives of Virginia Highlands were," he said. "As far as I know, the county wasn't interested in making any resolution of the matter."

Blake Smith, then-managing partner for Virginia Highlands LLC, had sued the county after it rejected his request for a master plan amendment and zone change from industrial to mixed use, residential and commercial that would allow the development of more than 10,000 homes and commercial projects on 11,000 acres the company owns in central Storey County.

The company is seeking court costs, attorney fees and damages in excess of $10,000.

Mark Gunderson, attorney for Storey County, could not be reached for comment, but Whitten said the meeting, which he said was between him and Winkle, was not designed for resolution.

He said no one at the meeting indicated they wanted resolution of the issues.

"At their request, I met with their new representative, Rob Winkle, and the purpose was to provide some history Rob may not have known and some background as to how we had gotten there," he said. "We clarified and provide background. Here comes this new guy, who understood the legal pleading, but we filled in a lot of the blanks. There was never any real expectation to resolve the situation, unless they wanted to thoroughly understand our position."

- Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or call 881-7351.


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