Should dividing one parcel into two count as a subdivision on a hillside in a tiny town that has been there for 150 years?
Lyon County Commissioners said no.
John and Darlene Cobbey of Silver City wanted to divide a High Street parcel they own into two parcels - one for each of their two daughters, now in college.
"It was a way to induce them to move back," said John Cobbey at the Lyon County Commission meeting Thursday.
Cobbey wanted the commissioners to divide a 5.10-acre parcel on the southern end of High Street, near the intersections of SR 342 and SR 341 into two unequal parcels, with the smallest being 1.05 acres. He took his request to the Lyon County Planning Commission in February, only to have seven conditions attached that he said he couldn't afford.
Among the seven conditions the Planning Commission included is that Cobbey comply with 1996 drainage guidelines and the latest improvement requirements; obtain approvals and an encroachment permit and coordinate with Lyon County Road Department and the Nevada Department of Transportation on access, rights of way or repair.
Cobbey would also have to pay for street grading, alignment, surfacing and width on a 50-foot right-of-way increased to 60 feet, and improvements would have to be done prior to recording the map.
He would also have to provide written evidence that the parcels were approved for septics and that no water rights were required from Storey County Public Works, which provides Silver City with water.
Cobbey requested the public hearing before the commission to appeal the requirements.
"I bought the property because I didn't want neighbors," he said. "Then I want to give it to my daughters. I didn't realize trying to divide once piece of property between two kids would be so complicated."
Jeff Rendell, of R.P. Surveying and Engineering, told the commissioners the code was written for large subdivisions, and it was ridiculous to expect someone seeking the division of one small parcel in Silver City to comply with regulations designed for large developers. Most of the commissioners agreed.
They voted 4-1 to waive the conditions and allow the parcel division. Commissioner Phyllis Hunewill was opposed.
Commissioner Bob Milz, who is also chairman of the Comstock Historic District board, said it made no sense for the county to hold the standards of new regulations to an area where the historic district tried to keep up with the style of the 1860s.
"People that live there enjoy that quality of life," he said. "We need to remember that one size doesn't necessarily fit all."
LeRoy Goodman, who is originally from Virginia City, said Silver City's trails go back to horse and wagon days, the drainage is a dry gulch that will not change, and no other roads in Silver City are paved, so there was no reason to require the Cobbeys to pave part of High Street.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-7351.