Douglas nixes proposed Hillbillies sign

MINDEN - Developers of the Beverly Hillbillies Mansion and Casino in north Douglas County unsuccessfully tried to replace a 143-foot tall oil derrick with a 109-foot tulip-shaped sign Tuesday.

The Douglas County Planning Commission voted to deny a variance request that would have allowed a change in the maximum sign height of 30 feet to 109 feet and a change in maximum sign square footage from 115 square feet to 2,423 square feet per sign face.

"The sign is too big for Douglas County," said planning commissioner Lawrence Howell. "It needs to be smaller."

Owners of property near Topsy Lane complained that the sign would not only wreck their view, but that the LED reader board would cause light pollution.

"It would be 300 feet from the sign to my residence," said Greg Malavazos. "With 24-hour illumination, I would never again see darkness or the stars."

In July, the planning commission denied a variance request for a 200-foot oil derrick with three sign faces. Developer Project One appealed the decision to the County Commission. On Jan. 3, county commissioners denied a variance request for a 143-foot version of the oil derrick sign.

"This is not Las Vegas," said commissioner Jim Madsen. "This is Carson Valley."

The casino is the brain child of Max Baer Jr., the actor once known as Jethro, in the 1960s CBS television show, "The Beverly Hillbillies."

The first phase of the massive project would feature a 40,000-square-foot gaming area with 800 slot machines and 16 gaming tables, cinema complex and five-story, 240-room hotel.

Baer has said previously that if everything goes smoothly construction could begin next year and it could be open in 2010.

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