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Baer takes second shot at Douglas County approval

Staff Report

Max Baer Jr. will get another throw of the dice when his Beverly Hillbillies Mansion & Resort returns to the Douglas County Planning Commission 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Baer and Riverwood Partners are seeking a zone change, special-use permit and variance in order to build the casino on land at the Douglas-Carson City line.

The project is east of Highway 395, south of Topsy Lane.

The $120 million casino project split planning commissioners 3-3 at a June 12 meeting. Rather than accept a denial, proponents asked that the item be continued until the full planning commission could be present.

Among the changes sought for the 23-acre casino site are a zone change from general commercial to tourist commercial, a special-use permit to allow unrestricted gambling and a request for variances of the maximum building height from 45 to 143 feet for a 12-story hotel tower, increasing the maximum sign height from 30 to 200 feet and an increase in maximum sign area from 115 square feet to 2,600 square feet for two animated sign boards.

Staff members are recommending approval of Baer’s project, which is part of the 97-acre Riverwood Development.

On June 12, commissioners Mike Olson, Matt McKinney and Bob Conner voted to approve the zoning change and Jim Madsen, Rick Ross and Margaret Pross opposed it.

McKinney said he agreed with staff members’ recommendation of the project.

“Just because Douglas County doesn’t have the codes to deal with projects this size doesn’t mean we can’t have them,” he said. “Let’s do something different in Douglas County.”

Pross said she didn’t feel the project matched the community.

“The master plan calls for a retention of the community’s existing character, accommodating urban growth within the urban service area while maintaining the county’s rural character in the balance of the community,” she said.