Cordevista master-plan amendment denied |

Cordevista master-plan amendment denied

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

After a crowded meeting filled with accusations and thinly veiled references to legal action, the Storey County Planning Commission denied a request by Blake Smith to amend the county’s master plan.

Smith originally sought a master-plan amendment and zone change on 11,000 acres he owns from an industrial area to a mixed-use, residential and commercial area with 8,500-15,000 homes, shopping and office complexes.

In three previous planning commission meetings and three town meetings, Smith continued to pursue a master-plan amendment as well as a zone change.

But this time, one of Smith’s attorneys, Stephen Mollath, alleged the master-plan amendment was not necessary, as the developer now believes his project is in compliance with the master plan.

Planning Commissioner Larry Prater disagreed and suggested ending the meeting.

“If it is their view that this is unnecessary, then why are we talking about it?” he asked.

Mollath responded that the developer had a legal right to have a record before this commission as part of the “legal process.”

Planning commissioners Larry Prater, Austin Osborne, Lydia Hammack, Virgil Bucchianeri and Chairman Doug Walling voted to deny the master-plan amendment request. Peter Maholland voted against denial and Brett Tyler abstained.

Tyler, who represents Lockwood, said he didn’t feel comfortable voting without knowing where the proposed development’s water would come from or how excess water flowing into Lockwood would be addressed.

“Residents in Lockwood are for Cordevista, but until I get more information, especially on water, I didn’t feel comfortable voting one way or the other,” he said.

Smith said he was not sure what action he would take, or whether he would appeal before the county commissioners.

State Sen. Mark Amodei, another of Smith’s attorneys, accused a Storey County Commissioner he would not name of having “an interest in a competing project” and with creating an air of hostility in the community and threatening staff.

Commissioner Greg “Bum” Hess’ uncle holds an interest in the Painted Rock development of 3,500 homes, which was approved last year.

“He’s made those comments before,” Hess said. “They’re just accusations, but they’re completely false. It’s sad to see your state senator accuse someone of doing that. The air of hostility was created by them when they started threatening lawsuits.”

Both County Manager Pat Whitten and Building Dept. Administrator Dean Haymore denied any threats occurred.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 882-2111 ext. 351.