Edgewood puts master plan on hold
Nevada Appeal News Service
It will be at least fall before the newly named Edgewood Companies is ready with a direction for its extensive holdings in Carson Valley.
Chief Executive Officer Brad Nelson said the company decided not to pursue a new master plan amendment in the last cycle.
“Right now we’re on hold,” he said. “We’ve had some discussions about what an application should be and we haven’t come to a decision. The underlying criteria for the whole thing is how do we keep an effective business going. We still have the land and water and land uses to consider. I think that in 3 to 6 months we will have a direction we can go.”
Nelson said he’s heard that the county may alter its master plan amendment ordinance to extend the process.
The present ordinance requires the master plan requests to be heard by the planning commission in August and county commission in September.
“The county may change the submittal date,” he said. “There’s talk about spreading the workload out.”
Nelson said Park Cattle’s previous attempt might have been difficult to consider in the required timeframe.
“People couldn’t get their arms around it,” he said. “Part of the problem was the process. In other places you would have to submit, but you wouldn’t go to hearing until you worked through all the issues. It wasn’t so much the acres, but the kind of uses we were talking about and particularly the time frame. Remember we got postponed because the airport issue came up. We were not aware of a whole lot of issues that came up on traffic mitigation. We said we can solve all that, but people didn’t want to go forward without the solution.”
He pointed out that even if the economy were perfect it would be 3 to 5 years before any work was done on a new project.
“I think we can come up with a better plan,” he said. “It would not be unusual for a piece of property of this scale to spend a year or more in process, if the regulations change on submittal and hearing. That’s what it would take to get everybody to understand and answer all the questions, to get that comfort level raised up.”
Nelson said that the economy may make a new project more palatable to county officials.
“There might be some attitudinal change in the community,” he said. “We may get a different reaction to what we do. There’s also a new board of commissioners.”
The state of the economy is affecting the Stateline casinos, which are on property leased by Edgewood, and generate most of Douglas County’s gaming taxes.
Edgewood won a lawsuit against the owners of the Horizon and Montbleu casinos last year when it was still named Park Cattle.
Nelson said the recent spinning off of the Horizon from its previous owners as they emerged from bankruptcy had the potential to be a crisis for the county.
“As Tropicana was coming out of bankruptcy as a whole new company, it created some complexities in the leasing we had on the ground,” he said. “There was a chance that the Horizon would close, but we were able to get through that. I know there’s been some layoffs, but we kept the casino open. Closing it would have had a huge impact on sales tax and would have affected the whole image of the South Shore.”
The struggle to keep Stateline viable is an important part of Edgewood’s profitability.
“It’s tough times up there,” he said. “Room rates are dropping, but we’re hoping for a good summer. The preliminary signs are pretty good, occupancy levels are where they need to be. The concern now is how much people are going to spend when they get here?”
Nelson said the future of Edgewood Companies lies in its new name.
“This is a very old company,” he said. “We started with the idea that the family bought the property up at the Lake on Edgewood Creek. Most people know Edgewood in this region. Park Cattle Co. still exists in some of the subsidiaries. But we’ve got an awful lot of family members who aren’t named Park anymore.
“We have a growing company and a growing family,” he said. “We need to decide how we move forward and plan for future generations.”