Hillbillies casino gets zoning change
Nevada Appeal News Service
MINDEN – Jethro Bodine’s Beverly Hillbillies Mansion & Casino got the OK from Douglas County Planning Commissioners on Tuesday for a zone change and a gaming-use permit. The commission’s decision is advisory only.
The decision, if OKd by the Douglas County Commission, allows for tourist commercial zoning with a gaming district on 15.8 acres of a 23-acre site in north Douglas County along Highway 395 between Sunridge Drive and Topsy Lane.
While the project received approval on the zoning change and a gaming-use permit, it got tangled up as planning commissioners sifted through a host of variance requests, most notably the proposed 12-story towers and 200-foot oil derrick, which were denied.
The county commission could adopt the planning board’s decision, modify it, or approve all of the project’s elements.
“Economically, Douglas County is not in a good position. Because of that, the county library and community center have reduced their hours. That’s not OK,” planning Commissioner Lawrence Howell said. “Without variances, we wouldn’t have existing businesses like Starbucks. I’m voting to support the zoning map amendment.”
Howell’s absence from last month’s meeting delayed the decision.
The casino project includes a 40,000-square-foot gaming area with 800 slots and 16 tables, a showroom, cinema complex and five-story, 240-room hotel in almost 300,000 square feet.
Developer Max Baer Jr. and partners will also need a variance to build a 200-foot flameless oil derrick and readerboard, two 12-story, 240-room hotel towers and convention space.
Douglas County resident and long-time Bay area planner Terry Burnes said these variances are akin to driving 100 in a 50 mph zone.
“We request for a 200-foot oil derrick and readerboard, two 12-story hotel towers, a substantial reduction in setbacks adjoining adjacent proposed residential development and a major reduction in parking,” he said. “Why would we do that?”
The casino could shore up Douglas County’s sagging revenues over time through gaming, room and sales taxes and more, according to county officials.
A brand-name project like this has tremendous potential, said Skip Sayre, one-time executive director of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors’ Authority.
“I am in favor of this project for the economic benefits it could bring to northern Nevada, especially in the Douglas County/Carson Valley market,” he said in an April 13 letter.
Sunridge resident Steve Buckley said he wasn’t opposed to Baer having a casino here, but he doesn’t want a 200-foot oil derrick and two 12-story hotel towers in his neighborhood.
“Let him build a few restaurants. Give us a chance to see how he really works and treats his clientele,” Buckley said.
• Contact reporter Susie Vasquez at email@example.com or 782-5121, ext. 211.