Lyon County demands CAHI move office
Appeal Staff Writer
Complaints from residents near a Dayton neighborhood built by Citizens for Affordable Homes Inc., have pushed Lyon County to demand the organization move its office out of the residential zone by the end of the month.
The county rejected proposals in 2005 and 2006 from CAHI to rezone the area so it can keep a permanent office on Pine Cone Road in the Gold Canyon Estates subdivision.
The organization gives instruction, materials and financial assistance to low-income families building their own homes. It is funded through federal grants and private donations.
At the end of July, interim Lyon County manager Bob Hadfield sent a letter to the organization saying he will “direct the district attorney to formally enforce the zoning code” if CAHI has not moved its office by Aug. 31.
“Listen, from the time the building was under construction they’ve been advised (to move),” Hadfield said in an interview. “The building department has a thick file on it.”
But organization Chief Executive Officer Ron Trunk said it has a right to be in its office until it finishes construction on its houses, which will be done in late 2009.
“The underlying issue is that we still have a sales office and a construction office here and, according to county ordinance and precedent that has been set with other developers, we are allowed to have that office.
“I’m not talking about having it rezoned,” he said. “That’s off the table, that’s not an issue.”
The organization would be willing to move its administrative and accounting departments in the office, Trunk said, but should be able to keep some sort of model home office in the same way other developers do.
Neighbors, however, say they’re frustrated that the group has not followed the same rules other county residents do.
“We as the neighbors are just supposed to shut up because this is a ’cause,’ and I’m real sick of it,” said Judy Kent, who lives on Jasper Street, behind the housing development. “I’m up to my eyeballs.”
Kent and others have gone to meetings, collected petitions and talked to county officials to get the group to move its office.
“I’m not opposed to development,” she said. “I’m just opposed to people thinking they can do whatever they darn well please, flaunting the laws of Lyon County.”
Carole Lester, who also lives on Jasper Street, said she’s supports what the organization is doing but doesn’t like that the offices have been there after its rezoning request was denied.
“It’s residential,” she said. “They wouldn’t have it in their own residential wherever they live … They snucked all this (stuff) through here and then wanted to get it all passed.”
Trunk said he doesn’t know what will happen at the end of the month, but said he hopes to reach an agreement with the county. He added that the organization might go to the attorney general if the county takes “legal action.”
“He’s advised me he’s talked to the attorney general,” Hadfield said. “The attorney general has no authority on local zoning codes. I’d be happy to meet with the attorney general.”
Al Kramer, who is on the CAHI board of directors, said he and others have been looking at other places for the office. He said he doesn’t think his group will have to move everything, though, just enough to reduce it to a sales and construction office.
Lyon County Commissioner Bob Milz said county officials have scheduled a meeting with the organization for Friday and hope they can reach a deal then. It’s time the two sides to stop sending letters back and forth and start talking, he said.
“I’ve been a supporter of theirs for years, but this issue has kind of stretched our relationship – maybe with some misunderstandings on both sides of the issue.”
What’s going on
The situation: Lyon County says
Citizens for Affordable Homes Inc. has to move its office, located in a residential area in Dayton, by the end of the month.
The history: CAHI had requests for rezoning rejected in 2005 and 2006. It built the office in 2005 in a subdivision of houses it is helping low-income families build. There will be about 80 houses when the project is done at the end of 2009.
What the county says: CAHI has been violating the zoning ordinance for two years and residents are complaining. Enough is enough.
What CAHI says: It will work with the county, but it does have the right to operate an office for sales and construction out of a model home.
• Contact reporter Dave Frank at email@example.com or 881-1212.