North Bodines still on track after appeal denied
November 17, 2016
A new Bodines casino in north Carson City is still on track after the Board of Supervisors Thursday denied an appeal of its special use permit.
The board decided there wasn't enough evidence to overturn the Planning Commission decision in September granting a special use permit for an unlimited gaming casino and bar to Silver Bullet of Nevada LLC, Bodines owner, at NorthTown Plaza.
In an unusual occurrence, the board members voting were reduced to two, Supervisors Karen Abowd and Lori Bagwell, who voted to deny the appeal.
Mayor Bob Crowell, whose former law firm represents the applicant, and Supervisor Brad Bonkowski, whose partner in his commercial real estate office, Bruce Robertson, is the broker on the property where the Bodines is planning to locate, recused themselves.
Both had received opinions from the District Attorney's office so their absence reduced the quorum to three.
Then Supervisor Jim Shirk, who didn't get a decision from the DA's office, said he was abstaining because he had received money for his recent campaign from some of the casino properties appealing the decision.
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The vote was 2-0 to deny the appeal with Shirk abstaining.
The appeal was filed by Garrett Gordon of Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP on behalf of five local gaming businesses — the Carson Nugget Casino Hotel, Fandango Casino & Hotel, Gold Dust West Casino Hotel, Carson City Max Casino and SlotWorld Casino.
Gordon and Severin Carlson, partner, Kaempfer Crowell, representing Silver Bullet, argued the case with Dean DiLullo, general manager, Carson Nugget and Jonathan Boulware, general manger, Gold Dust West, also speaking as appellants.
Gordon argued the decision didn't comply with certain goals of the city's master plan, specifically goals to keep casinos clustered in the downtown corridor and to allow casinos that offer upscale amenities and attract visitors from outside the area.
Silver Bullet is attempting to acquire the now defunct Horseshoe Club's gaming license, which is grandfathered in before municipal code changes, allowing Bodines to open a new casino without 100 or more hotel rooms.
Because of that, the property is expected to cater to the limited local market and not bring in customers from elsewhere.
Gordon and Boulware contended the Horseshoe Club license is expired and can't be transferred, but that's not the purview of the Planning Commission and couldn't be argued in the appeal.
The transfer of the license will be determined by the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Gaming Commission as well as the Board of Supervisors which will consider that at one of its December meetings.
The SUP is conditioned on Silver Bullet obtaining a license.
Bagwell said the Planning Commission emphasized the master plan goal of revitalizing blighted retail areas like the old Kmart mall, as NorthTown Plaza is known, over the goals of clustering casinos downtown.
"Did the Planning Commission make an error in making redevelopment of that zone a higher priority than gaming properties?" said Bagwell. "There's not enough evidence that they did."
The casinos can appeal the board's decision to the district court.
Gordon said after the board voted he would be representing the casinos when the board hears the transfer of the gaming license, contending the license is expired and can't be sold.
Energy savings agreements
The board also voted to confirm the engagement of Sherman & Howard as bond counsel for bonds issued for $3.1 million and $1.2 million to finance citywide energy-saving projects.
In connection with that, the board heard on first reading an ordinance authorizing installment-purchase agreements and adopting a resolution on a Green Community Program.
The projects include replacing boilers at the Aquatic Facility and City Hall and installing LED lighting throughout city buildings.
The new equipment should reduce energy costs by $193,000 in the first year, said Tom Grundy, senior project manager.
The installment contract guarantees the cost saving will cover the debt service or the contractor will pay the difference, essentially ensuring the city pays nothing for the project.
"Most if not all of the work are items currently on our (capital improvement program) list so it's not a matter of we're doing the work because of the agreement. We have to do the work regardless, and basically now at no cost to the city," said Bonkowski. "I look at this and think how can we do more of this?"
The supervisors also adopted on second reading an ordinance that adds all-terrain vehicles to a motorcycle ordinance regulating noise and other disturbances in residential areas.
Now four-wheel off-road vehicles will not be allowed within 500 feet of homes except for snow plowing and weed abatement.
The board also agreed to participate in the Northern Nevada Development Authority's Brownfields Assessment Program grant application with Douglas County for $600,000.
The grant will help identify and clean up industrial brownfield sites and possibly add them to the Certified Sites program, which readies properties for quick sale and development.
In other actions, the board approved the $110,970 purchase of a Caterpillar c15 generator for the Multipurpose Athletic Center, which would enable the site to be used as an emergency shelter; accepted two grants totaling about $2 million for fuels reduction work; and heard an update on Transportation Advisory Forum of Carson City, which may be extended into next year.