Project manager: Towers, derrick necessary for Hillbilly casino’s success |

Project manager: Towers, derrick necessary for Hillbilly casino’s success

by Susie Vasquez
Nevada Appeal News Service

Gardnerville – The project manager for Jethro Bodine’s Beverly Hillbillies Mansion & Casino said Thursday the casino project would fail if all of its elements can’t be built.

“We want to bring something special to Carson Valley,” said project manager Don Smit. “We believe these variances essential to the success of the Beverly Hillbillies Casino. Take any component away from the fabric of this project and you’re looking at failure.”

Douglas County’s seven-member planning commission considered seven variances for the project Tuesday, and five of those were approved, including a zoning change, gaming overlay, special used permit, a reduction in the number of parking spaces and a reduction in the number of loading docks.

Variances for two 143-foot hotel towers and the 200-foot oil derrick and readerboard were denied. The current height allowance is set at 45 feet, according to county officials.

The Planning Commission decisions were advisory. The decision will ultimately be made by the Douglas County Board of Commissioners.

Located between North Sunridge Drive and Topsy Lane in north Douglas County, the $120 million project includes a 40,000-square-foot gaming area, cinema complex, restaurants, spa facilities and 720 rooms, to be built in phases.

The casino would be the only truly themed resort in Northern Nevada and the Beverly Hillbillies brand would give the area national exposure, Smit said.

“What works for local casinos won’t work for us,” he said. “If you want a local casino you should reject this project. If you want us to provide an attraction with national appeal, you need an open mind.”

Planning Commissioner Mike Olson said with the height of this derrick and towers, project officials are asking valley residents to accept something Carson Valley has never had before.

“The Matterhorn (at Disneyland) is 140 feet,” he said. “This is a quality project. I get calls both in favor and opposition, but we want something that will be a jewel, not a stain on our valley.”

Commissioner Margaret Pross said the variance conditions would apply to other properties in the same area if the 200-foot oil derrick is approved.

“When you look at that height, it isn’t what we want,” she said. “It will change the character of this valley forever.”

“I’m for the project, but an oil derrick won’t fit with the character of Douglas County,” said Planning Commissioner Matt McKinney. “Anyone making reservations will know where it is.”

The height is a minimum by most standards, said project spokesman Dr. Robert Miller.

“We’ve moved big buildings and changed sizes. We’re in discussions with our neighbors and we’re working with people,” he said. “We promise big benefits and we’re not going away.”