Valley Bar loses first round in zoning dispute
November 17, 2006
MINDEN – Owners of the Valley Bar were tripped up in one of the first steps in their effort to rebuild the historic bar in Centerville.
The Douglas County Planning Commission on Wednesday denied a request to create commercial zoning on the original site, .44 acres at the corner of Centerville Lane and Highway 88.
Together with residents, many longtime Carson Valley ranchers showed up in support of the proposed master plan amendment. County commissioners will hear the matter in December.
Julian Larrouy, who owns the property with his sister Sybil Dunagan, said he was very disappointed by the decision.
“I was not expecting this,” he said. “I felt this was a situation that should not have required a change. To have it turned down was surprising. The bar was in existence for so long.”
Economic Development Manager Mimi Moss said Larrouy had to apply for a master plan amendment because the parcel the bar occupied was zoned agricultural, and county staff was recommending approval.
Recommended Stories For You
“The code does recognize nonconforming uses for historic structures. That has to be done through the state Historic Preservation Office,” she said.
Moss confirmed that Centerville had commercial uses since the 1900s and there was no anticipated change in traffic as a result of the rebuilding.
Planning commissioners voted 4-2 in favor of the bar, but Deputy District Attorney Tom Perkins said that didn’t meet the requirements for a master plan amendment, which required at least five votes to succeed.
Several residents spoke on behalf of rebuilding the bar including Andy Aldax, Arnold Settelmeyer, Russel Scossa and Jim Slade.
“I was shocked at the decision,” Settelmeyer said. “The historic use was not recognized. That should have overridden any other concerns.”
Slade said that with the historical use, he felt the master plan amendment should be approved.
Aldax said that just because someone failed to alter the zoning for the bar during the 1996 master plan update was no reason to deny the amendment.
“It is no fault of our friends,” he said. “There used to be two bars in Centerville. It was a small community. I urge passage.”
Former bartender Mary Ervin testified that the Valley Bar was a special place with lots of support.
“I was there 11 years as a bartender,” she said. “It was a wonderful place. It was absolutely devastating when it burned.”