Historic commission will decide on new Comstock District boundaries

In the Nevada desert, it's hard to tell one historic sagebrush from another.

The boundaries of the Comstock Historic District, which envelops undeveloped desert and the historic buildings of Virginia City, may soon be modified.

Advocates in favor of the boundary changes say that it's about time to cut out the parts of Storey and Lyon counties that don't belong in a historic district, such as an industrial park.

"We have a piece of the Mound House industrial park that doesn't need to be in the historic district," said Burt Bedeau, Comstock Historic District administrator. "And there's also modern buildings that don't need to be in the historic district, and undeveloped areas that don't need to be."

But drawing up boundaries is not any easy process. Bedeau said the Dayton district boundaries conflict from the published map to the verbal description.

He's proposing to eliminate Walmsley Estates from the historic district and a portion of Pike Street and Ziller Way north of Fourth Avenue, which includes the post office. Six parcels directly north of Silver Street are also proposed to be cut out of the historic district.

This doesn't sit well with Laura Tennant, vice president of Dayton Museum Historic Society.

"We would be opposed to removing anything that is already in the Comstock Historic District," she said. "As far as we understand Silver Street is one of the streets they want to remove. That's one of the oldest sites in Dayton."

The society is also in favor of adding the Dayton historic cemetery to the district.

In Silver City, he's also proposing to eliminate about 3,520 acres from the historic district.

"We had a request from several property owners to be removed from the district because we have strict design standards for new construction," Bedeau said. "And those have proven to be difficult for these property owners to meet."

The purpose of the district is to regulate historic structures and new structures in the context of the historical significance of the area. He said those areas proposed for elimination do not have any historic structures.

"In the light of what our mandate is, these are areas that don't make sense to have in the historic district," Bedeau said. "But it's up to the commission to make that decision."

The nine-member, state appointed Comstock Historic District Commission should hear the issue at future meetings.

The Comstock Historic District spans between Mound House and Lousetown, which is north of the Virginia Highlands. It contains a large portion of Storey County and a smaller area in Lyon County. Gold Hill, Silver City and Virginia City are the primary sites inside the historic district.


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