Commissioners free lands from Comstock Historic District

The Comstock Historic District Commission voted Monday to release lands in Silver Springs and Dayton from district control saying they don't belong there.

Executive Director Bert Bedeau said a prime example is the portion of the district in the Mound House area where an industrial park was built because no one knew it was within the district boundaries.

Also removed from the district were several houses on the south side of Silver Street between River Street and Highway 50 in Dayton.

"They have been administered as not being in the district for the last 15 years," Bedeau told the commission.

He said in that time, numerous changes that wouldn't conform with district rules had been made to those houses and re-imposing the district's standards there wouldn't be fair.

The commission votes on those recommendations were unanimous, in a meeting at the Storey County Courthouse, because commissioners expected a large turnout. In fact, only 11 people showed up, and just half of them spoke.

Bedeau also recommended removing more than 3,000 acres from the district in the Silver City area, but the commission rejected that idea.

Commissioner Kathryn Ataman, an archaeologist, said while there aren't historic structures on that land, "There are parts of historic Gold Canyon though this area which is where gold was first discovered, Chinese placer mining sites and many, many mines."

"I care that we're about to remove one layer of protection," she said. "There is no reason these sites should be removed from the district."

Commissioners were also told the Silver City Town Board opposed removing all of that land from the district. Board member Erich Obermayr said the industrial park didn't belong in the district, but that the other lands were necessary to preserve the history of the area.

"And you're making an exception which, I would think, opens you up to many other people who could use the same argument."

Brad Wieser of Gold Canyon Road said he moved there five years ago and wants out of the district.

He said a friend can't bring a new manufactured home to their neighborhood because of district rules. He said he was never told he was in the district when he bought the property.

"Why are we in this situation where we can't do what we want?" he asked. "I think we should be taken out of the historic district because there are no historic buildings whatsoever where we live."

He was joined by Grace Greener and other area residents, but the commissioners disagreed.

"I agree Mound House should be taken out," said Commissioner Bob Kershaw. "For the rest of it, in the present proposal, it's hard to agree with changing anything. Once you start changing, you never stop."

Chairman Bob Milz agreed. But he said the commission is going to record on deeds in the area the fact that it is historic so that future buyers know.

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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