Minden homeowners must have attorney to proceed with lawsuit

A lawsuit filed by neighbors to stop the development of the Minden Gateway Center was kicked back by a district court judge.

Judge Michael Gibbons ruled that Minden Townhomes Association President Nancy Kam may not represent the association in the case.

Kam wrote and filed the injunction Dec. 28. She planned on representing the association, which could not afford the estimated $30,000 for legal representation.

"No lay person, including the chairperson of its board, may act on its behalf in the court system," Gibbons said. "Since the HOA (homeowners' association) is not properly represented at this time, the court cannot act on its pleadings."

The association agreed with most of the Gateway project but objected to the proposed three-story hotel in their back yards, and charged the project was not properly and legally reviewed by the Douglas County Board of Commissioners.

"We asked for the decision to be voided because the county failed to obtain the proper findings for their ruling," Kam said. "It's a shame our county couldn't follow its own rules. Now, the people of Douglas County are bound by their decision."

Developers of Gateway Center should also be named in the association's injunction because their interests could be harmed, Gibbons said.

Kam would subsequently be liable if the developers were included, a chance she couldn't take, she said.

"We don't want to sue the big California developers. We just want Douglas County to follow their own master plan," she said. "The lesson here is, if the county doesn't follow its own code and master plan, there isn't a lot the average person can do."

Gibbons also ruled that he could not issue a preliminary injunction without an indication on when construction was to begin or what the effect would be.

The injunction charged that the board abused its discretion by approving the design application decision and alleged the record showed the project violated the goals policies and spirit of the master plan.

Charges include county staff also failed to provide an accurate statement of facts as related to the required findings, in addition to various county code requirements.

"The commissioners were capricious," Kam said. "They reviewed erroneous information and acted without the facts. They voted on the issue and let it go."

Located on 13.3 acres near the intersection of State Route 88 and Highway 395 in Minden, the proposed center includes about 191,000 square feet of building space, used for everything from retail shops to a grocery store and hotel.

The location offers high visibility and the highest per-capita income in Nevada. Residents spend $85 million outside of the trade area and a significant portion of that could be spent in the proposed center, according to information from the Minden Gateway Center's Web site.

After a protracted debate in which most commissioners voiced concerns, they denied an appeal by Minden Townhomes in November by a 3-2 vote, thus paving the way for the project.

Commissioners Nancy McDermid, Kelly Kite and Jim Baushke approved the project. Commissioners Doug Johnson and David Brady cast the two dissenting votes.

n Susie Vasquez can be reached at svasquez@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 211.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment