Hotel plan riles Minden residents

Minden Town Board members heard an earful Wednesday from neighbors of a proposed hotel-shopping complex they fear will destroy their views and privacy.

"The three-story hotel will be 100 feet from the sofa in our living room," said Shirley Eickenloff, a resident of Minden Townhomes.

"We knew when we bought the place, the land would be developed, but we thought the county codes would protect our interests," she said.

Eickenloff and her neighbors told the board during public hearing they approved of the Minden Gateway Center's design with plans for upscale shopping, but were opposed to the location of the proposed hotel.

"The three-story hotel will lower our property values," said Joan Amann. "Guests will be looking in our windows. Traffic will be coming and going all hours of the day or night."

The Minden Gateway Center is the latest proposal for the intersection highways 395 and 88.

The project consists of a commercial shopping center with pharmacy, restaurant, office retail and hotel uses on 13.3 acres of land at the southeast corner of the intersection.

The Minden Townhomes residents said they were unaware of the plans in time to address their concerns to the town board before last month's approval of the project's design review and variances.

Residents of the two-story townhomes asked if the hotel could be relocated still in keeping with county ordinances that it be a certain distance from Douglas High School.

"Moving the location of the hotel would remove a lot of concerns about noise, pollution and lights," Eickenloff said. "Otherwise, we might as well be living on the sidewalk of Highway 395."

The residents also expressed concern about entrance and exits to the complex and their development.

"The shared road will be a nightmare and an accident waiting to happen," said Raphael Mignogna.

Resident Nancy Kam said residents were baffled "as to how our town and county officials can so effortlessly adopt a plan that remotely follows specific portions of the Douglas County Development Code and the Douglas County Master Plan."

In a statement she read, Kam asked that the board reconsider their approval and bring the project back.

Chairman Bruce Jacobsen said the town stood by its approval and encouraged the townhome residents to attend meetings of the planning commission and county commission to lodge a protest.

"If you don't get satisfaction, you might want to seek legal counsel," he said.

Principal county planner Harmon Zuckerman said the county was happy to meet with the residents and review their concerns.

"Any citizen can appeal for any reason," he said. "We would be very happy to work with the folks from Minden Townhomes."

He said the developer had made some changes in the design.


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