Genoa Town Board not in loop for historic commission’s ordinance change

The fence behind the Genoa Park has seen much better days. The town board is seeking a certificate of appropriateness to put it right again.

The fence behind the Genoa Park has seen much better days. The town board is seeking a certificate of appropriateness to put it right again.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

Approval of an ordinance modifying the authority of the Genoa Historic Advisory Commission will bypass the Genoa Town Board before it returns for a hearing on Aug. 17.

Douglas County commissioners introduced the ordinance on Thursday.

Genoa residents Bill Brooks and Cindy Webb spoke in opposition of the ordinance during public comment.

Brooks owns a home on Main Street that is in the historic district, while Webb is owner of the Genoa Bar.

In a letter to commissioners, Webb said the historic district board commissioners are seeking to implement additional regulations, in addition to those it already has.

Formed in 1974, the historic district commissioners are responsible for protecting the town’s historic nature. As Nevada’s oldest settlement, the town is home to structures that date back to the mid-19th Century.

“This seems to be an effort to somehow uniform our town instead of recognizing the eclectic charm it has brought for 172 years,
 Webb said. “We don’t need another layer of regulation.”

The historic district only regulates commercial structures, Deputy District Attorney AJ Hames said on Thursday.

“The Historic District has always required businesses to obtain a certificate of appropriateness,” Hames said. “That’s not new. The district does not encompass the entire town. Their oversight is just non-residential portions along Main Street. The historic district does not oversee residential properties, even within the district.”

Brooks owns the former Meyer-Kassel home on Main Street.
He said the ordinance is designed to codify regulations the historic commission has used contained in the little brown book.

The new code will change the application process, which currently requires applicants to hunt down the chair of the commission to submit. Hames said once the chair had 10 days to review an application and then the commission would have 60 days to meet and determine whether it is eligible for a certificate of appropriateness.

Under the new ordinance, applicants would go through Community Development where they would review and then forward the application to the commission. The 60-day timeline wouldn’t change under the ordinance.

Deputy Community Development Director Andrea Pauling said the town advisory board, which is elected, isn’t related to the commission, which is appointed by commissioners.

The historic commission approved a certificate of appropriateness for the town church and the town is expected to return in August for a certificate to replace the fence around the town park.

Should town board members decide they would like to weigh in on the ordinance changes, they could agendize a discussion in early August and ask the county to make a presentation.

It has been 28 years since county commissioners voted to remove the town board from the historic commission board. The inclusion of the town board was a temporary measure when the county had trouble finding enough members for the historic district.

Genoa does not conduct design reviews, unlike Gardnerville and Minden. The town doesn’t have the resources to hire an engineer to review projects.


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

Sign in to comment