Dining room permit goes to county
July 11, 2015
A proposal to use a Gardnerville Ranchos church into a counseling center and dining room offering free meals 2-3 days a week will go before Douglas County Planning Commissioners on Tuesday for a permit.
Friends In Service Helping is proposing a new use at the home of Great Life Church.
The building was owned by the Pentecostal Church of God until the Carson City charity purchased it for $350,000 in March, according to the Douglas County Recorder's Office.
Both planning staff and the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District board are recommending denial of the permit.
In a letter to the county, District Manager Bob Spellberg said the board felt the location in a residential neighborhood was inappropriate.
That was one of the reasons, Planning Manager Hope Sullivan listed in her recommendation for denial.
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The charity is talking about eventually serving 36,000 meals a year, five days a week, and counseling 1,600 people. That's 3,000 more meals a year than FISH serves at its dining room on Long Street in Carson city, the applicant said.
The church is home to 20 parishioners, who will continue to use the site.
Sullivan cited a Point in Time count prepared by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in January that revealed there were no homeless people in Douglas County in need of services.
One of the justifications listed by the charity for putting a dining room in the Gardnerville Ranchos is that neighboring Meneley Elementary is a Title One school, meaning a percentage of students are getting a free lunch.
According to staff, the building will operate 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays.
"This will yield a more intensive use than has historically been established on the property, creating more traffic, noise and people from outside the neighborhood."
That portion of the Gardnerville Ranchos does not have sidewalks and the facility will be open after dark in the winter.
"Staff is also concerned that since a free dinner meal is not available anywhere else in Douglas County, the proposed service will attract clients from outside of the immediate neighborhood," Sullivan wrote.
FISH has been looking for a location for a dining room in the Gardnerville Ranchos for two years.
Organizers received a $10,000 donation for the project from Wells Fargo Bank recently.
Planning commissioners meet 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Carson Valley Community & Senior Center, 1329 Waterloo Lane, in Gardnerville.