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Judge confirms slaughterhouse denial

Residents crowd into the CVIC Hall to speak on a proposed slaughterhouse in November 2019.
Kurt Hildebrand

Douglas County’s denial of a slaughterhouse at Centerville was upheld in court this week.

Visiting Judge Janet Berry ruled that the county commissioners unanimous decision was supported by substantial evidence and was not an abuse of their discretion.

Berry also ruled that allowing experts in opposition to the proposal was not a violation of Karin Sinclair’s due process rights.

“The court finds this argument to be without merit,” Berry said in her ruling, filed Thursday with Douglas County District Court. She said that the commission chairman is allowed to manage the agenda of a  public hearing “while giving all citi9zens the right to voice their opinions to the board.”

She said the Nevada Open Meeting Law gives “considerable discretion to the public body as to length of time allowed to speakers.”

“Further, a public agency may rely on public comment and testimony in denying a special use permit, where the public testimony indicates the project would adversely affect adjacent land uses.”

Berry did express some concern about an email sent by Commissioner Larry Walsh that appeared to prejudge the request.

“Sinclair suggests his email appeared to advise other decision makers of his judgment, including employees of the county who are tasked with making recommendations to the Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners, and as such violated the open meeting law,” the judge wrote. “Although the court is disturbed by Commissioner Walsh’s conduct and failure to take precautions to avoid the appearance of pre-deliberations by sending his email correspondence to other decision makers … the court find it does not rise to the level of an open meeting law violation such that the unanimous decision of the BOCC merits reversal.”