Genoa developer revamps proposal |

Genoa developer revamps proposal

by Christy Chalmers, Staff Writer

A Genoa developer has agreed to meet with town residents to discuss a revamped version of the commercial complex she wants to build.

The meeting, set for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Genoa Town Hall, is part of a potential settlement that would mean dismissal of a lawsuit pending before the Nevada Supreme Court.

Lawyers for Douglas County and the developer, Bettie Kanelos, crafted the agreement Friday morning during a mandatory settlement conference.

“We’ll present the new project and assuming the process goes well, she could withdraw the old one,” said Douglas County Manager Dan Holler, who was at the meeting. “It would be just as if there was a brand-new project and it would go through the normal process.”

The new proposal would be considered under a newly-amended ordinance governing the Genoa Historic District Commission.

If the new project wins approval, the old proposal will be withdrawn, rendering the lawsuit moot.

The conflict started when Kanelos proposed a 12,280-square-foot motel and retail building at the northwest corner of Nixon and Main streets. The historic commission, which reviews projects to make sure they match Genoa’s character, balked at the size, saying the building would dwarf its neighbors..

The Douglas County Commission approved the project after being told size couldn’t be a consideration, and a group of residents then sued, taking the issue to district court.

District Judge Dave Gamble reversed the county commission’s decision and the county decided to appeal to the state supreme court.

The county commission approved changes to the ordinance Thursday that emphasize the historic commission’s authority is with architectural features, not zoning or land use decisions. Size falls under the zoning and land use categories.

Holler said Kanelos is now suggesting two smaller buildings at the site. She plans to get comments from residents before submitting the plan to the historic board, he said.

“If people like it, we will move forward with it,” Holler said. “She’s been trying to do a lot of different design things to address the mass of the project. Hopefully, she’ll go with one the vast majority of residents can accept.”

Holler said the historic commission members will be notified, though it won’t be a formal historic commission meeting.

Even if the project moves forward, the debate about the historic commission is expected to continue.

While the changes to the ordinance should prevent a similar situation, Holler said the effects of the ordinance may be studied as part of a master plan or development code review.

The goal would be to establish consistent, long-term guidelines for Genoa, which is one of the state’s oldest towns.