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Genoa hotel should go back to board

by Christy Chalmers, staff writer

Douglas County commissioners are expected to send a request for a hotel-retail building proposed in Genoa back to the Genoa Historic District Thursday.

The county commission had approved Bettie Kanelos’ request for the 12,280-square-foot building in June, but a district judge says the building’s size is a matter for the historic board to consider.

In a ruling issued Sept. 27, District Judge Dave Gamble said building sizes can be factored into a review of whether projects match Genoa’s character.

The county commission was scheduled to hear a request to change one of the requirements it set during the June hearing, but with Gamble’s decision, that hearing will likely be cancelled. Instead, the board will get a formal briefing on Gamble’s decision and probably remand the matter to the historic board.

Kanelos sought the historic board’s endorsement of the project, to be located at the northwest corner of Main and Nixon streets. Genoa claims to be Nevada’s oldest town, and the historic board reviews new projects to make sure they won’t dilute that flavor.

Talks deteriorated as each accused the other of not providing enough information for action. The historic board denied the project and Kanelos appealed to the county commission.

The size of the building was the biggest source of disagreement. Town residents said the structure would dwarf surrounding buildings, while Kanelos said she needs a 12,280-square-foot building to make the project profitable.

District Attorney Scott Doyle told the county commission size couldn’t be considered as a factor in approval. Soon after the commission’s decision approving the project, several Genoa residents formed a group called Support Historic Genoa, Inc. and went to court.

In his ruling, Gamble said the advice on size not being a factor resulted in an arbitrary 7,500-square-foot limit and prevented a full review of the project.

“The (county commission) should instruct the (historic) commission that it may consider the size of the building, as the size affects the proposed structure’s outward appearance and its congruity with the community,” Gamble wrote.

The county commission can hear any appeals of the historic board’s decision, he said.