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Genoa parties discuss new development plan

by Christy Chalmers, Staff Writer

Development plans for a downtown Genoa corner may not have to wait for a Nevada Supreme Court decision.

Douglas County Manager Dan Holler said Monday the parties involved in a lawsuit over a motel-retail building planned by Bettie Kanelos are discussing a new plan that would resolve the situation.

“I think our prospects are very good,” said Holler. “We’ve had some very positive discussions on both sides.”

Kanelos wanted to build a 12,280-square-foot building at the northwest corner of Nixon and Main streets, but the Genoa Historic District Commission balked at the size, saying the structure would dwarf everything else and ruin Genoa’s historic character.

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.

Since the appeal was filed, Holler said Kanelos has been reworking the plan and the county has been reworking the ordinance governing the Genoa Historic District Commission to clarify what it can and can’t do.

If Kanelos withdraws her current application and submits a new one, the new one could be considered under the new ordinance, resulting in approval for the project and dismissal of the lawsuit,

“She’s talking about the same size project with a whole new design, possibly two smaller buildings,” said Holler. “She’s been working with some of the residents to determine if this type of development meets their expectations.”

Holler is scheduled to formally update the county commission on the lawsuit Thursday. The commission is also scheduled to act on the changes to the ordinance governing the historic board.

Holler said the lawsuit and the project are two facets in a long-term issue relating to Genoa’s appearance. Eventually, the county might reconsider the historic commission’s role and that of the town board.

“It all comes back to a design issue. How will Genoa look in three or five or 10 years?” said Holler. “If we get the lawsuit behind us, we can look at that bigger picture.”