Genoans say they’ll drop lawsuit |

Genoans say they’ll drop lawsuit

by Christy Chalmers, Staff Writer

A group of Genoa boosters will drop their lawsuit against Douglas County if a new version of a downtown project is approved.

John Henningsen, spokesman for Support Historic Genoa, Inc., said Friday the group’s board voted unanimously to support a revamped version of a hotel-retail project proposed by Bettie Kanelos.

If the project proceeds, the group will seek dismissal of the suit it filed against Douglas County that is now pending before the Nevada Supreme Court.

“Essentially, the government process is in place and if it continues as everyone expects it will, the dismissal will follow,” said Henningsen.

Kanelos originally proposed a 12,280-square foot building at the northwest corner of Nixon and Main streets.

Town residents protested, saying the building would dwarf everything around it and dilute Genoa’s historic character. After the Douglas County commission approved the project, a group of residents formed Support Historic Genoa and sued.

A district judge overturned the county’s decision, and the county appealed.

A revised plan was presented for public comment Wednesday night. Tentative drawings show two separate buildings of 8,000 and 4,000 square feet, respectively, with a greenbelt and a courtyard at the corner of the intersection. Trees along the street right-of-way would be incorporated into the project.

“The general feeling was that the attractiveness of the building had improved substantially,” Henningsen said after Wednesday’s meeting. “We are getting a structure that is going to be a much higher-quality structure than what was approved, and what could still be approved if the litigation goes forward.”

Though the design appeared acceptable to the 50 people in attendance, many had questions about issues like sewer service, impacts on nearby wells and how the project will affect Genoa’s look.

“This is a huge improvement over the previous plan, but it’s still huge,” said Sue Haughnes, who operates a bed and breakfast inn.

Linda Sanfilippo, who runs a bed and breakfast behind the project site, said she can live with the new design.

“I think it’s going to look more like a park than a 140-foot wall,” she said.

Douglas County Manager Dan Holler said Kanelos could submit a new application that would be subject to a design review by county staff. The process doesn’t require a public hearing, but Holler said public notices could be posted so residents could look at the plans.

The revised project could be approved in January. Henningsen said Support Historic Genoa’s request to dismiss its lawsuit would follow.