Homeowners file open meeting law complaint
November 20, 2007
Opponents of a north Minden development filed a complaint with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, charging the Douglas County Board of Commissioners violated the open meeting law when they filed into a back room before making a decision.
“Douglas County citizens have a clear right to honest, open government under law. When due process is circumvented by secret meetings and other political tactics, our form of government and our American ideals are trashed,” the Minden Townhomes Homeowners Association said in their complaint.
“The meeting was conducted in a manner which thwarted the presumptive rights of the public, and … we believe this ‘back room’ practice has been and no doubt remains ongoing.”
The Minden Townhomes Homeowners Association filed the complaint Nov. 17, after the alleged “back room meeting” at the Nov. 1 board meeting.
Planning commission approval for the proposed Minden Gateway Center was appealed by the Homeowners Association in the hopes that plans for a three-story hotel, and an access road cutting right next to the front yards, could be altered.
“The design, pertaining to the positioning of the hotel and use of the shared access roadway has been highly controversial for all local governing boards as well as many of the citizens who have spoken in defense of the homeowners and their appeal,” the Homeowners said.
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Commissioner David Brady started to make a motion, but was cut off as a break in the meeting was called when the alleged violation occurred.
Deputy District Attorney Bob Morris said he has not received notification of the complaint. Brady was interested in asking a legal question and those issues were discussed, but there was no basis for a complaint, Morris said.
“There is a section in the Open Meeting Law that allows a board to meet with their attorney,” he said. “It isn’t considered a meeting. It’s a specific exemption, to allow a board to meet with their attorney.”
Homeowners spokeswoman Nancy Kam said the district attorney should have notified the board that this type of meeting violated the open meeting law. Calling a recess in the middle of a motion may also not be procedurally correct, she said.
• Susie Vasquez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 782-5121, ext. 211.