Owners, Gardnerville tangle on laundry
A conflict that has been festering for nearly a year came to a head in Gardnerville on Tuesday night.
Dave Nishikida, who owns the former Gardnerville Laundry, told town board members that he has been trying to resolve the issue with the structure since it was struck by a vehicle on March 27, 2019.
“The problem here is that we have other forces in play besides money,” Nishikida said. “We still have to deal with the insurance company, who won’t do anything with it without a bid.”
A code enforcement complaint against the property was filed by Gardnerville Town Manager Erik Nilssen.
Town Board members voted to return to the issue in three months with an update from the Nishikidas.
“I don’t care how much time you guys give me,” he said. “If I can’t get someone to tear it down, I can’t get someone to tear it down.”
One of the concerns with the property is that there is a heating oil tank that requires removal.
“We can’t move forward with a plan without knowing the ground can be used for other purposes without being a hazard to someone’s health,” he said.
Nishikida said he and his brother are in a Catch-22.
The building was not insured, but the vehicle that struck it was. He said the insurance won’t settle until he can obtain a bid to work on the building. However, he hasn’t found a contractor willing to do a bid either to repair it or to tear it down.
“I’m not asking anyone to look the other way or begging you to help me,” he said. “If you don’t want to help, that’s fine. My brother and I will find a way.”
Gardnerville doesn’t actually have the authority to enforce the building code, but Nishikida said the town has been pressuring the county to move forward with the complaint.
Town Board Member Linda Slater said she believes the issue needs to be resolved.
“A fire could take out this whole block,” she said. “This needs to come to some conclusion and be brought back to the board if they so desire. Otherwise, the county needs to move forward with the code enforcement to a conclusion.”
Converting the property to a parking lot isn’t actually an option, since there is no means to get in and out without tearing down Nishikida’s home on Mission Street.
Building Official Dave Lundergreen told the town board the structure is not safe to occupy, but that is not the same thing as being condemned.
Nishikida said his mother operated a laundry out of the building starting in 1940.
The Nishikidas operated the laundry until 1965 when the building became an agency for an out-of-town laundry. According to Maria Nishikida’s obituary the building was still accepting laundry in 1979.
Nishikida said the death knell for the laundry was the elimination of on-street parking on Highway 395.
A narrow strip of parking was allowed along the highway through Gardnerville until 1992 when the state opted to install the center turn lane. The lack of parking would affect any business that might occupy the building. The Town of Gardnerville is accessed from Mission Street.