Planning hears Genoa complaints about flooding potential |

Planning hears Genoa complaints about flooding potential

by Sharon Carter

A request to modify a Genoa business’ special use permit to match circumstances which have existed for several years met with controversy Thursday when neighbors asked the Douglas County Planning Commission to attach special conditions to the permit change.

The Wildrose Inn Bed & Breakfast at 2332 Main Street in Genoa has rented and paid room tax on five bedrooms from 1993 to June of this year, when it was discovered the business’ permit was for four bedrooms.

The business’ new owner, Sue Haugnes, represented by former owners Joe and Susan Antonucci, requested officials to modify the permit to allow renting the fifth bedroom.

The request was reviewed by county community development staff, which recommended approving it.

However Monday evening, planning commissioners were given letters from the town of Genoa and the B&B’s across-the-street neighbors Frank Saunders and Bev Butler which requested the approval contain special conditions.

Saunders’ letter asked that a parking area on the southeast corner of the B&B property be declared an illegal access within the public right-of-way and, if allowed to remain, be moved further back on the property toward the mountains to allow for future drainage repairs.

Douglas community development Director Bob Nunes said Tuesday most if not all the south parking area was on the business’ property. He also said the property’s primary parking area to the north satisfied all parking requirements for the business.

“We know within a foot or two where the property line is,” Nunes said. “The county is not in a position to resurvey the town of Genoa.”

Nunes also said if the Douglas County were to take a hard line on parking in the public right-of-way in Genoa, most of its downtown parking areas, including those at the Mormon Station Historical Site, would be illegal.

Dovetailing with Saunders’ request, Bev Butler’s and the town’s concern dealt more specifically with the channel of the Schoolhouse Canyon Creek, which has been shifted over the years and which, during severe floods, damages downstream properties.

Over the years, the creek’s descent from the tiny, steep Sierra canyon west of the town has both moved naturally and been shifted mechanically.

Robert Loveberg, a Minden planning consultant who represented Butler, asked the commission to require Haugnes to grant the county a 20- to 25-foot easement across part of her property for drainage improvements.

Loveberg said he brought the request forward because when the original permit was issued, the county had no review of previous changes made to the creek.

“The county has the opportunity to review the issue now,” he said. “In the creek’s present position, flooding will more likely affect Butlers’ (property).”

The letter from the Genoa Town Board simply asked that Haugnes be required to participate in drainage improvement measures, which could include granting drainage easements.

During a break in the proceedings, Genoa resident Nancy Miluck said at least a portion of one of the neighbor’s concerns had to do with old grudges and she felt “the town should butt out.”

The planning commissioners said they applauded the use of the Wildrose Inn’s request as a platform upon which to air Genoa’s drainage concerns, but ruled it was a separate issue from the one before them. The commission, with a four-member quorum, unanimously approved the B&B’s request.

In other business, the planning commission:

n Extended the deadline for the Arabian Heights tentative subdivision map for 12 months. Developers, who want to create 14 five-acre residential lots from a 74-acre parcel in the Ruhenstroth area, are awaiting a flood plain ruling from the Federal Emergency Management Administration regarding Smelter Creek.

n Postponed until September hearing an appeal of the director’s decision modifying the tentative subdivision map of the Genoa Lakes Planned Unit Development.

n Approved rezoning property at 2262 Calle Hermosa in Fish Springs to 19-acre parcels from five-acre parcels. The property’s owners, Roy and Susanne MacMillan intend to have a vineyard on the property.

n Approved a planned development overlay for the Walley’s Hot Springs timeshare resort so the developer may sell the individual units.

n Approved a variance to reduce building setback and the parking space requirements for the offices addition and remodel of the CVIC Hall for the town of Minden.

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