Riverwood proposal hits snag | RecordCourier.com

Riverwood proposal hits snag

An effort to eliminate the last traces of the proposed Beverly Hillbillies Casino hit a snag on Tuesday when planning commissioners deadlocked on a master plan amendment.

A dozen years after the 732-room high-rise hotel, casino and 2,100-seat theater were approved on Dec. 4, 2007, there’s nothing on the property at the northern entrance to Douglas County but a big black pile of dirt.

On Tuesday, representatives of Manhard Consulting sought a change in the North Douglas County Specific Plan that included a change to the master plan, zoning map and tentative subdivision maps.

Planning commissioners voted 3-3 on the main part of the proposal after planning commissioner Mark Neddenriep recused himself. The alteration would have required a super majority of the board to be approved.

Planning commissioners Devere Henderson, David Akola and Maureen Casey voted against the plan, while Kirk Walder, Bryan Oland and Jo Etta Brown voted in favor.

The specific plan was approved in 2000 while much of the land north of Sunridge was still in the Bureau of Land Management’s hands.

At the time, the county was in competition with Carson City to attract retail development in order to generate sales tax. Douglas was also trying to raise money to purchase sensitive agricultural property.

The property was also eventually included in redevelopment area No. 1 in order to encourage commercial development.

The last modification to the specific plan occurred last year when county commissioners approve Valley Knolls on land purchased from the BLM. A housing site further north owned by Big George Ventures is part of the proposal rejected by planning commissioners on Tuesday.

Manhard representative Chris Baker said that among the changes are elimination of the tourist-commercial zoning required for the casino, reduction of general commercial from 500,000 square feet to 100,000 square feet.

Baker described the current proposal as a larger scale version of the Valley Knolls project.

“We are shifting usage from big box retail and a casino to residential,” he said. “We’re up a little bit on the residential and we’ve swapped the hotel-casino for a school site.”

He said the plan leaves some of the commercial in place to make it more compatible to the neighborhood.

“We want to shrink these properties down to something more compatible to neighborhood commercial as opposed to the big box commercial we’re trying to get away from,” he said.

The planning commission is advisory to the Douglas County Board of Commissioners, which has the final say on the project.

The casino included in the current approval is one of two approved in Douglas County. The other site is located on the south side of Sunridge since the early 1990s.