Douglas County tries to weaken Genoa Historic District | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Douglas County tries to weaken Genoa Historic District

MINDEN – Douglas County, blocked by a judge from overriding an advisory board in historic Genoa, is moving ahead with a plan to force the panel to abide by general zoning and planning policies.

The county commission has introduced an amendment to the codes that govern the Genoa Historic District Commission.

The impetus was developer Bettie Kanelos’ efforts to get approval for a 12,280-square-foot motel and retail building in the center of Genoa, which claims to be Nevada’s oldest town.



The historic commission, formed by the county to review new projects and ensure they fit in with the town’s historic character, balked at the size of the proposed building – 10 times larger than the town church next door.

The town firehouse is now the largest building on Genoa’s main street, at about 8,000 square feet.



Kanelos appealed to the county commission, which on a split vote granted approval after being advised by the district attorney that size couldn’t be considered.

A group of Genoa residents then sued, and Douglas District Judge Dave Gamble overturned the approval. The project opponents’ lawyers argued the historic board got authority from the county years ago to consider building sizes.

”I don’t think it was ever the intention of this board to have an appointed board dictate property rights and zoning,” said Commissioner Steve Weissinger.

The commission is appealing the district court ruling, and at the same time moving ahead with the proposed amendment that spells out exactly what the historic commission can consider.

The amendment will be considered again in December, and several residents have suggested changes. One would turn the historic commission’s duties over to the town board, whose members are elected.


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