Planners OK Minden casino
MINDEN – Douglas County planning commissioners agreed Tuesday to change the master plan to allow a proposed hotel, casino, RV park and housing development near the intersection of U.S. Highways 395 and State Route 88.
The developers, Nevada Northwest LLC, resubmitted their proposal after Minden residents and nearby Winhaven subdivision homeowners criticized the development, saying it would bring increased traffic to the area and disrupt their quality of life.
After nearly three hours of public comment, the advisory board to the Douglas County Commission voted 5 to 1 in favor a master plan amendment and site specific plan for the development. Commissioner Michael Hayes was the dissenting vote.
The plan now moves to the Douglas County Commission, which will hear it Nov. 1.
“It would be hypocritical to say I live in the state of Nevada and couldn’t support 21,000 square feet of a gaming establishment,” said Planning Commissioner Rick Gardner. “Being raised in this area, it makes no sense to say no more gaming.”
The emotionally charged debate began in July when the project was proposed by Nevada Northwest, a combined partnership of Tom Bruce and Reno casino magnate Ferenc Szony.
The project would be built over 20 years. Plans calls for 260 hotel rooms, a 21,000-square-foot casino, 800,000 square feet of commercial space, an RV park, 378 homes, a community park and open space.
Planning commissioners initially rejected the project, saying they wanted to see a specific site plan.
Commission Chairman Jay Lather said that while he still has some “serious concerns” about the project, he sees the alternative- strip commercial development- as a far worse threat to the county.
Economically speaking, the town of Minden and Douglas County stand to make millions from tax revenue, said Rob Anderson of Minden-based Anderson Engineering, which represents the developers.
Direct benefit to Douglas County could be as much as $11.4 million annually, Anderson has said, with one-time tax benefits of $1.6 million to the school district.
The problem, Hayes said in voting against the project, is that casinos create impacts and consume county resources. He said the county may become too reliant on casinos in the future.
“The people who have hitched their wagon to the casino, like Washoe and Clark County, there is a tradeoff,” Hayes said. “I’m just not in favor of it.”
Resident Victoria Joncas said she is concerned about the size of the project, its proximity to Douglas High School and the kinds of clientele it may attract.
“It does look nice on paper and it does look like a Disneyland to me. All that’s missing here are the roller coasters,” she said.
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