Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to update the correct voting.
The Planning Commission meeting room was full Wednesday, which usually means a controversial item is on the schedule.
Instead, every item on the agenda — a casino at the former Grandma Hattie’s, a move for the Salvation Army, a new residential development in part of Lompa Ranch, and a zoning change for an RV Park on Old Hot Springs Road — attracted public comment.
Several residents near the proposed Lucky Strike Casino at South Carson and Sonoma streets spoke about concerns with traffic, noise and security.
The property is in a retail commercial zone so the business needs a special use permit (SUP) to operate gaming. The applicant also wants to install a 30-foot free-standing sign, which exceeds the 20-foot height allowed by code.
Stephen Pottéy, senior project manager, Public Works, said average road trips for a casino of the size proposed didn’t trigger a requirement for a traffic study.
Staff recommended approving the sign because nearby signs, including the Motel 6 and Super 8 motels, exceed 20 feet. A condition was added the sign, which features electronic messaging, not shine into residences to the east.
The commission voted 4-1 to approve the SUP. Commissioner Hope Tingle voted no, and Commissioner Paul Esswein was absent. The commission is currently down to six members since Candace Stowell recently resigned.
Traffic is the main concern for residents on and just off Railroad Drive, near where Blackstone Development Group is planning to develop 27 acres of Lompa Ranch. Currently, the parcel can only be reached via Railroad Drive.
In May, the commission heard the application and voted to recommend to the Board of Supervisors the zoning change from agriculture to single-family 6000 and a specific plan for developing the property that required a secondary emergency access until traffic required a full public road.
The board considered it earlier this month and voted to require the developer put in a second public road built to a rural standard until full build out of the development, when the road would be upgraded to city standards with curbs, gutters, and sidewalks.
That sent it back to the commission, and staff recommended a more stringent version, requiring the developer to upgrade the road at 75 percent build out of the development or bond for 150 percent of the cost of improvements.
The location of the second road isn’t specified and some residents were concerned it would end up going to Firebox Road, a short street already congested by traffic to Fremont Elementary School.
“It’s important we know where the access road is going to be before we give them license,” said Lee Halter, a nearby resident, during public comment.
The road will be reviewed when the developer submits a tentative map for the development.
“There will be controls over it,” said Chairman Mark Sattler. “We need to get past this phase to see what the next phase is.”
The commission voted 4-1 to send the staff recommendation back to the board for approval. Tingle voted no.
The commission also approved an SUP for a church in the former Greater Nevada Credit Union building at Second Street and Pratt Avenue.
The Salvation Army is leasing the building with plans to purchase it now that the organization has outgrown its existing facility on Colorado Street.
One resident voiced concerns about noise and car lights while two others associated with the Salvation Army spoke in support of the move.
One condition of approval requires the new tenant to replace a chainlink fence at the south end with a solid, six-foot fence to block headlights from shining in nearby houses. A condition added by the commission prohibits drop off donations except for food at the location. The commission approved the SUP unanimously.
Finally, the commission recommended to the board a master plan amendment to change 1588 Old Hot Springs Road from industrial to community/regional commercial and to change the parcel’s zoning from general industrial to tourist commercial.
Don and Richard Langson, who own adjacent land, spoke in support of the changes, which reverts the parcel to the zoning designation it had until 2015.
The property is expected to be developed as an RV park.