Lyon County looks to ease cost for commuters |

Lyon County looks to ease cost for commuters

Pat Patera

Lyon County, largely a bedroom community to Carson City and Reno, looks to provide commuters with bus service from Virginia City and Silver City to Mound House and Dayton.

“With gas prices high, how can we help residents afford to commute?” Lyon County Planning Director Rob Loveberg asked during an economic conference a few days ago.

And, he adds, the county’s master plan, currently under revision, will allow for accessible, transit, pedestrian development patterns.

“It’s not like in the past when it was assumed everyone would get in the car,” he said. “We need to look at communities in a more cost-efficient manner. Develop existing communities before expanding out into undeveloped lands to keep costs of government services down.”

Master plan revision begun late in 2006, says County Planner Paul Esswein, and major portions should be completed by year-end.

The county also seeks to provide more employment within its borders.

The master plan is an attempt to analyze land uses, says Esswein. It recommends expanding in Mound House and at Dayton Industrial Park. While not much private land remains there, he says, adjacent public lands could be exchanged.

The county also looks to Yerington, where land adjacent to the now-closed Anaconda Mine remains under lease from the Bureau of Land Management.

“The master plan will be brutal,” says Ray Johnson, Lyon County Planning Commissioner. “Developers vs. residents. So it’s important, developers, to get your word in because new residents are overflow from urban areas and they say, ‘We don’t want what we left behind.'”

Development over the past 10 to 15 years has been developer driven, says Johnson, and he calls the result helter-skelter planning.

“The solution is a public-private commitment to work together.”

The economic conference was the brainchild of Carolanne Thompson, executive director of the Dayton Valley Chamber of Commerce. She says she hopes the event proves to be the first step “to bring together diverse business interests in Lyon County.”

“This little seminar took place to jump start recruitment,” she says. “Chambers of Commerce in Dayton, Silver Springs, Fernley and Yerington will spearhead that.”

(Lyon County once had several economic development groups for Fernley, Silver Springs and Mason Valley in the 1980s. They were subsumed by Northern Nevada Development Authority.)

Thompson also plans to start a business council for Lyon County and expects to have manufacturing and industrial firms large and small on the council. She points to the industrial region of Mound House to seed a membership target of 200 to start. And she is building a board from different industry segments. Financing would come from council members.

“It’s been far too long that everyone has done their own thing,” Thompson says. “I see a need to bring quality businesses here. The potential is vast.”

She points to a need to clean up the Highway 50 corridor and calls it “Project Take Pride.” She’s approached major paint companies for donations to tackle the esthetics of highway storefronts.

The summit drew about 130 people from business and government, including Lyon County Manager Dennis Stark, Lyon County Engineer Dick Faber and Lyon County Planning Commissioner Ray Johnson.

Thompson brings an extensive background in industry and building to the chamber position, which she assumed about five months ago.