By Nicole Barde


You can find the Agenda HERE, County Manager Pat Whitten’s summary HERE and the video/audio HERE.

Pat Whitten’s report covers all of the voting items. I’ll just expand on a couple of them.

There were scant Staff reports …County Comptroller Hugh Gallagher announced “We’re in the Cloud”!…this refers to the County going through the installation of a new cloud-based system and the migration of all the current data onto it. NO SMALL FEAT! It means more accessibility for us “customers” and a cleaner system for the County.

Pat Whitten said that the Highway Patrol has requested some space in the County’s annex at TRIC. The volume of crashes on USA Parkway ( a State Route),  as well as the number of traffic tickets being handed out, requires a local NHP station due to stepped up enforcement. They would like the space rent-free but they would be doing all of the maintenance required. It’ll be for 3-6 people and there would be no processing of suspects at the facility.

When the Commission recessed as the County Commission in order to convene as the Liquor License Board so that they may hear a liquor license request for the Ponderosa Saloon, resident Gary Schmidt got up to object to the form and format of the agenda item. Specifically that each “entity”, in this case the Storey County Liquor License Board, is required by NRS and the Open Meeting Law, to post a separate agenda for their proceedings. There was a great deal of heated back and forth in two sessions between Mr. Schmidt and Commission Chair Marshall McBride resulting in the bailiff being called to remove Mr. Schmidt from the podium and Marshall calling for a 5-minute recess……….

When the Commission resumed after recess, D.A. Langer suggested that the item be continued until the November 18th meeting so that they could look at the Open Meeting Law requirements.

The agenda item regarding the approval of a Special Use Permit for an accessory building in the Highlands on Castle Peak generated quite a bit of discussion. There was quite a bit of confused back and forth on this.

The owners wish to convert a detached garage, which is already plumbed for kitchen and bath facilities, into a mother-in-law quarters. They have applied for an SUP to do that and the Planning Commission approved it. It came up that the size of the unit, 1500 sqft, would exceed the 1000 square feet which is the current allowable detached dwelling size. It was noted that a variance would also be needed in order to fully go forward on this project. It was asked if the owners could partition the garage so that it would comply with the 1000 sqft limitation and the answer was yes, but at great cost. Planner Austin Osborn noted that Title 17 of the County’s Plan was being revised and that there would be more accommodating language in it once passed. The Commission decided to go ahead an approve the SUP without kicking it back to the Planning Commission for the additional Variance.

Public Comment was next and it was interesting, to say the least.

Charles Cozack ESQ got up to speak. He is an attorney representing Drusilla Thiessen a C Street Merchant and author of the 1300 signature petition to remove VCTC Executive Director Deny Dotson from his job. Mr Cozack stated that Pat Whitten’s denial of Ms. Thiessen’s request for an agenda item on the Commission’s agenda to hear her petition is a violation of her first amendment rights. Specifically the right for citizens “to petition their government for redress of grievances”. He further stated that this action was a conflict of interest for Pat Whitten and that they will be filing an ethics complaint….among other things.

Mr. Joe Panacaro got up to read a statement into the record on this matter and further stated that he’ll be seeing the County and others in Federal Court over this.

Alexia Sober, Coalition member and C street merchant got up to say that the Coalition did not support this petition and decided to pursue a different avenue to address their issues with Deny Dotson. She also stated her support for the Ferrari Hill Climb.

Drusilla Thiessen got up to say that she had 1352 signatures and wished for the reinstatement of the Ferrari Hill Climb.

Dennis Chiodo, a Ferrari Hill Climb member, got up to say that he felt black balled by Deny Dotson and also requested that the Ferrari Hill Climb be reinstated.

Roly Harris, a Hill Climb participant, stated that in a conversation with Deny Dotson, Deny told him “ I don’t make any money from your event”.

Sam Toll also got up to say that he supports the return of the Ferrari Hill Climb and tried to work with Pat Whitten to do it this year but time ran out.

SIDENOTE- There are two approaches to the numerous issues that the merchants have with Deny Dotson and the VCTC. The petition that was being circulated by Drusilla Thiessen is one approach where they call for the immediate dismissal of Deny Dotson as well as “demands” for three other things. This petition was circulated to everyone including visitors to the town over the last several months. It was designed to be presented at the Commission meeting to Pat Whitten who is Deny’s boss.

The alternate approach is that of the Coalition which is choosing to work together as merchants and residents to identify the issues and try and work them out with Deny and the VCTC Board of Directors. All three of the issues that are listed in the petition are ones that the Coalition have also identified to work out with the VCTC . The key difference is that the Coalition wants to work cooperatively with the VCTC and isn’t demanding that Deny be fired….they figure that will happen all on its own….they want to move forward regardless.

FULL DISCLOSURE—I have been helping to facilitate the Coalition meetings.

Gary Schmidt got up to thank the Commission for allowing applause during the meetings. Apparently, it’s free speech! Who knew??

………..and the meeting ended on this note.

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