On Wednesday, May 11 the County Planning Commission’s Public Hearings section of the agenda had two items - one was approved, one was denied.
The first application was for a special use permit for a firearms and ammunition retail business submitted by Michael Christopherson, owner of Big Mike's Guns and Ammo for property located at 5083 Reno Highway, a single-story two-store commercial building situated on approximately one acre of land in the area across the highway from Ott's Farm Equipment. Christopherson told the commissioners that he's been selling firearms and ammo for seven years from his home. “This building is well-built for security reasons.” Planning and Public Works Director Chris Spross stated for the record, “We received a comment from the sheriff that their department has no objections to the location, and he wishes Mike well.”
Christopherson described his plans for the new location, and the new security measures he will be implementing. “We have already reinforced the walls with steel bars. The upper attic has been reinforced and triggers have been built into the walls and attic so that if anyone starts tampering with a wall or ceiling, it will trigger an alarm. We have 28 cameras installed and want people to know they are being watched. Security is the most important thing to me.”
Planning Commissioner Deanna Diehl asked about his licensing, parking including handicap spots, and plans to which Christopherson replied, “I have all necessary licenses, federal and state so this is just an address change to them. We have plenty of parking but yet to set handicap spaces, and the building will be fully handicap accessible. Should the tenant next door vacate, we would also like to expand into that space for hunter education training and other activities.” Planning Department Senior Planner Dean Patterson told him about conditions in the staff report that approval of his application will be subject to, and Christopherson said he would have no problem complying. Planning Commissioners unanimously voted to approve his special use permit request.
The second item was an application for abandonment of an easement submitted by Ralph and Deborah Mills for their property located at 4572 Bebe Ann Way. The request was to abandon a 60-foot wide easement and “related parallel easements” that extend east to west across the 2.29-acre triangular parcel, denoted as Parcel 10 on the applicants' map. The easements were included in the Cluster Development parcel maps drawn for Mills in 2006 and recorded with the county in 2009. Ralph Mills appeared to discuss their request and when asked by Chairman Charlie Arciniega to expand on his application, Mills responded, “Primarily to increase the available area of the lot on a road that goes to nowhere. It would also make the parcel possibly more salable.” Planning Commissioners were told that Bebe Ann Way runs adjacent to the Sheckler drainage ditch and is paved the entire way including the cul-de-sac which fronts Parcel 10.
Spross noted for the board, “As part of this application, it's our responsibility to send this request to the various utility companies and the Road Department. We will review it internally as part of the county utility system. We had comments back from BoR and Southwest Gas that they had no objections, however, the Road Department and the Public Works Department do object to abandoning this easement for several reasons. This easement was purposely established to provide a road and utility easement as a connection to the land east of Bebe Ann Way where it meets Chavez Road which would connect to Sheckler Road. This is a fairly large parcel, about 2.3 acres, and with the easement still in place, it still leaves approximately one-half to three-quarters of an acre of developable land. So, at this point in time, both the Road and Public Works Departments object to abandoning this easement.”
Attorney Ben Shawcroft pointed out a provision in the County Code saying, “The County, which is acting as the public utility in this instance, must recognize that once an objection is made, that the reservation of that easement has to stay in place, that it can't be abandoned. There is no further discretion by the board, they have to reserve it. Obviously, this is a recommendation that has to go to the County Commissioners, and they do have the authority to override this board's decision.”
The result was that the abandonment request was denied on a 4-to-2 vote. The application will now go to the County Commissioners for review during their June meeting.
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