Zone change request turned down by advisory council

Citizens for Affordable Homes Inc. was rejected again in its attempt to change the zoning of its office building.

The Dayton Regional Advisory Council rejected CAHI Chief Executive Officer Ron Trunk's request for a zone change that would allow professional offices at 100 Pine Cone Dr., a home the group uses as an office for the Gold Country Estates development. The nonprofit organization that helps low-income clients build their own homes would like to continue to use the home as their office after Gold Country Estates is fully developed.

The current zoning of single-family non-rural residential, does not allow for office buildings. CAHI wants to change the zoning of the building to multiple residence, non-rural residential, which does.

Trunk later said he still planned on taking his request to the Lyon County Planning Commission.

"There's no quittin' this dog," he said. "What they decided on is totally against our rights. There's case law against what they did."

At the meeting, Trunk took issue with remarks from the planning department that, in recommending denial of the request, called the CAHI office, "a real estate office."

"We don't possess a real estate license, no one at our office is a licensed real estate agent and we sell no real estate at that location," Trunk said. "To say that we have a real estate office, which is precluded from a professional office, is false."

Trunk went on to define "professional office" and said his organization's work qualifies for that designation.

Trunk said the intended use for that house, which is about twice as large as the other houses in Gold Country Estates, was always to be the organization's offices.

When asked why he didn't seek the designation when the development was approved, Trunk said the group wanted to keep its options open and be able to sell the house as a residence, if necessary.

In September 2005, CAHI requested a change for the same property to commercial zoning, and was denied by the Lyon County commissioners in the face of opposition from neighbors, who were concerned about it becoming some other kind of business, such as a bar or convenience store.

Trunk said the commercial designation was sought then at the advice of the planning department, and said had he known it was an option, he would have requested the multiple-residence zone change.

Dee Scott, chairman of the advisory council, defended CAHI.

"They're getting a bum rap, because they are not a real estate office," he said. "They are providing a service to people who don't have a lot of money to put down, so with help, they can build their own homes."

Several other DRAC members, however, expressed reservations.

Nancy Sbragia expressed concern that allowing the zone change would set a precedent for other developers to maintain offices in residential areas, and Richard Foley said it clearly didn't fit with the rest of the development.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 882-2111 ext. 351.


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