Lyon County’s Planning Commissioners face a tough decision at their Nov. 12 meeting in Yerington. That’s when Comstock Mining Inc., actively mining in Storey County, asks county planners for a master plan amendment and zone change so they can mine in long-time, residential-zoned sites around Silver City.
Despite residents’ objections, on Oct. 8, the PlanCom approved CMI’s reversion to acreage request to combine nine Silver City town-site lots to a 14.08-acre parcel located off Highway 341 above the historic Dayton Consolidated Mill, the proposed mining sites.
Residents opposed the land consolidation because they claim it opens the door for CMI to obtain a master plan amendment/zone change and then apply for a special use permit to open pit mine.
CMI is expected to ask the county to amend the master plan from “suburban residential and resource” to “rural residential and resource” and change the zoning from “rural residential 5-acre minimum to a 20-acre minimum” at the Nov. 12 meeting.
After reading a fairly long description of the word “resource” use as noted in the master plan, it’s my understanding mining operations are acceptable uses on private property that’s located in remote or rural parts of the county, outside or within communities.
If CMI’S master plan zoning change request is denied or approved by the PlanCom, the matter automatically goes to the county commission. If it approves changes and applicants want to mine the property, they need a special use permit. The process begins again at the PlanCom level, but commissioners make the final decision.
I wouldn’t want to serve on either board to make decisions for such controversial land use change issues.
I am not opposed to mining. I’m proud to be a coalminer’s granddaughter and miner’s daughter, born and reared in Nevada mining towns. I’m still a rockhound, while my sister Gloria is a gemologist and prospector; she hasn’t found her “Eldorado” yet, but she and her son, David Manning, have high hopes.
However, I believe residents have property rights, too. How many folks would want a full-bore mining operation practically in their backyards? Wouldn’t you fight it?
Mason Valley residents opposed the construction of a solar plant in their neighborhood, citing “negative impacts to property values, restriction of natural views, including glare from the planned solar panels, and concerns with re-vegetation and dust and more.” Rightly so, the commissioners supported residents’ opposition. If nothing else, it should be illegal for a business or individual to devalue private residents’ property. Residential property owners get the shaft too often.
Imagine the noise echoing throughout the small Silver City mountainous canyon neighborhood. On a summer eve, walking in our rural Dayton neighborhood, I’ve heard the whistle from the V&T train in Virginia City. Sound travels in mountainous terrain.
It’s easy, too, for other county citizens to call people “NIMBYs” (Not In My Backyarders) because they oppose governmental changes that obviously would affect their daily lifestyles adversely, particularly when others’ lives wouldn’t be affected at all.
But “nimbyism” isn’t the main issue here: Silver City is listed in the National Historical Landmark. It’s a living museum within itself, and what’s left of yesterday should be preserved.
Commendations to CMI mangers who spent thousands of dollars to help stabilize the Dayton con mill. However, I wonder if there would be much of the old mill standing once blasting starts.
Yes, Silver City is a community founded 160 years ago due to its precious mineral resources. But, when today’s residents settled there during the last 50 or more years, mining wasn’t the main industry. It’s not like folks who move next to an active mining operation and then complain about rock-crushing noise and blowing dust.
Silver City historically has been a quiet town since gold and silver mining died through a federal government mandate during WWII.
A teenager in the 1950s, I walked down the middle of Silver’s streets and byways; there was nary a sound. The stars were so bright, you could almost hear them twinkle.
Laura Tennant is a Nevada native, Dayton historian and the Leader-Courier’s former editor. Comments are welcome. Call 775-246-3256, e-mail, L10ant38@gmail.com or write, P.O. Box 143, Dayton, NV 89403.