In 2017, Gail Willey attempted to move his landscaping operation (including Colorock) from the South Virginia Street location to a property in a residential neighborhood on Andrew Lane in Pleasant Valley. His argument was that his was a nursery with some landscaping materials and was compliant with area zoning. His large scale rock distribution operation belied that claim. This project was denied by the Washoe Planning Commission. Willey appealed to the Board of County Commissioners and they denied his appeal. He then applied to the Washoe Board of Adjustment. They denied the project. He again appealed to the Board of County Commissioners. They again denied his appeal. He was granted a special use permit for the wholesale nursery operation, but not for the landscape rock operation.
Now, it’s 2019. Willey did not apply for the special use permit for the wholesale nursery. Instead, he started moving his large trees and bulk-bin blocks (roughly 900) to the property with no special-use permit. His lawyers claim that his operation is allowed under the “crop production” category in the zoning. He is bringing in mature trees: these aren’t grown on site. So, he did not apply for a special use permit to operate a nursery and he is not complying with the crop-production requirements in the zoning. There is no credible defense for what he’s doing.
Neighbors have been calling the County Code Enforcement since December receiving no answers or solutions. Neighbors arranged for a meeting with County Code Enforcement on Tuesday, March 26th and requested that their commissioner, Bob Lucey, be present. The neighbors had a detailed presentation describing the situation and Willey’s violations (134 Andrew). Commissioner Lucey arrived late (missing the presentation) and then left early. He was quick to defend the Willey operation saying that it was no different than storing and selling hay. Growing crops is not the same as receiving, storing, and shipping 20′ trees. It looks like Gail Willey is operating a commercial business in an area zoned General Rural”. This is disregarding the South Valleys Area Plan.
Willey has multiple violations.
- He is storing the concrete blocks in a flood plain.
- He has done grading in a flood plain without a permit.
- He is storing commercial vehicles (trucks mostly) on the property.
- He is storing trees for commercial purposes on the property.
- He is bringing in large trucks that cannot navigate the road and his driveway.
- He is bringing commercial trucks through a residential neighborhood before 7:00AM.
- He is not operating his business license as issued and the County stated they are allowing deviation so they could possibly modify the terms of his license in the future.
Willey’s violations have been identified for three months, and there has been no action by Code Enforcement. The neighbors left 27 detailed questions for the Code Enforcement Department that they want answered. The Code Enforcement principals agreed to answer some by next week, but did not commit to answer all of them. Dave Solaro stated that he had sent a letter to Gail Willey on March 25. The Code Enforcement principals seemed reluctant to take any action against Willey and hoped that the neighbors could reach some compromise. The neighbors want to see the codes enforced. They feel the County is allowing Gail Willey to operate a Commercial Business in an area zoned General Rural pretending it is something else. They are alarmed that staff indicated that possible changes could be made to his Business License without citizen involvement. They are concerned that the County Code and included definitions could be changed for one person or business. It looks like another case of Commissioner Lucey not defending the interests of the residents.