Casino stumbles over oil derrick, towers |

Casino stumbles over oil derrick, towers

Douglas County Planning Commissioner Lawrence Howell tipped the balance in favor of development of Jethro Bodine’s Beverly Hillbillies Mansion & Casino today when he voted to approve the needed zoning change.

While the project received approval on the zoning change and a gaming-use permit, it got tangled up as planning commissioners sifted through a host of variance requests, most notably the proposed 12-story towers and 200-foot oil derrick, which were denied.

The Douglas County Commission has final say over the changes.

“Economically, Douglas County is not in a good position. Because of that, the county library and community center have reduced their hours. That’s not OK,” Howell said. “Without variances, we wouldn’t have existing businesses like Starbucks. I’m voting to support the zoning map amendment.”

The decision, which allows tourist commercial zoning with a gaming district overlay on 15.8 acres of a 23-acre site, was split 3-3 in June after Howell excused himself from the proceedings before the decision.

Commission Chairman Bob Conner gave casino developers the option of forwarding the project to the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners, or a re-hearing with planning commissioners in July and project officials opted for the latter.

The vote was 4-3 with commissioners Margaret Pross, Jim Madsen and Rick Ross opposing.

The special use permit allows for unrestricted gaming use on 15.8 acres in Riverwood, a proposed commercial district on 97 acres in north Douglas County.

The project includes a 40,000-square-foot gaming area with 800 slots and 16 tables, a showroom, cinema complex and five-story, 240-room hotel in almost 300,000 square feet.

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