In denial

Planning Commission recommends denial of mining in Silver City

Gayle Sherman is a resident of Silver City.

Gayle Sherman is a resident of Silver City.

Courtesy photo

To view a video made by Silver City residents and presented at the planning commission meeting, visit

Silver City residents came out again in large numbers to pack the Lyon County Planning Commission meeting room in Yerington on Dec. 10 and are pleased with the decision made by the commission.

After the month long continuance of the decision about Comstock Mining Inc.’s (CMI) application for a master plan amendment and zoning changes that would allow mining in Silver City’s borders, the Planning Commission has recommended denial to the County Commission.

“For Silver City, it means we won the first round, but we’ve got a long way to go,” said chair of the Silver City Citizen Advisory Board, Erich Obermayr. “The planning commission makes a recommendation. It’s up to the County Commissioners to make the final decision.”

The recommendation from the Planning Commission comes with a 5-to-1 vote denying the master plan amendment and a unanimous vote denying the zoning change.

Obermayr stated that if CMI’s application is approved, it will result in mining operations in Silver City’s borders much too close to residents’ homes—something that is unacceptable to “upwards of 90 percent of the people in Silver City.”

He said he believes mining shouldn’t be allowed within their town limits.

“A mining operation is completely incompatible with a residential area,” Obermayr said. “It’s an industrial operation. It has no place in a residential area.”

Prior to this meeting, Silver City residents had prepared a report as part of their presentation to the Planning Commission with their reasons that the application should be denied. The report addressed legal, planning, historical and real estate issues at stake in this decision. Many of the residents believe that mining will make the area unlivable because of the proximity to their homes—some as close as 250 feet to the proposed area—and are worried about several issues, including real estate values, especially because there is already a pit mine near the other end of Silver City that lies in Storey County.

“If we have a pit mine in the south end of town, we will be bookended by pits, and that is probably not attractive to potential buyers of property in Silver City,” said Silver City resident Gayle Sherman.

Lyon County has a long history of denying requests for mining in city borders, and Sherman hopes that this will continue with CMI’s current application.

The next Lyon County Commission meeting will be on Jan. 2, and residents expect that the County Commission will discuss and decide upon this issue at that meeting.

At this meeting, both the Silver City residents and Comstock Mining Inc. will present information about why they believe the application should be denied or approved. The Planning Commission’s recommendation will be presented, too. There will also be time for public comment where individuals may voice their opinions on the matter as well.

In the time between the Planning Commission and County Commission meetings, the residents of Silver City will “be doing everything [they] can to persuade the County Commissioners to follow the Planning Commission’s recommendation,” according to Obermayr.