DAWSON COUNTY - More than 200 people gathered at the county courthouse last week to support a rezoning effort by one of the county's popular tourist destinations.
The owner of Paradise Valley Resort and Club, a nudist resort in Dawson County, filed a master plan amendment with the planning commission in August to incorporate and develop land that the owner bought in 2008.
The amendment, filed as a rezoning request, asks for permission to build an indoor recreational facility with a swimming pool and add a wine bar to land currently part of the master plan, as well as incorporate land to be used as new RV and tent sites.
The owner, Jeff Wasserman, received commission approval on Oct. 20 to go ahead with his plans despite complaints.
Resort neighbor of 25 years Nancy Cofield said she had issues with Wasserman's plans and the resort in general.
Cofield and her husband, Cliff, own property directly abutting the resort and the undeveloped plot of land where Wasserman plans to build new tent and RV sites.
Cofield said she wants the commission to consider the rezoning carefully, because it might mean she cannot use her property the way she wants to.
"I don't know how to prevent me or my children or grandchildren from seeing nude people and we want to be able to utilize the land," Cofield said. "We never know if Paradise Valley members are going to be down there."
Cofield also said that the last time the resort came to the board with a master plan, it was approved with stipulations that were not met.
"There were 14 stipulations but none of them were followed through," she said.
According to Jason Streetman, Dawson County planning and development director, as far as he knew the stipulations for the previous master plan had all been met.
A man named Matthew Kaswinkel, a former Paradise Valley Resort resident, also spoke against the application.
Kaswinkel said he was concerned about the tents being inhabited overnight, if the water system has the capacity for the new cabins and if there will be enough parking for everyone.
"I think there is a lot more to do before you approve this," he said. "Something is not right here."
Multiple people spoke in favor of the new developments.
Most of the speakers commended Wasserman's business practices and his commitment to making the resort a great space for homeowners and tourists who like to recreate in the nude.
"The improvements that have been made at Paradise Valley the past 11 years under the ownership of Wasserman have been phenomenal," said Ron Carrabotta, resort member since 2005 and board member of Paradise Valley Homeowner's Association.
"We've received new roads, new amenities and new members at the valley, and seen an increase in the value of my property as well as others," he said.
District 4 Commissioner Julie Hughes Nix made a secondary motion for a new fence to be built on the Cofield property at the expense of Paradise Valley Resort to accommodate the issues the couple brought up.
District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Hamby seconded the motion, and it was approved unanimously.
Commissioners made a motion to approve Wasserman's plans with the new fence as a stipulation, and Wasserman's application was approved 3-1, with District 2 Commissioner James Swafford dissenting.