Sparks amphitheater plans get planning approval

SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) - The Sparks Planning Commission is ready to move forward with plans to build an outdoor amphitheater in Victorian Square, on the site of the recently-demolished Bourbon Square Casino.

Thursday night, the planning commission unanimously voted to approve a Conditional Use Permit for the 8,600-seat amphitheater proposed by Marnell Gaming and the owner of the Nugget Casino, Anthony Marnell.

The decision brings the possible plan one step closer to becoming a reality.

Over the last several weeks, city staff has worked with the developer to figure out a plan that would bring the least amount of impact to existing downtown Sparks residents and businesses.

Marnell also worked closely with J Whitt, the president of Silverwing Development; which owns almost all of the newly-built apartments in the Victorian Square area, and who says he had concerns at the beginning.

"I was worried about sound mitigation."

It's a fear he says he no longer has since Marnell changed the orientation of the stage from facing west toward the already-built apartment complexes, to the east where the new Deco apartments are being built.

"The upper levels, we now have time to insulate those walls for sound, which we couldn't do with bridges after the fact."

Marnell says it was important to include Whitt and Silverstage development while putting together the final proposal.

"J and I have always agreed since we got here that we wanted to do the right thing for this downtown area and work together."

Several acoustical studies were done, most of them showing there will be a noticeable noise difference.

With the current proposal, the concert site will be limited to hosting ten large events per year, and event end times would be no later than 10PM.

"I think when it's not in use you won't even know it's there and I think that that's going to be, you know, 350 days out of the year," says Marnell.

Whitt adds this is only the beginning for downtown Sparks.

"Keep watching for Victorian Square because it's constantly changing and it's going to continue to be even more amped up and more exciting than the year before."

If the city clerk doesn’t receive an appeal within the next 11 days, the planning commission's decision will stand.

Opening day for the amphitheater is scheduled for June 15, 2019, with a secret A-list headliner coming to town.