Thursday, Nov. 19, 1998 | 9:21 a.m.
Commissioners on Wednesday approved master plan and zoning changes and a special use permit for the $130 million project proposed by Max Baer Jr., who played the dimwitted Jethro Bodine on the hit TV show that aired from 1962-1971.
"I'm pleasantly surprised and I'm happy about it," Baer said following a public hearing on the project proposed for Park Lane Mall, south of downtown Reno.
Commissioners also endorsed the project's 240-foot marquee oil derrick topped by a 70-foot flame. City staff had recommended the entire structure be limited to 80 feet, flame included.
Baer has said Jethro's Beverly Hillbillies Mansion & Casino will rejuvenate Reno's sluggish gambling and tourism industry and pump new life into the struggling Park Lane Mall.
As proposed, the hotel-casino would connect to the mall and the nearby Century Theatres.
Baer has also recommended the mall's interior be remodeled to give a feel of the famed Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
The project must still be approved by the Reno City Council and Regional Planning Commission.