Supervisors wary of subdivision extensions
February 22, 2013
A proposal for extended time to develop a planned unit subdivision turned into an extended debate Thursday about when Carson City should cut off such extensions.The matter at issue concerned Ross Park LLC, the developer, which sought up to three more years to build a a 23 single family unit project on 1.24 acres of property bounded by Snyder Avenue, California Street and East Appion Way. The extension was granted on a 4-1 vote.Some neighbors were on hand to voice their continuing opposition and the developer was present to answer questions, but the matter sparked a lengthy discussion of when approving extensions should end.Supervisor John McKenna said he would vote to approve the request as a matter of fairness, but also raised the question of when a “bright line” should warn prospective builders the city would quit giving them.“We’ve routinely extended these,” said Mayor Robert Crowell, but he made a point of instructing City Planner Lee Plemel to heed Thursday’s discussion, which earlier also had touched on the city’s Master Plan. Supervisor Brad Bonkowski noted the project was approved at about the time the economic downturn slowed development, adding the market will decide whether the developer proceeds. The developer said his project is the right use for the land and he wants to proceed.“We do want to build,” said Mark Neuffer of Ross Park LLC. He indicated, like other previous subdivisions that received extensions, he has been waiting for better times.In part, the discussion was because the extension request came right after board acceptance of the city’s Master Plan annual report, which had some supervisors talking about a town hall meeting on various city issues.Supervisor Karen Abowd said it’s time for a town hall meeting on downtown, while Supervisor Jim Shirk broadened that. He sought a town hall meeting on the overall community as well as whether to cut Carson Street downtown from four lanes of traffic to two.McKenna weighed in first, saying a master plan discussion or review was needed in the future due in part to changes the economic downturn has brought to Carson City.The supervisors’ ideas on the long-term city plan and the short term extension — the latter approved with only Shirk dissenting — came after an earlier report showed the economy is brightening a bit.Michael Solagga, manager of the city’s Business Innovation Resource Center, cautioned care even as he said business and tax receipts are up. “That overall trend is going up,” he said. “It does appear to me that we have hit bottom.”Bonkowski agreed from his perch in private sector real estate. “Our numbers mirror yours almost exactly,” he said. The board in other matters:• Deferred action on an Audit Committee recommendation for a Fleet Management Efficiency Study and a Phase 1 Waste, Fraud and Abuse Program Development proposal. Bonkowski questioned starting Phase 1 without more knowledge of Phase II.• Acting as the city’s Redevelopment Authority, agreed to sign a waiver on an agreement regarding property at 302 N. Carson St. allowing transfer of ownership to Adams Carson LLC, which is owned by the Hop and Mae Adams Foundation, after the foundation’s Steve Neighbors agreed property taxes would be paid. The tenant currently is Sierra Brewing Co. Neighbors said if he wanted a change, he would return to the board with a request then.• Heard from the mayor that he will seek clarification on when City Manager Larry Werner can speak for city on executive issues on legislative matters and when policy matters require board input. The mayor also said he was working with the Bureau of Land Management on wild horse issues in the eastern open space area of Carson City.