With the fate of a 500-home subdivision hanging on the outcome of a lawsuit in Carson City District Court, city officials are going on with business as usual, with the recreation commission scheduled to consider a park plan for the embattled development Tuesday.
"We have an application and we have an obligation to proceed with it," said Carson City Principal Planner Lee Plemel. "In this case, the applicant understands this issue is out there."
The proposed South Carson City subdivision on 120 vacant acres along the Douglas County border was first opposed by nearby residents living on one-acre parcels who want the area to consist of larger lots than the average suburban subdivision.
Now the subdivision is being challenged in court by neighboring landowner the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, citing environmental and safety concerns along with alleged procedural errors in its approval by supervisors.
While waiting for a court date, the city will continue work on the proposed subdivision's intricacies, such as its park system and engineering.
The plan, to be unveiled for parks and recreation commissioners Tuesday, consists of three neighborhood parks and several linear slices of open space leading to them. In total, 12.1 acres will be set aside for park space - a 41 percent increase from the 8.6 acres developers had suggested this spring.
Future residents of the subdivision, planned for the area of Racetrack Road and Schulz Ranch, could also be the first in Carson City to pay an extra fee to help fund maintenance of their own parks.
Developers usually donate land and pay the city $1,000 per home to fund the creation of parks, but they don't help the city pay for ongoing park maintenance after the recreation areas become the city's responsibility. City officials earlier this year acknowledged that the increasing number of neighborhood parks could some day cause a problem for the now tax cap-limited parks budget.
The city maintains at least 22 neighborhood parks that were taken over from developers. This year, the city will take over four more neighborhood parks and in two years parks from yet another subdivision will be eligible for city takeover.
A state law passed in 2003 allows cities to create landscape maintenance districts in which residents of a particular neighborhood are charged an extra assessment to help pay for their parks.
Carson City has yet to create such a district but officials are using the Schulz Ranch development to see how it would work.
"This is the first time we're looking at it and we have to see what it means to the public," said Park Planner Vern Krahn.
- Contact reporter Cory McConnell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.