Carson City plan: How to deal with population growth

Carson City's population is growing fast, and residents have a big stake in what shape that growth will take.

A series of public workshops and comments from the Carson City Board of Supervisors have narrowed options for growth accommodation to three options, according to Carson City Principal Planner Lee Plemel:

n Grow out, by purchasing surrounding federal lands for expanded development

n Grow up, with higher density zoning and redevelopment

n A little bit of both.

As it stands, population growth - 2.6 percent annually since 1990 - is forcing the city to scrap its 1996 master plan and come up with a bigger and better alternative.

City planners held a series of public workshops in October to hear what residents think they should do with impending growth.

The workshops have been helpful for planners, but they need more information from the public before any decisions are made regarding possible land purchases, zoning changes or new redevelopment plans.

In the meantime, Plemel said, planners will thoroughly investigate all the options available to them.

"We are going to evaluate the Bureau of Land Management properties and surrounding private lands to see the potential for development," Plemel said.

He said one area of particular interest to the city is the portal between Carson City and Lyon County, much of which is owned by the BLM and private landowners.

They'll study slope conditions, proximity to surrounding development and other factors that may affect the city's decision to either buy out or grow within existing boundaries.

Plemel said the BLM is willing to work with the city to solve its growth dilemmas, but no deals have been struck between the city and the BLM concerning transfer of ownership or land purchases.

"Any changes would require an amendment to the BLM's urban interface plan," Plemel said.

And it's too soon to know, he said, if those changes are necessary.

He said another viable option for growth management is creating more compact growth within the city's existing boundaries.

"A lot of communities choose to grow that way," Plemel said.

He said a combination of federal land purchases and in-boundary growth is another possibility.

The next workshop for gathering public opinion on the direction of the city's growth will be sometime in March, Plemel said.

For information about the master plan update, call 877-2180 or visit


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