Carson City will set 2006 growth limit - just in case

Carson City officials are poised to set limits on how much growth they would be willing to allow this year should the city be hit with a surprise population boom.

The city sets the limit every year, as mandated by city code, and enforces it by controlling how many building permits are issued. The number of permits is usually pegged by allowing for a 3 percent growth in population and figuring out how many new buildings would be needed to accommodate it. In most years, however, Carson City's growth doesn't come close to 3 percent.

Last year, the city issued 216 permits for new construction - less than a third of what was allowed. In 2003, builders picked up just 25 percent of available permits.

"We're estimating at 3 percent, but we're not growing at 3 percent," said Carson City Associate Planner Jennifer Pruitt.

In 2006, with a newer set of population figures, allowing for a 3 percent growth would mean the city will make 708 permits available. An estimated 715 building permits would be available in 2007, 721 in 2008 and 729 in 2009.

The most permits issued in the last 10 years was in 1996, when the Carson City building department handed out 553 - 94 percent of permits available.

City officials may also elect to cap growth at lower than a 3 percent estimate.

The city also set limits on how much of the available permits can be taken up by large versus small developments, so a mega-developer can't corner the building market in Carson City. If at the end of the year there are still plenty permits available, city planners can issue more without worrying about a developer monopoly.

"We don't allow anybody to take all the allocations at the beginning of the year," Pruitt said.

The Carson City Growth Management Commission, which comes together once a year to set the limit, is scheduled to meet during a recess in the city's planning commission meeting Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in the Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at or 881-1217.


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