Combs Canyon subdivision to go before city planners

Developers, who are asking planners to support a 78-unit subdivision between Timberline and Lakeview in Combs Canyon, will be facing opposition tonight not only from area residents but the city's community development staff.

The proposal is set for a hearing before the planning commission at 7 tonight in the Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center.

Community Development Director Walt Sullivan said his staff has recommended denial of the 82-acre project. He said Lumos and Associates representatives need to answer a number of questions about the project if they want support.

In addition, staff reports indicate a number of residents in Lakeview and Timberline have called in, questioning the project.

Developers apparently interpreted the city's questions as an attempt to block the project for the political reasons. Through their attorneys, they said the city could be violating federal fair housing act standards and threatened legal action if their project wasn't approved quickly.

The letters argue the project is dedicating 20 percent of the homes to low-income families and states that any city delays in approving the project could be construed as discriminatory.

"Finally, if any action by the city or its officials, inimical to the interests of minority families or children, stems from political accommodation to certain segments of the public who oppose the presence of minority families with children, that motive may be ascribed to the city and its officials making them potentially liable," the final letter in the file states.

District Attorney Noel Waters replied with a letter advising Los Angeles lawyer William Davis the city "is under no duty to construct, plan for, approve or promote any housing except on its legal merits."

"The Combs Canyon Planned Unit development must go through the application process just as any other applicant must and, with any proposed development, Carson City will abide by all local, state and federal laws," the letter states.

Sullivan said those exchanges were in response to his staff's questions about the details of the project. He said the application was reviewed by both the city and state officials and that the low-cost housing plan is unclear. And his staff report raises questions about parking and open space in the project, among other issues.

"It just won't pencil," he said. "We don't understand how it's going to work."

The staff report says the plan isn't clear whether the units will be for rent, lease or sale.

In addition, it says the average lot size is just over 8,000 square feet, in an area where the average lot is more than a half-acre - or more than 21,780 square feet. The report says the average house size proposed is about two-thirds the size of surrounding homes.

Lumos and Associates representatives will get the chance to answer some of those questions at the hearing tonight.

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.

If you go

What: Carson City Planning Commission

Where: Sierra Room of the Community Center, 851 E. William St.

When: 7 tonight


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