Goodwill Industries seeks good will from city

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Debbie Bedoy, employee for Goodwill Industries, looks over a wicker tee-pee at the donation center on South Carson Street on Monday. The nonprofit is seeking permission from planning commissioners to allow sale of secondhand goods at a store on North Carson Street.

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Debbie Bedoy, employee for Goodwill Industries, looks over a wicker tee-pee at the donation center on South Carson Street on Monday. The nonprofit is seeking permission from planning commissioners to allow sale of secondhand goods at a store on North Carson Street.

Goodwill Industries wants to expand its presence in Carson City, but current zoning won't allow the group to do so - at least at its preferred site.

The nonprofit seeks permission from planning commissioners to allow sale of secondhand goods within the city's Retail Commercial district. Goodwill representatives will make a request to these officials Wednesday.

Goodwill wants to operate a second donation center and a store at the 13,000-square-foot former Roger's Carpet One building, in the 3700 block of North Carson Street

"We were caught totally unaware of this issue in our planning process," said Rob Harden, marketing CEO for Northern Nevada Goodwill. "We've looked at over a dozen sites."

Other facilities have been considered but rejected because they've been too costly to rent or the wrong size. Adequate parking and access are among other considerations, he said.

Some of these include the vacant 10,000-square-feet building on North Carson Street that used to house Sears and a warehouse on Fairview Drive and Roop Street that's about 20,000 square feet.

General Commercial zones are areas where retail and wholesale sales of new and used items can occur. Offices, repair and service business also can be located within these sections. Retail Commercial zones, however, allow for offices and retail sale of new merchandise and exclude "all uses in the General commercial and Industrial districts, except for some service uses compatible with the zone," according to the city's municipal code.

The North Carson Street property would provide a "complementary addition" to an area with a charter high school and other businesses, for example, because of the high quality of items it resells and the training it offers residents, Harden said.

Goodwill opened its donation center on South Carson Street in 2005 but continues to resell items in the group's store on Oddie Boulevard in the Reno-Sparks area.

"We know the impact we make in the community," Harden said. "We are closely connected with the right zoning."

The planning department "supports the concept of this type of business and hopes Goodwill can do well in our area," according to a staff report. But "sale of secondhand materials is not allowed in the requested (retail commercial) zoning district."

There are some exceptions: The Senior Thrift Shop, which sells secondhand items to benefit the Carson City Senior Citizens Center, 911 Beverly Drive, required a special-use permit to operate within the Public regional-Public community zone.

And Friends in Service Helping, FISH, store at the corner of North Carson and East Long streets, is in a Retail commercial zone. It began operating in 1989 but "it is unknown today how this business location was approved at that time."

It's classified as a "legal nonconforming use." That means it can continue operating but cannot expand at that location, the report also stated.

If the commissioners opt not to approve the request, the decision can be appealed and argued in front of the Board of Supervisors.

If you go

WHAT: Carson City Planning Commission meeting

WHEN: 3:30 p.m. Wednesday

WHERE: Sierra Room, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

What is Goodwill?

Goodwill Industries International is one of the world's largest nonprofit providers of education, training, and career services for people with disadvantages, such as welfare dependency, homelessness, and lack of education or work experience, as well as those with physical, mental and emotional disabilities.

If the organization is able to follow through with its expansion plans, it could bring at least 60 retail training jobs and up to $500,000 in wages to the community.

- Sources: Rob Harden, marketing CEO for Northern Nevada Goodwill; Goodwill Industries International

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.

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