Guidelines for Historic District in Carson City to be reviewed

The Historic Resources Commission Thursday began a review of its guidelines for homes and other buildings in Carson City’s historic district.

The discussion was triggered by a recent commission decision to not allow a vinyl fence installed at a circa 1870s home on Minnesota Street.

The decision was based on guidelines that encourage the use of building materials from the time period when the home was built, especially if they were visible from the street.

That decision was appealed by the homeowner, Michele Chase, to the Board of Supervisors, which heard the appeal at it board’s June 16 meeting.

Chase’s attorney, Andrew List, argued that several surrounding historic homes had vinyl fences as well, but there was no record of when they had been put up or whether those homeowners had sought approval.

While the board denied the appeal and upheld the decision, the supervisors suggested the commission revisit its design guidelines to make clearer what’s encouraged and discouraged in the historic district.

“I told the board it’s nice to have some leeway,” said Vice Chair Michael Drews.

But, the board’s comment was “to get a little more specific. So we’re not saying no, but saying no with only great exception,” he said.

The commission decided it will hold a special meeting to begin reviewing and revising its guidelines, which were last updated in 2005.

“It won’t take us one meeting, or two meetings. It might take us a whole year,” said Commissioner Karyn de Dufour.

The commission said it would be helped in the process by two upcoming events.

A couple members are planning to attend Forum 2016, a national conference for historic preservation commissions, later this month.

And the commission began discussing topics for a multi-day training event called Commission Assistance Mentoring Program, or CAMP, which it plans to hold next spring with commissions from Reno and Storey County.

In other actions, the commission allowed the property owner of a house located at 314 W. Robinson St. to replace the home’s windows, encouraging her to use wood if possible but allowing fiberglass; approved a request for Historical Tax Deferment status for the new owner of 506 W. Spear St.; and continued an item requesting approval to install a three-foot brick wall at 602 W. Spear St., a request made by Commissioner Jed Block. The commissioners said they wanted to see a design of the entire fence before approving a portion of it.


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