Supervisors uphold decision to deny vinyl fence at historic home

The Carson City Board of Supervisors upheld a decision by the Historic Resources Commission to not allow a vinyl fence installed at a 140 year-old home.

The decision was being appealed by Michele Chase, who owns the Minnesota Street property long held by the Teagarden family.

Chase, a physician living in Alaska, had removed a large hedge around the property and installed the vinyl fence both because it was easier to maintain and it matched fences at neighboring properties, said her attorney, Andrew List.

But Chase failed to get permission from the HRC and a complaint was lodged with the city planning division, who sent her a letter of violation.

List argued that guidelines are vague and don’t prohibit vinyl.

City staff argued the historic district design standards repeatedly call for the use of “compatible materials,” or materials widely used when the structure was built.

The neighboring vinyl fences were determined to be at least 10 years old and no record of permits for them were found.

That created a problem for the board, which didn’t want to single out Chase but also didn’t want to set a precedent by allowing the fence made of modern materials.

In the end, the board decided to deny the appeal.

“We need to be more clear on the materials we will and will not allow,” said Supervisor Jim Shirk. “I feel sorry for the homeowner, but it’s not the failure of anyone to do their job, it’s her failure to not go before the HRC.”

The board also adopted ordinances raising the connection fees for sewer and water for new development.

The fees, which were cut drastically in 2009 in hopes of spurring development, will go up over the next five years.

The sewer connection fee for a single-family home, for example, will increase from $577 to $1,360 in 2016, eventually rising to $4,493 in 2020.

In the same timeframe, water connection fees will go from $454 to $1,244 and to $6,219 in 2020.

The board heard the first reading of a new ordinance to expand the notification area for new developments.

Right now, residents within a 300-foot radius, or about 256 property owners, of any proposed development are notified.

The recommended ordinance would change so that a wider swath, up to a 900 feet radius for the largest proposed projects, would be noticed.

The board had the first of two public hearings for protests concerning assessments for the Downtown Neighborhood Improvement District, which was created earlier this year to assess downtown businesses for a portion of the cost of ongoing maintenance of the Downtown Streetscape Enhancement Project.

No one came forward to protest. A second hearing is being held in a special supervisors meeting June 22.

No businesses applied for a hardship deferment of the fee either.

The board approved the subdivision map for the 10-acre Little Lane development of 147 single-family attached homes.

The application was heard at two consecutive Planning Commission meetings, when the developer agreed to delay the decision to a second meeting in order to meet with neighbors and address some of their concerns about the project first.

In other actions, the board approved a contract with RADCO Communications, LLC not to exceed $218,768 to build a Corporate Yard Communication Tower; a five-year cooperative fire protection agreement and an annual operating plan between Carson City Fire Department and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service-Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, and Bureau of Land Management- Carson City District; and adopted a resolution to augment and amend the city’s fiscal year 2015-16 budget in the amount of $2,817,597.


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