Carson City Planning Commission denies permit for church

The Carson City Planning Commission denied a request for a special use permit to build a church on Clear Creek Avenue near Silver Sage Drive.

Jose Hernandez, pastor, first requested the permit at the Sept. 30, 2015, planning commission meeting, but the request was continued to give the applicant time to address concerns raised by nearby homeowners.

A letter outlining the concerns, which included noise, lighting and traffic and signed by 30 neighboring residents was sent to the commission prior to the September meeting.

Among those worries were plans for two driveways, one flowing onto Clear Creek, another onto Silver Sage.

The church was redesigned from a metal structure, which didn’t meet the city’s design standards, to stucco and stone. Both driveways were put on Clear Creek and parking was reduced. And landscaping was added, among other changes worked out with city staff.

Hernandez and his wife Elizabeth, who own the one-acre site, arranged to meet with neighbors at a meeting Feb. 11, but only two couples and a single man showed up, Robert Lauder, RL Engineering, the project’s designer, told the commission.

The apostolic church has a congregation of about 110 adults and 35 children and is currently located in space leased on Jeanell Drive, Hernandez said.

Four neighbors spoke during public comment at Wednesday’s meeting.

“Our sense of rural Carson City is going away,” Richard Geiser, who lives on Arthur Drive, told the commission.

He noted the other churches in the area as well as the nearby Schulz Ranch development, where 450 new homes are planned.

“I understand you can’t stop progress, but there’s a lot going on,” Geiser said. “We have a neighborhood that is being saturated.”

The commission struggled with whether to approve the SUP and in the end decided it didn’t meet certain required criteria, including not being detrimental to the use, enjoyment or economic value of surrounding property as well as not creating traffic problems or meeting the purpose of the area, which is residential.

“I know this is something applied for and the applicant put a lot of work into it, but with not one person from the community for it, I’m on the fence about it,” Commissioner Monica Green said during discussion.

The commission voted 6-1 to deny the SUP, with Commissioner Daniel Salerno voting for the permit.

“This is so much better than what was originally proposed,” Salerno said. “I think in the long run this is an area that is growing and we can’t stop that growth.”

The commission also unanimously approved a request from Silver Oak Development L.P. to add 31 single-story homes on lots varying in size from 5,200 square feet to 10,371 square feet to the Silver Oak planned unit development.

In the original plans for the 20 year-old PUD, the space was reserved for a school, but Carson City school district said the school wasn’t needed.

In other actions, the commission also unanimously approved an SUP renewal for a billboard at 2400 Highway 50 East and a new SUP for signage that exceeds the amount allowed for used car dealerships at the Carson Car Center at 3659 S. Carson Street.


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