Zoning code changes discussed by Carson City supervisors

The Board of Supervisors on Thursday discussed changing Carson City’s zoning codes, which the Planning Commission and city staff is reviewing as part of an overhaul of the entire municipal code.

The board took no action, but gave staff direction on the amendments to Title 18, the zoning section, that the supervisors would support.

The commission and staff are recommending allowing all retail uses in area zoned neighborhood business and more uses in area zoned residential office.

“We discussed allowing more personal services in residential office,” said Lee Plemel, director, Community Development. “A beauty shop, for example, where you have appointments versus retail where you have a shop full of people at any time.”

Supervisors Lori Bagwell and Stacey Giomi said the focus should be on the building appearance in residential office rather than the use.

“I think we want more uses allowed but the outside to have the characteristics of a house,” said Bagwell. Currently, “we can have an architect in neighborhood business but not in residential office, which makes no sense.”

Another change proposed by the commission is to detail land use compatibility. Now, the commission must make certain findings of fact when then they consider zoning map amendments and special use permits. One of those findings is that the change or project will not have a detrimental impact on surrounding properties, but the code does not specify what the means. The commission proposed defining that to include potential for property damage or hazard from noise, smoke, odor, dust, vibration, lighting, fire or flood or traffic as well as placing an undue burden on schools, police and the fire department.

The board also approved a policy and master license agreement for placing small cell equipment on city right of way. The Federal Communications Commission regulates much of the process for installing equipment, but the city can determine certain requirements, including fees cellular service providers pay to apply for use of a right of way such as a light pole or traffic light.

The city decided on a $1,400 building permit fee to install and an annual attachment fee per installation up to $1,036 for the cost of electricity.

Several providers, including AT&T and Verizon, sent in public comment requesting the board table the item in order to keep negotiating lower fees, but the board said staff had already done its due diligence.

“We do believe the costs are reasonable,” said Dan Stucky, deputy director, Public Works.

The supervisors accepted a $3.6 million federal grant that will let the fire department hire nine firefighters for three years. The grant covers salaries for the firefighters for the three years, but not cost of living or merit increases or gear, which the city will fund.

Sean Slamon, fire chief, said the department expects to save at least $300,000 annually in overtime pay with the additional staff.

The board approved $901,659 in spending on personal protective equipment to be distributed to city businesses. The purchases are funded by $1 million in federal money for coronavirus mitigation costs the city received. An initial roughly $99,000 has already been spent and deliveries started to the 30 businesses that have so far requested it, said Darren Schulz, director, Public Works.

During the board’s regular coronavirus update, Jeanne Freeman with the emergency operations center said there were 145 new cases in the Quad County area from Sept. 13-26. Fifty-three were in Carson City, a 17 decrease from the previous two-week period.

Nicki Aaker, director, Carson City Health and Human Services, clarified that so far one person in the Quad County area who reported attending the Minden rally held by President Donald Trump has tested positive for the virus, but that person tested positive three days after attending so had contracted the virus prior to the rally.

The city is holding a drive-through event Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to noon, at Carson High School where attendees can both get a test for coronavirus and a flu shot.

Sheri Russell, chief financial officer, reported that the city consolidated tax collections rose over 12 percent in July while gas tax collections fell 12 percent.


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