Supervisors OK apartment complex over protests

Heaton Way resident Catherine Borde explains her planning commission appeal to the Board of Supervisors on April 20, 2023.

Heaton Way resident Catherine Borde explains her planning commission appeal to the Board of Supervisors on April 20, 2023.
Photo by Scott Neuffer.

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A recent planning commission decision was unanimously upheld by the Carson City Board of Supervisors on Thursday, settling the question if an apartment complex is an appropriate project for the corner of Stafford Way and Silver Sage Drive.

“Ask yourself: if this project was literally across the street from my house, would I approve it? If the answer is no, why would it be approved for us,” said Heaton Way resident Catherine Borde.

Borde is the neighbor who appealed the planning commission’s February decision to approve a special use permit for a 12-unit apartment complex. Developed by Carson Luxury Housing LLC, the subject property is less than one acre. It resides within a planned unit development and is zoned neighborhood business. Multifamily housing is allowed in the zoning district with a special use permit. The complex would include a trio of four-unit buildings, each with two stories.

According to the minutes of the Feb. 22 planning commission meeting, the SUP was approved on a 6-1 vote, with Planning Commissioner Nathaniel Killgore voting no. Neighbors to the project expressed concerns that multifamily housing would lower surrounding property values. Parking, noise and traffic were also concerns.

Borde said she represented 37 people who couldn’t attend the meeting Thursday. She said all were “vehemently opposed” to the project.

Carson City Deputy District Attorney Todd Reese said the applicant had standing to appeal, but the project wasn’t violating code.

Supervisors agreed.

“As Mr. Reese found no violation, neither did I,” said Supervisor Maurice White.

White and other supervisors answered Borde’s personal question, describing how new development has changed their neighborhoods while still following zoning law.

“Where a lot of people are, none of that was here when I was a kid,” said Supervisor Lisa Schuette.

Schuette also talked about having lived in an apartment herself. She argued different types of housing can be beneficial.

“I just want to be very mindful that community is really … it’s for everyone,” she said.

Carl Bolton testified as president of the homeowners association that represents 36 units on Heaton Way and Chubasco Way.

“We’re not objecting to the development. We’re objecting to the height,” he said. “If you look at Heaton, single story residential. If you look at Silver Sage, single story commercial. If you look at Stafford Way, single story commercial and residential. We’re completely surrounded by single story, and you’re going to drop — proposing to drop — a multistory development.”

In her staff report for the hearing, Carson City Associate Planner Heather Manzo addressed the height but also pointed out single-family homes to the east, north and south of the project area are zoned neighborhood business or multifamily apartment.

“There are no limitations to require development to be limited to one story,” Manzo wrote. “The (neighborhood business) zoning district allows for structures up to 26 feet tall, or taller with the approval of a SUP. The proposed development includes two-story structures 22.3 feet in height.”

Manzo said the current zoning allows commercial uses that could have “a much greater impact on surrounding properties and infrastructure than the proposal.”

Mayor Lori Bagwell emphasized the apartment complex is allowed on the property. She also addressed special use permits themselves, noting planning commissioners added conditions of approval such as a restriction on construction hours and fencing.

“That’s what a special use permit is,” she said. “It’s to allow the opportunity to put conditions on a project that do not exist in the code.”

In other action:

• Supervisors unanimously approved the tentative budget for fiscal year 2024.

Projected revenues for the general fund are $102.1 million, a 3.4 percent increase. Total general fund expenditures are projected to increase by $3 million, or 3.5 percent, to roughly $88 million in the next fiscal year. Salaries and benefits make up 76 percent of general fund expenses, according to budget documents. A projected $9.9 million ending fund balance would represent 11.2 percent of total expenditures.

Supervisors also approved about $1.9 million in supplemental requests from various city departments as recommended by the city’s internal finance committee. Initial department requests totaled $3.2 million. The amount approved Thursday will be included in the city’s final budget in May and represents about 12 additional positions, eight of those funded from the general fund.

• Supervisors unanimously approved the city’s proposed capital improvement program for fiscal years 2024 to 2028.

About $9.3 million is projected to be available in the next fiscal year for capital improvements in governmental departments.

A breakdown for departments as well as for the city’s special revenue funds and utility operations can be viewed online:


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