Carson City Planning Commission sends Vintage at Kings Canyon project to Carson City Board of Supervisors
The Vintage at Kings Canyon proposed development is on its way to the Carson City Board of Supervisors after the Planning Commission voted to recommend approval Thursday night.
In a meeting attended by about 250 people and lasting nearly six hours, the commission heard from city staff, six members of the development team, and 33 residents who spoke out almost entirely against the project during public comment.
In the end, commissioners had to decide whether the proposed over age 55 residential community, which includes a commercial element, met development goals laid out in the Carson City master plan.
The commission voted on two motions; on both the vote was 4-2, with Chair Paul Esswein and Commissioner Walt Owens casting the dissenting votes.
A seventh commissioner, Monica Green, recused herself and didn’t vote because she said she and her husband own a home within 300 feet of the project property.
Esswein cited the commercial spot zoning, which he said would create friction zones discouraged by the master plan.
“It undermines existing rights of adjacent property owners,” said Esswein. “Integration is a principle of mixed use.”
Most of the nearby residents who spoke during public comment agreed.
“By allowing it to move from single-family residential to mixed-use residential, there is definite detrimental impact and it is not compatible,” said Paul LaFleur. “It would be an intrusion by a closed community not compatible with and resented by existing homes.”
According to Carson City Municipal code, the commission must identify certain key findings are met before approving special use permits and zoning changes.
The concept of a detrimental impact is cited in several findings, including a negative effect on traffic, surrounding properties, and public health, safety, convenience and welfare.
The commission votes were on a master plan amendment to change 5.6 acres of the 78-acre project property from medium density residential to mixed use residential.
The change was required for the developer to build the 96-unit assisted and independent living facilities because under city code congregate care is a commercial use.
The second vote was on the tentative planned unit development (TPUD), which included a tentative map of the project, a zoning map amendment for a change to neighborhood business zoning on the 5.6 acres and a special use permit for congregate care in a neighborhood business zone.
That map includes 212 homes lots ranging in size from 1,690 square feet to 17,000 square feet on what is currently zoned single family 6,000, 12,000 and one acre.
During public comment, many people said they understood the land could be developed, but they wanted it to remain zoned for larger lots in keeping with the surrounding neighborhood.
“I understand the Andersens have a right to sell the property, but I don’t feel their rights should trump the property rights of other homeowners,” said Courtney Gallagher. “We bought knowing the ranch could be developed, but it was zoned one acre so we bought there instead of somewhere else.”
The ranch property between Mountain Street and Ormsby Boulevard and west of Ormsby, where the Vintage is planned, has long been owned and, until recently, operated by the Andersen family.
Other issues brought up during public comment were about the age restrictions on the community, the strain on services, especially given a lack of primary care physicians in the area, and on traffic, particularly on Bolero Drive, one of four points of entrance and exit for the development.
A traffic study done for the developer by Traffic Works LLC found the traffic impacts weren’t significant enough to warrant any mitigation.
Patrick Pittenger, Carson City transportation manager, said the traffic study was adequate and did take into account future growth in the area, which includes several schools and a new memory care facility being built a block south on Mountain Street.
City planning staff had recommended approval of the amendment and TPUD with a long list of conditions and several more were added by the commissioners who grappled with mitigating some of the impact of the project.
The homeowners association is now required to maintain the development’s 1.2-acre park and 1.8-acre trail system with an agreement in place to default to a landscape maintenance district if the HOA should fail.
The Parks and Recreation Commission had recommended the assessment district, but that would give taxpayers 30 percent of the bill so staff decided on an HOA instead to maintain the open space.
Construction hours also will be limited, including no construction on Sunday.
And the TPUD handbook, which outlines and restricts what can be done in the development, will require a two-person per home limit, homeowners be aged 55 or older, and all structures single story.
Commissioners Elyse Monroy and Charles Borders, in particular, were concerned if the development failed or was sold, that any changes to it would have to come back to the city for approval.
“I want to make sure the neighborhood is protected,” said Monroy. “I want to make sure whatever happens tonight that there are not major deviations.”
Afterward, Mike Draper, who gave the main presentation on Vintage for the developer, said the new conditions were fine.
“The conditions all make a lot of sense,” said Draper.
He also said they would work with city staff on finding a solution for the traffic impact on Bolero Drive, such as using it as an exit only.
Many attending the meeting were disappointed in the outcome.
“I’m a senior citizen and a widow and I have one asset,” said Maxine Nietz, a nearby resident who has been instrumental in organizing opposition to Vintage. “My property value just hit the basement.”
Next, the amendment and TPUD go to the Board of Supervisors for its approval.
The date of that meeting hasn’t been determined yet.