Carson City group working to keep Andersen Ranch undeveloped | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City group working to keep Andersen Ranch undeveloped

Residents opposed to the proposed Vintage at Kings Canyon development on the Andersen Ranch have organized in an effort to influence what happens to the property.

Save Open Space Carson City is working to preserve the more than 120-acre west side ranch as open space and prevent any development on it or, failing that, to impact the scope and size of what is built there.

“We’re moving forward on parallel tracks,” said Maxine Nietz, co-chair of the group, which is in the process of filing for 501c3 nonprofit tax status.

The group wrote a letter to the property’s owners, asking them to consider holding onto the land while SOSCC attempts to raise the money needed to purchase it, but has not received a response, according to Nietz.

“I’ll be frank; we don’t have the $9,000,000 in hand that the developer indicated as the sale price at the neighborhood meeting in April. However, we have actively been exploring grant opportunities and have identified several promising leads. Unfortunately, we cannot explore them to completion at this time because they all depend on the concept of a willing seller,” read the June 14 letter to Meagan Kally and Kim Andersen Colard signed by Nietz.

The letter also says the group would be willing to pay the property taxes on the ranch while it works to raise funds to buy the land.

The property’s price tag is not widely known, but $9 million is a low estimate. The exact amount would become public in September if the sale to Vintage at Kings Canyon LLC goes through, according to Vince Scott, the developer. Estimates told to the Nevada Appeal put the price tag of the property at near $20 million.

Scott said the $9 million figure comes from previous discussions held between the owners and the city seven year ago.

In 2002, the city put the property on a list for a potential conservation easement rather than a fee title purchase and in 2009 the owners presented a conceptual plan to the Open Space Advisory Committee for an easement, according to Ann Bollinger, Open Space administrator.

Jason Kuchincki, another SOSCC member, said the group has contacted Nevada Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy and Trust for Public Land, all nonprofits who work to conserve land, and he said all have expressed some interest.

At the same time, SOSCC has met with city staff twice about the development and written a letter commenting on the developer’s second conceptual review.

The developer has altered the plan some, including moving the assisted and independent living facilities farther into the property and reducing all single-family residences to single-story homes.

Now, Nietz said SOSCC is advocating for four major changes: no zero lot lines, or home lots with only common area being counted as open space; no neighborhood business zoning; a larger buffer between the development and its neighbors to the north and south; and severance of the home ranch acreage off Kings Canyon Road from the planned unit development.

The developer has said the commercial zoning is required to operate the assisted living facility.

But congregate care can operate outside commercial zoning, according to Hope Sullivan, Carson City planning manager, so the neighborhood business zoning request is in order to include businesses who serve the residents and guests, such as a hair salon and restaurants.

SOSCC, and other residents, are concerned if the property gets zoned for neighborhood business it opens the door to all kinds of commercial enterprises, including casinos and gas stations.

“What if the ladies there would like a Dotty’s where they’d feel comfortable,” said Nietz, referring to the popular casino chain.

The city’s planning department met with the developer on June 21 to go over the second conceptual review and is expected to issue a letter with its recommendations during the first week of July.

Next, the developer plans to submit the tentative map to the Planning Commission to be heard at the commission’s Aug. 31 meeting.

In the meantime, SOSCC, which Kuchnicki said has a distribution list of between 125 and 150 people and a 10-person steering committee who meets every other week, would meet to decide how to handle the August planning commission meeting.

The group is also hosting tables at local events, like the recent Epic Rides bike race and the summer concert series at the Brewery Arts Center, to gather signatures on a petition supporting preserving Andersen Ranch as open space.

SOSCC can also be found online at Facebook and at soscarsoncity.org and on Twitter at @SOSCarsonCity.

The group also is advocating for significant green space at the Lompa Ranch development, which has already been approved for the needed zoning changes for residential and commercial development.

The Lompa Ranch project, said Kuchnicki, caught a lot of people off guard.

“The undeveloped lands of Carson City are unique and contribute immensely to the community’s character,” he said. “Everything was open space a while ago. We’re striving to preserve what little remains.”