Panel suggests Carson City narrow downtown improvement plan
November 7, 2018
The Redevelopment Authority Citizens Committee (RACC) is recommending Carson City narrow its program to assist commercial property owners in rehabbing buildings' exteriors.
On Monday, RACC voted to send a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors to limit eligible properties to those portions of redevelopment areas updated by major street projects, including the downtown Carson and Curry street projects, and future road work, such as the redesign of South Carson Street, once it's underway.
"The whole project started to improve the downtown corridor, to help increase business by improving the facades," said Court Cardinal, RACC chair. "Anywhere where we have done city work to improve our corridor. In my mind, that can be an easy definition of the corridor."
RACC also voted to clarify that historic property tax deferments don't disqualify properties from the program, that painting alone or as a part of a bigger project is an eligible expense, and directed staff to craft language that defines the committee's discretion for approving or not approving applications that otherwise meet the requirements.
The changes, if approved by the supervisors, would be another amendment to the resolution that created the program.
The Facade Improvement Program was launched in 2016. It provides matching funds up to $25,000 to applicants with projects to renovate commercial building exteriors. The former Horseshoe Club at the corner of Carson and Telegraph streets, for example, underwent a $127,436 project to rehab two of its three building facades and received $44,425 in funds from the program.
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In September, an application to the program was denied when a split vote by RACC failed. The applicant, Cowee Investments LLC, appealed it to the supervisors, who approved the application last month.
The applicant applied for money to paint a residential office building on Minnesota Street, which led to a discussion both at RACC and the board about whether a project that's only painting qualifies.
The historic house also receives a property tax deferment, which led to deciding whether a deferment is an incentive not allowed under the program.
But, most of the discussion centered around the building's location and whether the program was intended for properties off downtown's main commercial and retail streets.
RACC's recommendation will likely go to the Board of Supervisors at its Dec. 6 meeting.
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