City and Brewery Arts Center spar over street |

City and Brewery Arts Center spar over street

Dave Frank
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

The Brewery Arts Center needs to give the city its plans for a $3.5 million downtown expansion that includes a 400-seat amphitheater before it can take over part of a city street, the Carson City Planning Commission said Wednesday when it delayed a decision on the street abandonment.

Representatives from the center asked the commission for approval to take over South Minnesota Street between Second and King streets dividing the center’s performance hall and the brewery section so it can make improvements, including the amphitheater and an expanded arts facility.

The center hosts concerts and art classes and houses the city’s public access television studios.

But city staff and the members of the commission said it needs to be clear that the center can’t take over the street before the city reviews its expansion plans, leading the commission to delay possibly recommending final approval to the board of supervisors until its next meeting on Nov. 19.

Joan Wright, who has worked on the expansion for the arts center, said the center can give the city expansion plans, but it can’t do that until it first has at least preliminary approval to take over the street.

The arts center is a non-profit, she said, and has to be able to assure potential donors that the expansion can happen if it raises the money to start work on the project.

The center is an important arts, culture and parks area for the city, said project architect John Copoulos, but it already struggles to raise enough money to operate without facing delays from the city.

He called some of the city’s criticisms and suggestions for the center “totally ludicrous.”

But City Engineer Jeff Sharp said the city shouldn’t let the arts center take over the street without plans that give legitimate details of why the city should give up a functional section of road that’s been operating for about 150 years.

“This is not the policy we want to be setting,” he said.

The center submitted a petition supporting the expansion and several representatives from the arts center talked about the need for what the expansion could bring.

Wright said even a simple park without an amphitheater would be better than the what is there now, and some, like BAC board president Sally Zola, asked the commission to understand the individual needs of the center.

“We’re not a development company,” Zola said.

In other city news:

– The planning commission said it will hold public meetings to help develop an ordinance for wind turbines in Carson City. People now have to get approval for a special permit, which costs more than $2,000, if they want to build even what is considered a short power-generating wind turbine at 33-feet-tall. Tim Howard of Carson City, one of the wind turbine supporters at the meeting, said he’s wanted to install a wind turbine for two years, and he doesn’t see why he needs special approval when 60-foot-tall power poles are near his house.

– Contact reporter Dave Frank at or 881-1212.