Commitee stalls over open space on hill side |

Commitee stalls over open space on hill side

Amanda Hammon

The city’s open space advisory committee stalled a decision preserving open space on a prominent city hill.

The hill is between the Silver Oak and Lakeview subdivisions and part of the right of way for the V&T Railroad lies on the hillside. The proximity to the V&T trail caused committee members to hesitate on recommending any proposal that would allow development on a Carson hillside near the historic landmark.

Glen Martel, project engineer from local engineering firm Lumos and Associates, said of the 80 acre’s of property, about three acres can be developed. Property owner Paul Casey would like to see the small parcel of land developed and the rest of the land dedicated to open space, Martel said.

The V&T right of way lies between 60 and 80 feet from the proposed site development.

Martel, supported by city staff, proposed a plan unit development that allows a developer to take a piece of the parcel, develop it more densely than usual, and leave the rest of the property as open space.

Martel said the plan at the moment is to build between 12 to 15 townhouse-styled homes in the three developable acres. The houses would be no more than 20 feet from the ground, with the roofs not intruding on the view of V&T trail. The other 77 acres, which includes rocky terrain over much of the hill, would be dedicated to open space.

The 77 acres would be very hard to develop and has little access, Martel said.

Committee member Dan Jacquet said he would prefer to see a price for buying the entire property or other alternatives before allowing dense development.

“I think it is a great idea, but that portion of the V&T along the hill is a vital cultural property,” Jacquet said.

Committee Vice Chairman Deborah Uhart agreed saying a development that close to the V&T trail worried her.

“I like the idea of trading density in principle,” Uhart said. “I’d like to see us gain that vista and that trail without paying for it. But the V&T is an important trail to those who live here. You’d have a lot of people to convince.”

Two residents questioned the impact taking the property off the tax roles would have on the city. Resident Larry Taylor said he thought it would be better to develop small, attractive buildings on the site rather than “to have some five-acre monstrosities up there.”

The committee asked Martel to come back to the next meeting with a price for the land, input from neighboring Silver Oak and artists renderings of what the houses would look like in relation to the V&T trail.

“We wanted to get their input,” Martel said. “We’ll take a month off and look at possible options.”

Martel said he expected a decision regarding the property’s development within the next few months.