Concerns aired over Carson City development
The developer of a proposed planned unit development on the west side of Carson City held what was promised to be the first of several meetings to gather public input on the plan.
About 300 people attended the crowded gathering, which at times was loud and chaotic, Thursday evening in the Fritsch Elementary School.
The two-hour meeting was hosted by Vince Scott, general partner, The Vintage at Kings Canyon LP, the PUD under development on Andersen Ranch, located between Mountain Street and Ormsby Boulevard.
The first phase of the proposed PUD, as currently designed, would be built on about 20 acres of the parcel fronting Mountain Street and would include 128 assisted living units and 32 independent living units for residents over 55 years old as well as small commercial businesses such as restaurants and barbers designed to serve only that community.
So far, only preliminary plans for the project have been submitted to the city for an informal conceptual review.
In such a review, city departments look over the map and provide feedback so the developer can address issues the city might have before formally submitting plans for approval.
“We’re here to present the Vintage at Kings Canyon. The goal is to get input tonight and incorporate that into the plan before we submit it to the city,” said Michael Railey, partner, Rubicon Design Group, the project’s planner, at the start of the meeting.
Scott, Railey and Michael Bennett, Carson City location principal with Lumos & Associates, the project’s site designer, started to deliver the presentation, but they were almost immediately met with a rush of questions and comments from the audience.
Most of the concerns centered around a few issues: environmental factors, especially water and flood; the PUDs density; and whether the project as proposed fit into the surrounding area.
“The city has given us a will serve and said they can deliver water to the project,” said Bennett.
The property is in a floodplain and Bennett said that would be mitigated with no impact to neighbors before the property could be developed.
Most people were opposed to density outlined in the project, which eventually also could include 175 single family homes and up to six homes per acre in some parts of the development.
As part of the conceptual plan review submitted to the city, the project’s planners estimated the development would generate roughly 2,430 daily vehicle trips, which when discussed brought boos from the audience.
One audience member asked what effect would the development have on surrounding property values.
“Inventory in Carson City is extremely low. There is unmet demand for 3,500 homes in northern Nevada,” said Scott. “The short answer is property values will go up.”
The audience also reacted when Scott said one of the project’s lenders is backed by HUD, or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“They do high-end projects all over, in Carmel, Hawaii,” said Scott. “This is not low income. That will not happen here. It will be quality and slightly smaller lots are designed to leave more open space.”
Scott also said the commercial tenants on the property would be solely for development residents and not compete with businesses in nearby downtown Carson City.
A man asked if the zoning change required to include commercial properties would open the door to gas stations and casinos.
Railey said its designation as a PUD would prevent that.
“The PUD supersedes and boxes in the zoning,” he said. “It’s encumbered by the PUD and defines what can be built there.”
A few people rose to say they understood the land would be developed, but they wanted to see a development that better fit into the west side.
Katherine Yonkers, who wrote a letter to the editor published in the Nevada Appeal, said the developers could take a lesson from the Silver Oak PUD.
“We’ve all enjoyed that land, but we all knew it was coming and you can’t stop it,” she said. “The main crux of the issue, other than environmental issues like water and flooding, is the density.”
Yonkers suggested moving the smallest lots into the center of the development and the larger lots to where the development borders existing properties, which have homes built on larger lots sizes.
“I’m not committed to the density,” said Scott. “It does work out with less density.”
One woman said she wanted to see a substantially different development.
“We’re not saying don’t build, who here is saying that?” to which some in the audience said they were opposed to any development.
“We’re saying build smart, don’t build retail and don’t build three assisted living facilities within three blocks of one another,” she said
Railey said they would continue to listen to feedback.
“This is the first meeting and we’ll have more,” he said.
Right before the meeting broke up, one standing audience member summarized the comments.
“This is a big deal. This land has been vacant for 100 plus years,” he said. “I think what you’re hearing is people want to preserve this community and this project doesn’t fit with that. This is one of the last open space parcels on the west side. People need a go-slow approach.”
Kirsten Moates, a spokeswoman for the developer, said after the meeting the group will hold more meetings, but in a large and in smaller groups, to continue to get feedback.
“Next we will go back to the drawing board, take all those comments and concerns that were expressed and best incorporate them into our plan. We will start by addressing the issues of density, flood zone, quality and style and traffic control as we feel these were the main concerns that came from the community,” she said. “In addition, we are organizing a list of all of the issues we heard and will be addressing them with our planners, engineers and designers.”