Costco discussions continue, head to board today | NevadaAppeal.com

Costco discussions continue, head to board today

Amanda Hammon

City supervisors are set to decide about 6 p.m. today whether to add a site north of Fuji Park to the city’s redevelopment district in an attempt to lure Costco.

For the last month city officials have worked to include a 15-acre, vacant piece of land in the city’s redevelopment district. Adding the property to the redevelopment district would allow the city to negotiate with one company rather than going through a public bid process.

The district composes most of downtown, and the addition of the sagebrush-and-lizard inhabited lot has drawn criticism from some residents and Mayor Ray Masayko.

City Manager John Berkich said he met with Costco officials Tuesday and discussed how Carson’s building codes would affect Costco design standards.

Meetings will continue, he said, and Costco has not yet responded to the city’s letter asking the negotiations between the city and the company be exclusive. Costco is scheduled Jan. 18 for a project review with city community development, utility and development services staff. The meeting will give city staff an opportunity to see what plans the developer has for the site.

The site is used as overflow parking for events held at the Carson City Fairgrounds. Gaining Costco as a park neighbor has caused many, including the Park and Recreation Commission, to think about relocating the fairgrounds. Redevelopment proponents see the district’s first satellite addition as a source of revenue to help fund the money-strapped redevelopment district.

The land addition was approved by several city committees, including the Redevelopment Authority and the Regional Planning Commission. Thursday’s meeting will be the last chance for formal public comment on the land transfer issue.

Costco representatives have said if the measure flows through city channels, a 145,000-square-foot warehouse and gas station would be built on the land. Officials say the land’s position at the junction of highways 395 and 50 is the perfect spot for a Costco store.

Other items up for consideration by supervisors Thursday include:

— The open space amendment to the city’s master plan is finally heading to supervisors for approval around 1:30 p.m. The plan was expected to be finalized by Nevada Day. Technicalities halted the plan’s approval at the planning commission level three times, stalling its installment by the new year. Committee members say they are anxious to start considering parcels for open space purchase.

Open space planning has been in the works since the passage of the Quality of Life initiative in 1996. Question 18 authorized a quarter of 1 percent sales tax increase to fund open space, parks and trails. The tax raises about $1.7 million a year with 40 percent going towards open space, 40 percent towards parks and 20 percent for maintenance of new park projects. The committee will have about $700,000 a year to purchase open space land.

— The Carson City Ambulance Service is asking for a $140,000 loan from the city’s general fund after a Medicare audit cost the service about $147,000.

The city is appealing Medicare’s decision and is asking for a refund but had to pay the money up front or face paying more in interest rates. Medicare ordered an audit by a private company of Carson’s 1,600 Medicare ambulance runs from mid-1995 to mid-1996.

The company reviewed 80 cases which Medicare had already paid and determined Carson City shouldn’t have been reimbursed for services. The case should be appealed within the next six months, and the city is seeking outside legal counsel to help with the case.

Ambulance Battalion Chief Vincent Pirozzi said the case against Medicare could cost another $500,000 if the city doesn’t win its case. He added that Medicare personnel are coming to Carson City to work on a solution.