Open space committee decides on first parcel |

Open space committee decides on first parcel

Amanda Hammon

After three years of planning, Carson City is close to securing its first piece of open space.

Carson’s Open Space Advisory Committee recommended Monday accepting a 77-acre parcel for the bargain price of $1. The hill, which lies between Silver Oak and Lakeview subdivisions, may be donated instead, depending on which provides a better tax incentive to property owner Paul Casey.

Either way, open space committee members aren’t complaining about the price of their first purchase.

“I’m really pleased with it,” committee member Bruce Scott said. “It allows us to acquire a significant parcel that meets high priority criteria at a reasonable rate.”

Park Planner Vern Krahn said the acquisition was important in many ways.

“By acquiring this property, we have another part of the V&T path secured,” Krahn said. “People may use it all the time, but it’s not really public access. It’s private property, and they’re trespassing. If open space acquires this property, the public can cross it.”

Krahn said the hill was identified on the open space master plan as a priority area and is also a good deal for the committee because it has no impact on the committee’s limited funding.

The open space committee has mulled the potential property acquisition for about two months. The parcel is part of an 80-acre parcel on which about 500 feet of the right of way for the V&T Railroad lies.

Glen Martel, project engineer from local engineering firm Lumos and Associates, said of the 80 acres of property, most of which lies on a rock-strewn hillside, about three acres are developable. The property value is estimated around $400,000, Martel said.

Martel, Casey and the city have been working for more than a year to to develop the three acres west of Eagle Valley Ranch Road and yet save most of the hillside for open space.

Martel, supported by city staff, proposed a planned unit development which 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.

The hill is zoned to allow one house per 10 acres, and that density would be transferred to the three acres.

Martel said the plan is to build about 10 townhouse-styled homes in the three developable acres.

In exchange for clustering the development, during the planning commission process the developer designates the other 77 acres for open space use.

Martel said it would be a few months before he had detailed plans for the three acres ready to take to the planning commission.

“I think it’s a good thing and a good deal for Carson City,” Martel said. “It shows a good cooperation between developers and the open space committee.”

Scott said he too was pleased that the committee was able to work with a developer, something he hopes will be a continuing open space theme.

“We can’t buy everything, but when you have an owner or developer working with you, you can get a benefit for the city and the developer. That shows the practical side of what open space is all about,” Scott said. “In my opinion, the land wouldn’t have been worth $400,000, but it was worth working with developer to get 95 percent of the land for open space.”

The committee also reviewed another parcel for consideration that is key for the city’s trail plan. The parcel is on the west side of Mexican Ditch between Hells Bells Road and Carson Creek.

It would help link the Linear Park trail to the Mexican Ditch trail. Property owner William Moffat Jr. has granted easements to the city for its bike path through other parts of his property, but one of his parcels would be undevelopable with an easement on it.

The committee asked city staff to have the property appraised.