Ordinance for converting apartments to condos moves forward
Appeal Staff Writer
An ordinance providing apartment owners with requirements that must be fulfilled before putting the units up for sale as condominiums has garnered the recommendation of the Carson City Planning Commission.
Among considerations is how to best ease the transition from rental to owner-occupied dwellings for the people who would be displaced: low- and moderate-income renters who wouldn’t be able afford purchase of the units they occupy.
“Some people will love it; some will dread it,” said Commissioner Bill Vance after the meeting.
For the ordinance to be fair “we have to weigh property owners’ and tenants’ rights,” he said.
Senior citizens and families with children are renters who traditionally have a rough time finding rentals, even when the market is going their way. The ordinance tries to “reduce and ease the impact of displacement.”
To keep balance in the overall housing market, apartment occupancy rates will be monitored to ensure there is an adequate number of rental units available, according to the city’s planning division.
The proposal also addresses some physical standards. For example, apartments buildings without individual utility meters will be required to add them before the units can be sold.
Vance agreed with the city’s determination that large numbers of apartment owners wouldn’t rush to convert rental units to salable properties. The retrofitting requirements “might not be worth it for many owners,” he said.
City planners say it’s unknown how many owners plan to convert their properties. Newer, high-end apartments are the most viable properties for conversion. And these types of apartment units aren’t plentiful in Carson City.
The proposal now goes to the Board of Supervisors, who could approach it as early as next month. Adopting it would take more than one board session because it is a city code addition.
Reno’s conversion ordinance, approved in 1980, provides the basis for Carson’s proposal.
The one being created for the capital city, however, also conforms with state law adopted in the early 1990s, said Sean Foley, an associate planner for the city.
— Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.