Part of freeway sound wall might be modified for shopping center | NevadaAppeal.com

Part of freeway sound wall might be modified for shopping center

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

Nearly 1,000 feet of sound wall separating the Carson City Freeway from homes and businesses near College Parkway may be modified.

The Nevada Department of Transportation and North Carson Crossing LLC are discussing removing and repositioning – or simply shortening – the sound wall so the shopping center to the west is more visible to vehicles moving along the freeway.

A 980-feet section along the southern on ramp at College Parkway is being eyed for some sort of change, said Kent Witt, one of the developers of the shopping center at East College Parkway and Retail Drive.

“We’re only talking about a piece of the sound wall,” Witt said.

The idea is to provide better visibility of the shopping center from the freeway while providing the same amount of protection the wall already provides to its neighbors, he said.

Freeway drivers rolling north through the College Parkway area can’t see the shopping center at all. Those traveling south have a view of the center.

Melanie Nigro, who lives near the back of the planned Home Depot, is concerned whether a study would adequately address all of the homeowners’ needs, she said.

“It looks at noise impacts to single-story structures,” Nigro said. “Not two-story homes.”

Witt said a benefit that could come with repositioning the sound wall is “it would improve the area’s viewshed. It would let in a little more sunshine.”

Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Round Table Pizza and other establishments already operate at the center. And a roughly 134,000-square-feet Home Depot store was approved last week for inclusion in the center by city planning commissioners and is expected to be completed in March 2008.

One or two more workshops will be held to talk about the idea with nearby residents, Witt said.

“It’s not a foregone conclusion,” Witt emphasized. “We think it would be something good for Carson City and good for center.”

“We’re discussing issues that would allow them to move forward with their proposal,” said Jim Gallegos, NDOT project manager.

If any modifications are restricted to NDOT property – such as where the sound wall is now – the city wouldn’t have any jurisdiction in the matter.

If the solution requires work off that state-owned land at a location within the shopping center, however, city planners probably would have to approve it, said Lee Plemel, the city’s principal planner.

Signs along the freeway ahead of the College Parkway exits likely wouldn’t be a feasible alternative because these are reserved for food, lodging and gasoline.

The developer would be responsible for costs associated with this type of change, including sound studies, according to NDOT.

Witt said that the proposal might be worth it – even if the price tag appears high – because it’s a long-term marketing investment.

The center “would be there for 40 or 50 years,” he added.

No public meetings about this type of proposal are scheduled. Permits haven’t been filed with the state, though the discussions between NDOT and the developer are continuing.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.




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