Permit granted for Lakeview care home | NevadaAppeal.com
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Permit granted for Lakeview care home

Jill Lufrano

A senior citizen group home in upscale Lakeview received approval Wednesday night despite opposition from about 100 neighbors.

The Carson City Planning Commission voted to allow a home to operate at 4150 Numaga Pass citing state law.

It was a lesson for many residents in the 300-home community with properties of 2 acres or more, who were certain the community’s covenants and restrictions protected them from having a senior citizen group care home from moving in next door.

Put in place in 1979, the CC&Rs restrict businesses, commercial activity or nuisance behavior in the neighborhood located in northwest Carson City.

Planning commissioners said they were obligated to approve a special permit to allow operation of a senior care home. State law prohibits cities from refusing special-use permits for group homes of 10 or fewer residents if they meet local health and safety standards.

Representatives of the homeowners association and applicant Karen Kelly said they will take the matter to civil court if necessary.

“It’s an issue for homeowners associations across Nevada,” said Linda Costa, spokeswoman for the Lakeview Homeowners Association. “It’s deemed governmental interference in a binding contract.”

Kelly, who owns three similar homes in San Diego, Calif., for seniors who are in their first stages of being unable to live alone and need basic care, applied to run a home for eight to 10 residents. The home would have one full-time care giver and an assistant.

Five commissioners voted to approve the application. Commissioner Alan Christiansen said he felt the home would be an intrusion into the neighborhood and voted against it.

The commission was only allowed to make a decision based on city or state codes and public health and safety issues. State code does not consider group homes for drug rehabilitation or homes for seniors, for instance, a commercial business.

“The key point is . . . is this application meeting the public health and safety standards and special use standards,” said Community Development Director Walt Sullivan. “Carson City can only enforce city and state code. It cannot enforce private CC&Rs.”

Kelly’s representative Mark Hewitt, a contractor and developer in Washington, said it was likely neighbors would not even notice a care home was operating next door.

Kelly and Hewitt were shocked when they arrived Friday and found the organized opposition mounting against the proposal.

“We were really blindsighted about this and I wish we were here a month ago,” Hewitt said.

Neighbors had concerns about a decrease in property value, safety of the care home residents during winter snow storms, the lack of adequate snow removal, smoking at the house, water and septic problems.

After listening to nearly four hours of public debate, Commissioner John Perry said he felt there was a need for the home in the community.

“I think seniors have a right to an upscale existence in their twilight years,” Perry said.

Minutes following the commission’s decision to approve the permit, the homeowners association submitted a written letter of intent to appeal the decision to the city’s Board of Supervisors.

Contact Jill Lufrano at jlufrano@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-1217.