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Redevelopment changes its plan

Amanda Hammon, Appeal Staff Writer

Carson City’s downtown property owners soon may have no choice whether to participate in downtown redevelopment.

Carson City’s Redevelopment Citizen’s Advisory Committee on Wednesday will look at updating its 1986 Redevelopment Plan by deleting a section that allows voluntary participation by property owners in redevelopment projects, said Redevelopment Chairwoman Robin Williamson.

Williamson said the move ultimately could allow the city an easier route to eminent domain for downtown properties.

“If it is determined through all procedures through city law and state law that a property has had a negative impact on the redevelopment district, we need the ability to take stronger action, to encourage them to rehabilitate their property or achieve market value and allow someone else to,” she said.

“We’ve been told if we wanted to take aggressive action, our owners’ rules of participation … there might be some questions about them.”

The proposal reads that property owners “shall be given a reasonable opportunity to participate in redevelopment.”

Property owners who choose not to participate will be given at least 45 days to choose to participate, or the Redevelopment Authority can entertain redevelopment proposals from non-owners for the property. It would also allow the authority to “acquire” property in the redevelopment district under certain conditions.

The proposal may sound like it is targeting the long-defunct Lucky Spur on Carson Street, but Williamson said that isn’t so.

“There is no one particular property,” she said. “There are several property owners in the district that basically have relied on their neighbors to increase their property values while their contributions have been minimal.”

Gamblers left the Lucky Spur Casino at West Procter and Carson Street years ago. Built in the 1860s, the empty building is one of the last true blights in the downtown area. Direction for its future is uncertain, but redevelopment committee members have often commented a solution to the Lucky Spur issue is one of their top goals.

Williamson said the voluntary participation rule is a “deficiency” that needs to be cleaned up from a “document that has been sitting on a shelf” for 15 years. Other communities involved in redevelopment have learned through the years the need to have “the option to have more aggressive rules,” she said.

“It needs to be done,” Williamson said. “We are certainly sensitive to property rights. Now we’ve had more of an experience of what is successful in other areas for a thriving area downtown, and they all say we need more flexibility. By making any action subject to the property owner’s participation just handicaps us.”

Future changes to the plan could allow the addition of more property into the district, which is bounded basically by Fleischmann Street and Corbett Lane on the north, Mountain Street on the west, Tenth Street and Little Lane on the south and Roop Street to the east. Costco’s 18-acre site off Old Clear Creek Road was added as the district’s first satellite site last year.