Residents soothed about redevelopment |

Residents soothed about redevelopment

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

Proposed additions to South Carson City’s redevelopment area are expected to bring more of a local flavor to the area’s overall business climate.

“I want to see small local businesses involved,” said Steve Halen, who owns Performance Auto Care. If the redevelopment plan succeeds in achieving what Supervisor Robin Williamson said she envisions and gives “the small guys a better chance,” he supports it, he said.

Williamson, who also is chairwoman of the city’s Redevelopment Authority, talked about the plan during a public workshop Thursday afternoon.

About 10 residents and business owners who attended the meeting said they were curious about the proposal, which would expand the current redevelopment area to the south by adding up to 162 parcels and roughly 432 acres to the current 84 parcels and 144 acres already established in that area.

South Carson has a vacant big-box store, empty in-line shops, deteriorating housing and a significant lack of public improvements to attract new commercial and residential development, said Joe McCarthy, the city’s development and redevelopment authority manager.

Redevelopment would allow any amount of money collected in excess of the assessed value of the area this year to be used in the future for a variety of improvements within that section of the city – such as streets, lighting and landscaping improvements to make the area more business-friendly.

Up to $1 million could be collected within the first 10 years of the district’s 30-year life, McCarthy said.

“Our little city has let so much go down the road,” said resident Bonnie Garnett, in referring to the growing number of businesses starting up in north Douglas County. “I’m glad someone is trying to develop something that is beneficial.”

Garnett said she would like to see Max Baer Jr. open up his “Beverly Hillbillies”-casino in the old Wal-Mart building because it would provide jobs, promote area tourism, and bring financial success to Carson City similar to that enjoyed by Branson, Mo., a small town where many stars have built there own performance venues.

Trying to entice a variety of businesses will be the key to success. Smaller, local businesses are a big part of that endeavor, McCarthy said. The idea is to improve the business climate by reinvestment, which would increase the amount of taxes collected and, in turn, benefit all residents.

“I appreciate the forum,” said Tony Pilant, who lives in Voltaire Canyon. “I like what was said.”

Though Pilant said he was happy about the prospect of enticing higher-end residential and business properties by sprucing up the area, he said he’d prefer to see the densities of new developments not increase greatly.

A neighbor of Pilant’s, Mark Beutner, said the letter he received from the city about the redevelopment plan made him want to know more because the idea worried him.

Beutner said he hates to see their neighborhood change, but realizes “it’s our turn.”

Knowing eminent domain likely won’t affect homeowners because of redevelopment made him feel better about the plan, he said.

Use of eminent domain would be limited primarily to commercial properties that have deteriorated or been abandoned to the point of “creating hazards to public health and safety or needing to be torn down,” McCarthy said.

Jim Spencer, a resident of a mobile home park within the proposed redevelopment area, still doesn’t know what to do.

He owns his home, but rents the land it sits on in the Clear Creek Mobile Home Park. Rumors abound about whether the park, which sits very close to where the Carson City Freeway will be built, will be sold, he said.

“Six months can feel like five years in the land of ‘I don’t know,'” Spencer said.

The plan is expected to be brought back before the Carson City Board of Supervisors for final approval in May or June.

If you go

What: Second redevelopment plan public workshop

When: 3-5 p.m., Thursday

Where: Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce, 1900 S. Carson St.

Information: 887-2101, ext. 1208

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