‘We just want to keep the quality of life in this area’
Beth Scott is worried that her way of life is slipping away.
Her home is on a one-acre parcel in southeast Carson City where she keeps two horses and rides almost every day. Scott has chronic fatigue syndrome and horseback riding is one way she can exercise without getting too worn out.
“We’re waging battles out here to keep our horses,” she said while standing beside the horse arena in the back of her home.
It may sound dramatic, but these feelings get stirred up when rural ideals clash with urban development. The state demographer’s office puts Carson City’s population at 55,220 in July 2003. State Demographer Jeff Hardcastle said 6 percent of the city’s population is classified as living in a rural/non-farming area.
Sox is a 19-year-old sorrel quarterhorse. He was saddled and tied to the arena gate and eagerly pacing in the soft brown dirt. Beemer is an 8-year-old Morgan/Arabian cross show horse. Scott joked that the horse is the only Beemer she’ll ever have.
“We just want to keep the quality of life in this area,” Scott said. “And that’s tied to large acreage lots where we can have horses and large vegetable gardens. I enjoy rural living.”
Scott is president of the Carson City Equestrian Alliance, a group concerned with preserving equestrian values. She said it has an 80-member mailing list.
Scott has two concerns: high-density development and horse access over the Carson City Freeway.
She said since the city installed sewer and water services in this area, officials have wanted to rezone. Scott, and many of her neighbors, plan to get involved in the master plan process so that doesn’t happen.
“I’ve talked to planners and that is a natural progression,” she said. “That’s just how zoning evolves. Once the city puts services into an area they rezone it to a higher density to justify the costs of the services.”
Mayor Ray Masayko said if one-acre parcel owners like Scott want their neighborhood to stay that way, it probably will. He doesn’t see Carson City pushing that issue.
“There is a pressure to create smaller parcels to increase density because people do want to live here,” Masayko said. “But I don’t think you succumb to that pressure and change someone’s lifestyle who doesn’t want it changed.”
He said the battle between rural and urban interests started when the city consolidated in 1969. People want both – the convenience of city shopping and the view out the window of roaming cows.
Cut in two
Scott used her finger to draw a line in the sky, showing where the freeway will go along South Edmonds Drive. It’ll come between her property and Prison Hill, a recreational area for riders, bikers and joggers. She said the Nevada Department of Transportation’s solution on how to get horseback riders over the freeway doesn’t work.
NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder said the idea is still in the design phase, but people could walk or ride their horses over the freeway using either the Koontz Lane or Clearview Drive overpasses.
“If people are crossing with a horse they can dismount and walk the horse across, or ride the horse in the five-foot paved shoulder,” he said.
Magruder said the tentative plan is to put five-foot paved shoulders and five-foot sidewalks on each side of the streets that will span the freeway.
Scott said this plan doesn’t work because the horses will get spooked by the traffic on the bridge or the freeway traffic below. She wants a crossing strictly for horses.
“We see horses as an important part of Carson’s heritage,” Scott said. “They’re what makes Carson special.”
Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.