What is best use for empty parcel behind Mervyn’s? | NevadaAppeal.com

What is best use for empty parcel behind Mervyn’s?

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

A group of developers who plan to build condominiums behind Mervyn’s again will try to obtain approval for the project from the Carson City Board of Supervisors on Thursday.

The matter, originally scheduled for Jan. 5, was postponed because Mayor Marv Teixeira wasn’t there to cast a vote. Approval by the supervisors didn’t appear assured, however, because each voiced concerns about the proposal.

The site at 250 Eagle Station Lane is zoned as general commercial. The developers must acquire a zoning variance to change it to residential. Planning commissioners and city staff recommended the project be approved, though staff characterized the 36-unit, two-story concept as “challenging” but potentially “rewarding.”

“This is compatible with what the city seeks downtown,” said Robert Loveberg, a Minden-based planning consultant representing the developers. “We believe this is a very good fit.”

Susan Warren, a real estate specialist of Century 21 in Minden, is one of the developers of the vacant 3.66-acre site. The tenor of the supervisors during the last meeting was “shocking,” she said.

“It should provide a shot in the arm to Carson City,” she said Monday. Among potential buyers, “interest in the project has been strong.”

Warren has been involved in similar projects, such as the Minden Townhomes, behind the AM-PM Minimart on Highway 50 in Minden. These properties tend to attract older buyers: Singles and couples without school-age children who want smaller places to live without big yards to maintain but who don’t want to live in mobile homes, she said.

“They can walk to the store, to get coffee or something to eat,” she said.

Southwest Gas Corp., which sits on a neighboring parcel, has no objections to the proposal “so long as the general commercial character and zoning of the surrounding area is preserved for Southwest’s current and future operations,” wrote Dennis Redmond, vice president of the Northern Nevada division of the utility.

Supervisor Shelly Aldean, however, said she would prefer the property be used for a commercial development or, perhaps, mixed use, incorporating commercial and residential. As president of the Glenbrook Co., an owner of neighboring Southgate Shopping Center, she has decided to refrain from voting on the issue and, in a letter to the city’s Planning Department in November, wrote:

“Although I may sympathize with the landowners’ desire to develop their property, zoning and land use designations exist for a reason – to (e)nsure consistency and to minimize land use conflicts. This proposed project does neither,” Aldean wrote.

She also notes that JCPenney Inc. isn’t in favor of providing the developers a special-use permit, either.

Though businesses immediately surround the proposed site, there are residences near Eagle Station Lane south of Silver Sage Drive, for example. Supervisor Robin Williamson also addressed the mixed-use issue earlier this month by asking whether this type of project was considered by the developers.

“It’s not conductive to put in commercial or retail to have it possibly go unused,” Loveberg said.

Supervisors also said they would prefer to see the property used commercially because of the potential tax dollars a business there might produce and because not much commercial space remains available for development.

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

If you go

WHAT: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. Thursday

WHERE: Sierra Room, Carson City Community Center, 851 William St.