Another step to a new downtown vision
A sure way to make people’s eyes glaze over is to talk about zoning. A sure way to wake them up is to talk about changes necessary to make Carson City’s downtown a point of pride.
Those two things will converge on Thursday at a supervisors meeting when the board will decide whether to change zoning rules throughout the downtown area, a move designed to create a more vibrant business climate.
What it represents is a technical step in achieving the vision – and we mean actual vision – the city put out last year. It featured artist conceptions and short movies of uncrowded downtown streets with trees, benches and wide sidewalks.
Contrast that with your recent outings downtown – which often includes taking your life into your hands crossing the street or squeezing past people on narrow sidewalks – and it’s easy to understand the need for a new vision.
Among other things, the plan would create more opportunities for people to live downtown. The theory goes that they would then patronize nearby businesses, creating a built-in customer base.
The zoning changes aren’t likely to be controversial, but future steps may be more contentious as the city works on building, health, safety and engineering codes that potential businesses would have to deal with.
There’s a lot that must change, even beyond the zoning changes, to make Carson City’s downtown a more attractive location for businesses. And it’s important to get started now, before the capital city’s downtown loses any more of its luster.