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East Carson residents accuse supervisors of hidden agenda

Amanda Hammon, Appeal Staff Writer

Residents of Deer Run Road accused Carson City supervisors Thursday of having “a hidden agenda” as they voted for a citywide public zoning change.

Supervisors approved 3-2 the zone change, which splits into three specific public zones what uses can and cannot be placed on public property.

Resident Tom Quigley said he believes the zone change, part of a two-year planning process to update all of the city’s zoning classifications, was part of “behind closed door” dealing to relocate the city’s fairgrounds off Deer Run Road, east of the Ambrose Natural Area.

After seeing notice of the city’s state economic development grant application to put curb, gutters and sidewalks on a portion of Deer Run Road to encourage industrial development and a Nevada Appeal article regarding a proposal for the potential fairgrounds site near Ambrose, Quigley said he “put one and one and one” together and decided the city was trying to force a fairgrounds on residents of Deer Run Road.

“If it’s purely coincidental, boy, it’s good I caught on it so we can address it now,” he said. “If you’ve got the lights on at all, you should be able to see that this is a threat to our quality of life.”

Charles Kuhn, a member of the Concerned Citizens to Save Fuji Park and the Fairgrounds, said the zone change is the “first step in moving the fairgrounds out to the river.” He suggested the city create an open space zone to protect land from development.

The public zone change, which almost exclusively affects land owned by the city, state and federal government, actually limits what can be placed in public property. Under the current designation, a fairgrounds could be considered for any public piece of property under a special use permit process.

Under the new rules, a fairgrounds would be considered only in the public regional zone. Much of that zone is Bureau of Land Management land, uses of which are subject to federal approval. Public community parks, for example, would be allowed in the public neighborhood or public community zones. State and Carson school district land were exempted from the zone change.

Quigley asked that uses that would allow a fairgrounds be removed from Deer Run Road’s public zones.

Supervisors Pete Livermore and Richard Staub, who voted against the zone change, argued public speculation of the propriety of city actions warranted the zone changes being sent back to the planning commission for further review.

“There are no underlying reasons for the mistrust,” Livermore said. “This is open and fair government. If we send it back for more public debate and discussion, we can come together on a plan we can all agree upon. I’m willing to take the time. Let’s make it right.”

However, Mayor Ray Masayko and Supervisors Robin Williamson and Jon Plank agreed that the public zone change benefited Carson City as a whole and could be amended if necessary.

“I, as one member of this board, am somewhat offended when somebody wants to challenge what we’re doing (says) that there is always something clandestine, behind closed doors,” Masayko said. “I reject that. Are we better off without this? There are some solvable issues, but (now) we at least move ahead with the process. More people benefit if we have this land use plan than if we don’t.”