Plans for Lompa Ranch in Carson City slow to develop
Where is all the Lompa Ranch development?
Roughly 430 new houses are approved, and at least as many apartments planned, for the 400-plus acre site in the middle of Carson City on most of what remains of the Lompa family ranch that was once twice that size.
But, the only visible sign so far is a mound of dirt next to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is now dotted with brush and weeds.
The dirt, transported from the Carson Hills Apartments project under construction on Curry Street, is to be used for landfill for the extensive flood mitigation work needed on the site.
The long timeframe to develop the ranch is not surprising, although it has already been a long haul.
The property went on the market in 2006, but it was 10 years before anything was proposed. In January 2016, Blackstone Development Group, the Reno-based developer for most of the property, submitted plans for the Lompa Ranch North Specific Plan Area on 203 acres west of Interstate 580 and 48 acres east of it.
In March 2017, the Board of Supervisors approved a tentative map for the first subdivision in that area: 189 single-family houses to be built by Ryder Homes on about 44 acres located on the west side of the property south of Robinson Street and north of 5th Street.
Ryder at first projected construction would start in 2018.
“There are two pretty substantial channels through the site that require approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We’re hoping in the next 90 days to get approval,” said Steve Thomsen, general manager. Ryder Homes. “We didn’t think in the beginning that we would need it.”
Thomsen said Ryder hopes to start construction on houses, after site work, in the second quarter next year.
Ryder also went through a major project review in September 2017 for plans to build 350 apartments at an adjacent piece of ranch property. In a review, which is sometimes required, city departments comment on the project in order for the developer to be prepared for the approval process.
The review expired a year later and a new one will be required, although no municipal code has changed that would affect it, said Hope Sullivan, Carson City planning manager.
Michael Railey, partner, Rubicon Design Group, a consultant representing Blackstone, said early in the entitlement process that the entire site would take 10 years to develop.
Blackstone has two other projects on Lompa, one which has not entered into the approval process and another moving along.
The dormant project is to the east of the Ryder development and is part of the specific plan that Blackstone got approved in 2016.
On the drawing board, it’s 209 single-family home lots.
Joshua Myers, CEO/president, Blackstone, said the developer has a construction firm for the project but would not say which one. He expects construction to start in the second quarter, but first the project must get city approvals and permits.
Myers said Blackstone has a local builder ready for another Lompa Ranch project on 26.89 acres south of 5th Street, off Railroad Drive, although he declined to name that builder either.
That project, initially planned with 107 houses and moving forward with 103 lots, is an easier piece of land to develop, although it presented its own set of problems.
The city approval includes a condition to build a 100-foot wide drainage buffer.
“We got our FEMA CLOMR approval last week,” said Myers.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency issues a Conditional Letter of Map Revision which indicates whether the project, if built as proposed, would be recognized by FEMA in order to revise floodplain maps used for insurance purposes.
The landlocked project also ran into an issue with road access and is being required by the city to build a road from the site to 5th Street, which necessitated securing a right of way through another portion of the ranch.
Myers expects construction to start there by mid-2020 and for the houses to be sold for between the high $300,000 and low $400,000.
The newest project on Lompa Ranch may be the most difficult piece of land to develop.
The Lompa Ranch East project is on 41.6 acres east of Interstate 580 and includes 137 single-family homes, an apartment complex, and a 3-acre dog park.
The tentative planned unit development was approved by the supervisors in February after a lengthy discussion about building in flood-prone areas.
The TPUD was forwarded by the Planning Commission on a 4-2 vote, with Commissioners Paul Esswein and Hope Tingle voting no.
“Engineers can do a lot of things. I am opposed to the idea that just because you can fill a wetlands or get rid of a floodplain that you should do it,” said Esswein.
A condition of approval requires the developer, The Red Ltd., to work with the Army Corps of Engineers to mitigate removal of any wetlands from the site.
“The Red Ltd. is working on developing plans for the multi-family parcel on the north and engineering studies are being completed per the conditions of approval for the single-family components,” said Rubicon Design Group’s Railey, which is consulting on the project.