Planning commission stalls downtown warehouse

Carson City Planning Commissioner Richard Wipfli compared state plans for a steel warehouse downtown to someone brining home a girlfriend "better looking than what I had before."

Just because it's better, he and other commissioners noted, doesn't mean its not ugly.

Faced with warring neighbors and unhappy planning commissioners, a state official agreed Wednesday to reexamine the design of the warehouse planned a block from the state Legislature.

"Our intent is to build this in a manner you're going to be proud of," said Lorne Malkiewich, director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau.

Carson planning commissioners were dismayed by the plain, square design for 9,600-square-foot warehouse the Legislative Counsel Bureau wants to put on a lot one block off Carson Street. While Malkiewich said the state intended to work with city officials on improving the design for the warehouse, commissioners and neighbors of the project lambasted it as a new blight for the city's redevelopment district.

"To put a tin building there is reprehensible," Commissioner William Mally.

Even though Malkiewich promised the building would be improved with a stucco finish and grounds to match the well-groomed Legislative mall, commissioners demanded to see a better design before they would agree to a project that will affect "a sensitive area we're trying to improve," Wipfli said.

"It's a little arrogant that the state would come to us an ask us to approve something like that," Commissioner Gayle Farley said. "A lot of people took a lot of time out of their lives to make the city look better."

Neighboring property owner Dwight Millard threatened to build a warehouse for his boat and recreational vehicle on his downtown property if city officials allow the state to build a warehouse in an area city officials have worked for years to enhance.

"Just because they're a good neighbor doesn't mean we should roll over and give them a warehouse down there," Millard said.

Bob Harder, who owns office buildings directly across Seventh Street, said a warehouse in that neighborhood is "unconscionable"

"It can do nothing but detract from the downtown area," Harder said. "I can't think we'd even be thinking of putting a steel warehouse in the downtown right now. It goes against what we've tried to accomplish."

Only Commissioner Wayne Pedlar supported the state's proposal, noting the state demolished the "eyesore" Capital Arms Apartments that graced the site before purchase by the state last year.

"I tend to think we should give them some benefit of the doubt based on past performance," Pedlar said. "They've done a good job with what they have on Carson Street."

Malkiewich said the state plans to build a temporary warehouse that can be moved in 10 years, maybe 15, depending on when the Legislature can fund a new office building on a site between Fifth and Seventh streets.

Commissioners were concerned that the building, despite promises, wouldn't be temporary.

Commissioners did agree to change the zoning of the parcel to public to reflect its state ownership and continued discussion of the warehouse.


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