City OKs hospital land purchase

Carson City supervisors unanimously approved Carson-Tahoe Hospital's $10 million purchase of 55 acres of Eagle Valley Children's Home property slated to become the home of a new regional medical center.

While supervisors last year approved the city-owned hospital's transition to a private, nonprofit corporation, the transfer has yet to take place, forcing the hospital's major purchases to be approved by supervisors.

Dan Leck, a Carson City resident, opposed the transfer because he said the hospital -- and therefore the taxpayers, for now -- is paying twice the appraised value of the property. Also, Leck said the approval of the purchase would plant the idea in peoples' minds that the North Carson property will be the hospital's new home without the public zoning processes to validate it.

"Even though they'll have to come back for a zone change, perception is reality," Leck said. "You're basically saying, 'This is the site of our new hospital.'"

Hospital attorney Mike Pavlakis said the roughly $4 million appraisal didn't focus on the exact parcels being purchased and a new appraisal would set the property's price more in line with the $10 million figure.

Deputy District Attorney Mark Forsberg said people often purchase land in the hope they can have it later rezoned for a specific purpose.

Leck also questioned the site being "ideal" because of its main access off Highway 395. Also, he pointed that major development was happening in South Carson City, not in the north where the hospital plans to build.

Supervisors appeared comfortable with the property purchase in part because in a few months, it will no longer be an arm of city government.

The hospital plans to sell bonds to repay its $26 million debt being held by the city, and Pavlakis said the hospital has the cash on hand to purchase the property.

"There have been a number of suitors for this particular piece of property. The Children's Home has been picky in who they've wanted to have as their neighbors," Pavlakis said. "A match, if not made in heaven, has been made here in Carson City."

Hospital officials expect a ruling on their nonprofit status from the Internal Revenue Service in the next two weeks. The nonprofit board being formed to manage the hospital will be made up of local residents.


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