Carson City’s Planning Commission recommends new development-related fees

The Carson City Planning Commission recommended new development-related fees and chose new leadership Wednesday.

Commissioners voted to recommend that the city’s governing board adopt $1,800 for a development-agreement fee, $800 for a development-agreement amendment and some other general planning division fees.

The Board of Supervisors, which had requested last May that planning officials look into whether such fees are needed, will take up the resulting ordinance recommendation later.

“We want to continue to be business-friendly,” said Susan Dorr Pansky, planning manager, telling commissioners the proposal avoids being cost-prohibitive. She and Community Development Director Lee Plemel indicated such proposed fees are lower than similar ones already in place in adjacent counties.

Plemel said the fees urged, which weren’t charged before, won’t recover the full cost of staff work on matters involved. Planning also charges other fees, and the new ones deal with development of legal documents, modifications to zoning or division of land ordinance approvals, administrative time extensions or similar extensions requiring public hearings.

Under general planning, any modifications to zoning or division of land approvals would cost 75 percent of original fees prior to such requested changes. The original cost for those items ranged from $500 to $3,500, according to the planning manager, so the newly recommended fees would range from $375 to $2,625.

In addition, administrative time extensions would require a $100 fee; ones requiring public hearings would bring fees of $600 for each.

The planning manager’s staff report said, in part, that the recommendation stemmed from more such requests during “the unstable development market over the past several years.” Her report also said applicants want to “preserve the approval of their projects while waiting for the market to improve.”

Initial project approvals often came for four-year periods, which of late has resulted in several extension requests coming to the Board of Supervisors, and that is what prompted interest in change.

In other action, the panel selected commissioners George Wendell as chairman and Paul Esswein as vice chairman. It also was the first meeting for the newest commissioner, Walt Owens, who was named recently to the unit by the Board of Supervisors.

The commission has authority to handle some items directly, such as special-use permits and variances, but makes recommendations to the supervisors on other matters such as planning-related ordinance changes, subdivisions, rezoning, master plan amendments and street abandonments.

Commissioners also reviewed operational plans for the new LED electronic sign that will replace the current sign in front of Carson City’s Community Center.

The LED sign previously was approved, but Wednesday’s action involved supporting special use permit operational conditions regarding intensity of lighting, types of messages and use of video displays. The motion commissioners adopted calls for a review in July, 2014, “to address any negative impacts” if they should arise.

Thomas Grundy, senior project manager at the city Public Works Department, was on hand to answer questions. He said after his appearance the LED sign should be up and operating by the end of September or some time in October.


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