Board acts on planning fees, floodplain update

Adoption of an updated Carson River floodplain-management plan and initial approval of new community-development planning fees both won support Thursday from Carson City’s Board of Supervisors.

The city’s governing board was the last of several jurisdictions to embrace the Carson River Watershed Regional Floodplain Management Plan supplemental update submitted by the Carson Water Subconservancy District. The update includes new mapping, demographic data and other materials that should help homeowners with the cost of flood insurance.

Brenda Hunt of Carson City, subconservancy spokeswoman, said the plan originally adopted in 2008 needs updating at least every five years and that residents would “receive flood insurance at a discounted rate” as a result. She said the plan covering the river that runs from Alpine County in California to Churchill County east of Nevada’s capital is designed to reduce floods based on a “living-river concept.”

On the planning fees, the board voted 4-1, with Supervisor Brad Bonkowski dissenting, for a first-reading introduction of the Community Development proposal to increase or institute a few new fees. The fees should go up for final approval in two weeks.

“I just see them as nuisance fees,” Bonkowski said, sticking to his objection even after hearing testimony that area builders weren’t opposed.

Sheena Shrum, executive officer of the Builders Association of Western Nevada, said association members looked at the fees and concluded they wanted to “pay our fair share.” She said builders want to be good stewards and didn’t see the fees as onerous.

“It’s not going to impact too many folks,” she said.

Susan Dorr Pansky, planning manager, noted the fees were brought forward only after the board had invited them. She has said such fees weren’t charged previously and were set at a level that won’t prove cost-prohibitive to developers. The primary fees involved are $1,800 for a development agreement and $800 for an amendment to one. Staffers also said they are higher in adjacent counties.

The planning manager also said the development fee is at the discretion of the developer and extensions only come when deadlines loom, so there is no way to estimate with precision what the new fees will raise for the city.

The board meeting, which often takes all day, was over after not much more than an hour. There was nothing on the agenda or put on the record by official comments in open session regarding what could be called the elephant in the room: the fact City Manager Larry Werner tendered his resignation recently and it takes effect Dec. 19.

Despite a flurry last week about how quickly to start on finding a replacement, the matter wasn’t on the agenda and there was no discussion of how to proceed. No one brought it up during public-comment periods.

Mayor Robert Crowell outlined his ideas about the upcoming search in an earlier memo to his board colleagues, the city manager, Deputy City Manager Marena Works and Melanie Bruketta, head of city human resources. He said Bruketta was looking into national search firm options and would present a recommendation at next month’s first board meeting.

“Also on the 7th,” wrote the mayor, “I anticipate discussing public participation in the selection process regardless of whether a search firm is retained or not.”

The mayor did, however, vocalize another issue Thursday that he said is critical for Carson City. He said Supervisor John McKenna had been chosen by the Nevada Association of Counties to serve on a committee related to the fate of Western Nevada College under state Senate Bill 391.

Crowell said the panel will investigate funding issues involving community colleges, including WNC, and whether regents of the University of Nevada’s system should require local funding or even discuss folding WNC into Truckee Meadows Community College, based in Reno.


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