An eight-plex in the downtown historic district got the green light Thursday night when a denial by Carson City’s Historic Resources Commission (HRC) was overturned.
The city’s Board of Supervisors voted without dissent for the appeal of Herman Bauer, the developer, based on a recommendation of planning staff backed by a legal opinion from District Attorney Jason Woodbury. Both said the HRC motion to deny the project based on land use and density was outside the HRC’s scope of jurisdiction. James Cavilia, Bauer’s attorney, made the same point about HRC’s scope.
“It’s a very important advisory body,” said Caviila, but he stressed the ultimate decision on zoning and density rests with the city’s governing board. He lauded Bauer’s project as an eventual plus despite vocal and repeated opposition. The eight-plex is planned at 812 N. Division St.
“In the long run, it will be a benefit to the neighborhood,” he said.
Neighbors, who kept the meeting going until after 8 p.m., made it clear not only did they believe that isn’t true, but several said allowing it in the district would set a bad precedent, violates municipal code, and virtually neuters the HRC. They said proper procedures weren’t followed and asked the board to return the issue to the commission for another shot at a new motion so the jurisdictional misfire could be rectified.
“This will diminish the property values of everyone around us,” said Peter Bader, one of many voicing support for the HRC position and against the appeal.
”Having an eight-plex on a half city block is out of character,” said Peter Smith, another neighbor and a former HRC member.
Alexander Kirsch, one of the most vocal anti-Bauer spokesmen, said opposition had been given “short-shrift” and argued 1.5 parking spaces per unit are too few.
“Do we have a historic district or do we not,” he asked, rhetorically.
Mayor Robert Crowell, despite giving opponents latitude, kept telling those testifying to confine remarks to the issue of whether HRC had jurisdiction. He said that was the matter before the board. He also said the board already had authorized the project, following the Planning Commission’s take on it, and the density issue was already settled.
“This board’s already crossed that bridge,” he said.
In another issue from planning, the board approved a Master Plan amendment and a rezoning request from Richard Langson for four acres at 1588 Old Hot Springs Road. Langson wanted the land changed from tourist commercial to general industrial. He said he had no interest in the property from prospective buyers under the old zoning designation.
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