Carson water agreement with Minden approved

The Carson City Board of Supervisors on Thursday approved a new agreement with the Town of Minden for delivery of water.

The agreement between Minden and Carson City, Douglas County and the Indian Hills General Improvement District, which are all wholesale water customers, was negotiated over the last nine months after the supervisors rejected an amendment to the original agreement.

The board’s objection was based on costs for construction and stabilization Minden was calculating into new rates and the city said it wasn’t responsible for paying.

“Construction repayment has now been eliminated from the costs. That was the main dispute,” said Dan Yu, Carson City deputy district attorney, who with District Attorney Jason Woodbury negotiated the new agreement for the city.

Instead, Carson City is purchasing 187.5 acre feet of water rights, added to the already 2,690 af it previously acquired from Minden, for approximately $8,000 per af.

The total cost is $1.5 million to be paid in annual installments of $75,000 over the next 20 years.

In addition, all the parties will get together annually to make sure the rates reflect actual costs and revise them if necessary. The previous agreement required a new rate study every three years.

“This is a great agreement for Carson City. We’re getting additional water rights, we’re getting additional good water,” said Darren Schulz, director, Public Works department. “It prepares us for the future.”

Carson City uses its water delivered by Minden to blend with water here.

“We have two problems with our water. On the east side we have high levels of arsenic and on the west side we have high levels of uranium,” he said.

Diluting those levels by blending the water lets the city avoid building treatment plants that could cost $50 million.

But Schulz said eventually a treatment plant for arsenic would have to be built because the arsenic levels in the water delivered by Minden will eventually rise over the next 10 to 50 years. At the same time, levels of arsenic allowed by federal regulation are going down.

Douglas County commissioners also approved the agreement 5-0 at their meeting in Stateline on Thursday.

“It was a phenomenal job the way you structured this,” Commissioner Steve Thaler said. “Not only does Douglas County benefit, but Carson City benefits, too.”

The Minden Town Board is scheduled to vote on it June 19 and the Indian Hills GID on June 22.

The supervisors also voted to extend an existing moratorium and create a follow-on ban on permits for new marijuana establishments in the city.

The original moratorium was extended to Sept. 19. The purpose of the ban is to have time to develop an ordinance for recreational marijuana businesses and to wait until the state finalizes its regulations on retail pot at the end of the year.

The moratorium, though, can’t be extended beyond September so the board also voted to start the process of instituting a new ban once the original one expires. That ban will likely go through the end of the year.

Mayor Bob Crowell said analysis has been done on the expected enforcement costs of recreational pot, which the city will incur whether it allows establishments or zones them out. City Manager Nick Marano said that information would start to be shared with the public at an open workshop June 20 at 5 p.m. in the Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center.

The board also took up a zoning map amendment for a parcel on Randell Drive that sits between a residential neighborhood and land zoned Neighborhood Business. The property is owned by the Nevada Builders Alliance (NBA), which until recently had offices in a building there. An unusual resolution of intent, passed by the Board of Supervisors in 2001, only allows the parcel to be used for the NBA office and if sold it reverts to residential zoning.

The NBA went before the Planning Commission to have the resolution rescinded and for a special use permit and variance to put in a daycare center there.

The commission approved the zoning map change, but denied the SUP for a childcare business.

The supervisors were only considering the zoning map change and instead of voting on it the mayor directed staff to work with the applicant to go back to the commission with a planned unit development that would limit the land’s use and assure neighbors several types of businesses allowable under the neighborhood business zone wouldn’t go on the property.


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