Carson City Planning Commission takes up limiting growth

The Planning Commission on Wednesday took up its annual task of recommending limits on development in Carson City.

Under the city’s growth management ordinance, the commission every year decides a ceiling on residential building permits and a maximum for daily water use by new commercial development and recommends them to the Board of Supervisors.

The planning department staff recommended and the commission agreed on 3 percent growth, or up to 658 building permits for residential development, divided between 375 permits for developers and 238 permits for general builders.

The last time the number of permits came close to the ceiling was 1996, when 553 permits were issued. In 2016, 194 permits were issued.

The commission decided to maintain the current limit on water usage at 15,000 gallons per day. Businesses that want to exceed that amount have to apply to and be approved by the Planning Commission.

The commission heard a presentation on water from Darren Schulz, public works director, and on schools from Andrew Feuling, Carson City School District director of fiscal services.

Schulz said the city has 18,272 acre feet (af) of usable water rights. In 2017, forecasted water use is 11,186 af and another 1,445 af has been allocated for already approved future development, leaving a balance of 5,641 af for new development.

Feuling said the school district’s main concern is development concentrated in an area that would put all the burden on one elementary school.

And he said the school district would like to see significant new development be required to donate land to defray costs.

The school district can bond for up to $20 million in fiscal year 2021 and would be able to build a new school a year or two later, which in the recent past would have been enough money. But construction costs have increased. Feuling said Washoe County now estimates a new elementary school costs $23 million to build.

Right now, only one school, Fremont Elementary School, which has one empty classroom, has any unused capacity.

The commission also approved a special use permit (SUP) for the Villas at Silver Oak, a 150-unit apartment complex on G.S. Richards Boulevard.

The applicant, Ken Rose, the architect, requested 1.2 parking spaces per apartment and staff recommended 1.7 spaces. Municipal code calls for 2 spaces per unit, but leaves it up to the discretion of the director of planning to use other standards. In April, the commission approved a 300-unit apartment complex on Clearview Drive and Curry and Voltaire streets, next to the Galaxy Fandango movie theater, with 1.7 parking spaces per unit.

A business owner on G.S. Richards Boulevard and Mark Turner, principal, Silver Oak Development Co., who has planned an apartment across the street from The Villas, spoke during public comment.

Most of the discussion involved parking.

“We don’t object to the development, but we very much object to street parking on G.S. Richards Boulevard,” said Turner.

At issue was whether 1.7 spaces per unit provided enough parking for both residents and guests without overflow to G. S. Richards Boulevard, although street parking is allowed there by city code.

Parking at the apartment won’t be designated, said Rose, so guests can park on site although code doesn’t require on-site guest parking if there’s parking allowed on the street.

The commission unanimously approved the SUP with Commissioner Elyse Monroy absent and one spot vacant.

The commission also voted to recommend to the supervisors a tentative subdivision map for 16 single-family attached units on N. Edmonds Drive in the Brown Street Specific Plan Area and an amendment to the Riverview Terrace planned unit development to divide two parcels into five on Hells Bells Road.


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