On Tap: Affordable housing in Carson City addressed

The second Ideas on Tap featured a wide-ranging conversation on affordable housing, regional issues, and citizen participation.

The topic for the public discussion group was how to make Carson City go from good to great, and started with a panel with Supervisor Lori Bagwell; Stacey Giomi, a candidate for Ward 1 supervisor; and John Brummer, associate, Re/Max Realty Affiliates. The event was organized by Mike Smith, a Carson City resident who last month launched the monthly event held in the lounge at Battle Born Social.

“There aren’t easy answers,” said Giomi when the topic of affordable housing came up.

Giomi talked about taking advantage of opportunity zones — designated low-income areas where investors receive tax incentives under the new law — for more residential development. In Carson City, the area covers selected properties between Fairview Drive to the east and south, Highway 50 to the north, and Roop and Carson streets to the west.

Bagwell sits on a city committee addressing affordable housing that met earlier in the day and talked about ways to relax regulations so housing assistance can be used in more situations.

“I think it’s imperative we look at common sense answers,” she said.

Brummer cautioned, too, about restricting the market to try to solve the problem.

“The more regulated the more volatile the market becomes,” he said.

That led to a group-wide discussion of taking a more regional approach to several problems, including housing and homelessness.

“The surrounding counties aren’t doing their part when it comes to affordable housing,” said one audience member, and others talked about food banks here that feed people from all over the region.

Bagwell said the city is a member of the League of Cities, which will be focusing on looking at issues from a regional perspective at its annual conference next week in Winnemucca.

The Ideas on Tap group, which consisted of about 20 people, also talked about ways to attract younger people and families to live here, as well as outsiders to visit and spend their money.

Giomi said he was recently out to dinner in Reno and overheard the next table talking about coming to Carson City to eat at the city’s growing list of restaurants.

And all three panelists talked about the importance of continuing to make Carson City a great place for outdoor recreation, such as hiking and biking, and other activities.

Brummer said the revitalized downtown and events like the Brewery Arts Center’s concert series are key.

“Continue fueling those things that attract families,” said Brummer. “People want to feel like they’re in a great place with a pulse.”

Smith said the next Ideas on Tap topic is voter apathy, and will be held Oct. 3, 6-7:30 p.m. in the lounge at Battle Born Social.


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