Carson City panel OKs plan for developers to foot bill for increased traffic

CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Regional Transportation Commission on Dec. 11 approved a template for transportation development agreements for new private development projects citywide.

The agreements are designed to split the costs of improvements such as traffic signals between Carson City and developers whose projects generate the traffic increases that trigger the need for improvements.

For example, if a new fast food restaurant going in doubles traffic in an area and precipitates the need for a stop sign, the developer would be assessed for half of the cost of installing the sign.

Or if a larger area is under development by multiple parties requiring a new traffic signal, each developer would be assessed a percentage of the cost based on the number of vehicle trips the new business is expected to generate.

The latter example would happen over a number of years and an end date set for charging developers for the improvement.

“One parcel gets developed and the improvement added and then a date would be established. Anyone who comes in until that date would have to contribute to that improvement,” said Darren Schulz, director, Public Works.

The RTC initially discussed the concept in November, but opted to table a decision until this month.

As new development comes on board, and the earlier developers' share of the traffic increase drops, their pro rata share of the improvement cost would drop, too, and the developer would be reimbursed the difference.

In all cases, the city is paying a portion of the improvement based on existing traffic, usually the bulk of the costs.

An agreement for development in south Carson City near the freeway bypass, which is making a $1.2 million traffic signal on Carson Street and Snyder Avenue more likely, was brought to the RTC last month, when the commission suggested staff use it to develop a template for all new development that requires improvements.

Supervisor Brad Bonkowski, RTC chair, raised a concern that the city not make vacant parcels too pricey to develop by adding the cost of improvements to their price tag.

“We don't want to chase good development away,” said Schulz.

Supervisor Lori Bagwell, who also sits on the RTC, said developers should have the ability to appeal to the RTC if they do not agree with Public Works' assessments.

The template is supported by the Nevada Builders Alliance, according to a letter from Aaron West, the alliance's CEO, which Bonkowski read into the record.


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