Carson City sets aside site for affordable housing

Carson City is setting aside city-owned land for an affordable housing project.

The Board of Supervisors on Thursday voted to conduct due diligence and eventually issue a request for proposal for a development on a 6.45-acre site on Butti Way.

The property is across the road from several city facilities, including the Public Works Corporate Yard, all located on 127 acres the city owns.

During public comment, Edward Schnabel, president, Carson City Veterans Village, said he was interested in the site for a tiny homes community for veterans, an example of the kind of projects that likely will be submitted when the city issues an RFP to developers.

Nevada law allows the city to convey property to a nonprofit to develop affordable housing for families whose income doesn’t exceed 80 percent of the median gross income for families in the city.

The decision to use the Butti Way site for residential development is part of a city project to review land it owns.

The board also voted to sell two properties: 2.78 acres on Brown Street and 1.6 acres on Medical Parkway.

The Brown Street land has long been considered for an affordable housing project, but the city has been told by developers it isn’t large enough.

Dee Dee Foremaster of Rural Center of Independent Living spoke during public comment and said she thinks the site should be used for a community center with showers, laundry, and kitchen facilities for the homeless and low-income residents as well as a tiny home community.

“The extreme need for low-income housing in this community is unbelievable,” said Foremaster. “We’re going to end up like Reno if we do not address the needs of low income as well as the homeless.”

If sold, she encouraged the board to use proceeds from the sale of the land for low-income housing. Foremaster also spoke in favor of the Butti Way property plan.

The board authorized the purchase of 20 acres off Highway 50 West for open space and trails. The property is being acquired for $290,000 from Michael Fagen using Quality of Life funds. The fund balance is currently $512,000, said Ann Bollinger, open space administrator.

The city has been working on acquiring the land for five years, looking both for land to swap with Fagen and on grants to pay for it, but were unable to do either.

“We’ve exhausted every other avenue,” said Supervisor Brad Bonkowski.

The supervisors also established a task force to review the Carson Rifle and Pistol Range. In November, the range hours were cut back to the weekends because stray bullets were reported at the city landfill within reach of employees and the public who uses the facility. In December, the city held a well-attended public meeting and the Parks, Recreation, and Open Space department commissioned a third-party study of the range.

That study found deficiencies and safety gaps at the range so the city is assembling the task force to assess what should be done and how to fund it.

Chris Carver spoke during public comment as the incoming president of the Carson Rifle and Pistol Club, which operates the range through a 20 year-old agreement with the city.

“We look forward to working with other members of the task force to make the range safe and available,” said Carver.

The task force will be administered by the Parks & Rec staff and include five citizens, each appointed by a supervisor; a commercial operator of firearms-related business; a member of the club; and staff from Public Works and the Sheriff’s Office. A representative from the Nevada Department of Wildlife will be invited to join. Both Bonkowski and Supervisor Lori Bagwell will be on it, too.

“The goal in my mind is to have a gun range in town and a safe one,” said Mayor Bob Crowell. “At the end of the day, safety trumps everything.”


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