Carson City drafting COVID-19 mitigation plan to allow 100% capacity on May 1

Carson City is drafting a plan to allow local businesses to operate at full capacity starting May 1.

The plan is due to the state’s COVID-19 task force on March 15 for review and approval, which is required by each county in order to implement its own roadmap for mitigation and enforcement.

The details were discussed by the Board of Supervisors Thursday after Gov. Steve Sisolak announced the state would be transferring the task to local jurisdictions.

Some rules will remain statewide, including mandatory mask wearing and social distancing that requires tables in a restaurant, for example, to be at least six feet apart.

Those continued restrictions persuaded the supervisors to support allowing businesses back to 100 percent occupancy rather than moving more slowly from the current 35 percent to 50 percent capacity (most businesses in the state are currently at 50 percent, though several sectors, mainly restaurants and bars, are at 35 percent until March 15, when they, too, can move up to 50 percent).

“I think we should go to 100 percent,” instead of a phased in approach,  Supervisor Stan Jones said Thursday. “They’re not going to be at 100 percent occupancy anyway with the other restrictions.”

The plan will also permit indoor gatherings of 250 people or up to 50 percent capacity while staff continues to look into limits on outdoor gatherings.

The plan must be endorsed by several other entities, including the local school district and health department, and should be finalized by mid-April.

In other news

The Carson City Board of Supervisors also approved procedures Thursday needed to establish the South Carson Street neighborhood improvement district or "NID."

The NID will comprise local businesses along Carson Street from 5th Street to the 580 bypass which are assessed for maintenance of sidewalks, landscaping and irrigation, and the multi-use path put in when the road was redone last year.

Businesses downtown have been in a similar district since road and other improvements were made there five years ago.

The businesses will be assessed based on half the businesses parcel square footage and half the length of its street frontage. The assessments will range from $7 to $5,123 annually.

A letter from Richard Campagni, owner, Campagni Auto Group, which owns two large car dealerships in the corridor, sparked discussion of whether the assessments were fair.

The letter pointed out that many of the improvements were installed on the east side of the road, but the board said the improvements benefit all the businesses along and just off Carson Street.

The initial maintenance costs are expected to be $141,860, and the initial proposal called for the city to pay $22,240 and the businesses $119,620.

But, the businesses will be paying less than that because the board decided to kick in the money the city collects on lease agreements along the road.

The city inherited a patchwork of rights-of-way along South Carson Street when it inherited the street from the Nevada Department of Transportation. NDOT had various lease agreements with adjoining properties and the city is revising them now and making them uniform agreements.

So the board decided to take the money raised by those new lease agreements, an expected $55,000, and apply it to the NID's maintenance bill, reducing the NID's contribution to approximately $65,000.

“Let’s spend the money from the leases in the zone where it is collected,” said Mayor Lori Bagwell.

During discussion of the lease agreements, Supervisor Maurice White raised the issue of one parcel, part of the parking lot in front of the Red Hut restaurant where two abandoned gas pumps still sit. The site has long been monitored by the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection due to an underground gas leak in the mid-1990s.

The board agreed to add language or an addendum to that particular lease agreement that makes clear the property owner is responsible for all monitoring and permit requirements that are associated with it.

In other actions, the board approved a three-year extension of the current memorandum of understanding with the Fire Department’s battalion chiefs with an expected cost to the city of $272,821, which will be reduced by one unfilled vacancy, said Nancy Paulson, city manager.

The board also passed on first reading an ordinance to make permanent the 1 percent transient lodging tax collected to fund the city’s arts and culture office, now housed with the Carson City Tourism Authority.


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