Carson City Planning Commission approves youth-led virtual reality arcade

From left, System’s Edge managers Liam Ross, 17, Jayson Kareck, 23, and Deandre Paplia, 16, along with owner Jake Bainton, 17.

From left, System’s Edge managers Liam Ross, 17, Jayson Kareck, 23, and Deandre Paplia, 16, along with owner Jake Bainton, 17.

A virtual reality arcade proposed for downtown Carson City — run by and for young adults — is one step closer to actual reality thanks to planning commissioners approving a special use permit for the project.

On Wednesday, planning commissioners unanimously approved a special use permit for Carson-based System’s Edge LLC. The applicant is planning to establish the arcade in a 2,110-square-foot suite in an existing office and retail building at 1087 S. Carson Street. The property is zoned downtown mixed-use and, per city code, requires a special use permit for an amusement arcade.

“I’ll have to come down, maybe, and see,” said planning commissioner Richard Perry, who joked he grew up in the fifties and didn’t understand virtual reality games.

The arcade would serve as a gathering place for teens and young adults, according to developers. It would offer eight virtual reality stations with advanced gaming along with a dedicated area on the second floor designed for socializing and studying. Prepackaged snacks and drinks would also be available.

“It’s a passion project,” said applicant and business owner Jake Bainton, 17.

Bainton, whose business managers are also in their late teens or early 20s, was emphatic that Carson City needs more entertainment options for teens and young adults.

When planning commissioners questioned if there was adequate parking at the site, Bainton answered that people will visit later in the day, 3-11 p.m., after neighboring businesses have closed. When planning commissioner Sena Loyd asked about sanitation of equipment used in virtual reality gaming, Bainton assured her goggles and other equipment would be thoroughly sanitized between each use.

Planning Commissioner Nathaniel Killgore made the motion for approval and said he was excited to do so. The boardroom in the community center was full of young attendees who clapped when the special use permit was approved.

In their staff report to the board, city planners found the arcade consistent with the city’s master plan, noting no adverse effects on traffic or public services. According to the permit application, the building that will house the arcade is owned by Copper Tree LLC of Santa Monica, Calif.

• Planning commissioners also approved, unanimously, a special use permit for Jay Demarco to make a residential property off Van Epps Drive into an in-home childcare business.

Conditions of approval for the proposal require appropriate state and local licensing and a limit of 12 children for the facility.

The commission received one letter from a neighbor in opposition to the permit, concerned it would lead to more businesses in the neighborhood.

“We have zoning areas for a reason and a business should be in a business zone if they want to run a business of any kind that involves cash transactions and people,” wrote resident Dana Whaley.

On Wednesday, Carson City Associate Planner Heather Ferris said current code allows for the childcare use in residential zones with a special use permit but not for other types of commercial or industrial businesses.


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