Putting a house on a one-acre lot in the Timberline-Lakeview area is fine, Lee Carter said.
Even a third of an acre is OK by him.
But putting 90 homes and a clubhouse on 19 acres at the intersection of Coombs Canyon Road and Timberline Drive is unacceptable, he argues.
With lots as small as 4,800 square feet, Carter said the project planned by California developer Steve Selinger of Barton Properties is inconsistent with the traditional large lots in the area.
"Nobody wants this," Carter said. "Property in University Heights, that's one-third of an acre on average. In Timberline, it's half-acre. In Lakeview it's one acre or more. This is inconsistent with the rest of the area by a long way."
Carson City Senior Planner Skip Canfield doesn't necessarily agree with Carter's assessment of the project, but said city planners aren't supporting the project for other reasons.
Canfield said trading denser development for open space is a benefit for both the city and the developer. However, because of issues surrounding traffic, engineering and utilities, Canfield said the city can't support the project at the moment.
The Coombs Canyon property is zoned for one home per acre and is spread over 82 acres, including the rocky hillsides on the back of Lakeview Hill. In this instance, planners allow developers to trade their right to build one home on each of those areas by transferring the development rights to the smaller, developable piece of property.
The tradeoff is open spaces on land that otherwise could be developed, said Carol Dotson, director of planning for Lumos and Associates, the engineering firm in charge of the project.
"We could cut driveways up and do it, but you don't want to do that," Dotson said. "You don't want to scar the hills."
Carter agrees with the idea of trading development rights for open space, "so let them put 38 homes here. Let's not approve 90 houses."
Planned as an upscale, gated community, the 19-acre development abuts the seasonal Coombs Canyon Creek, but Dotson said the development won't affect or endanger the creek. Lots in the development range from 4,800 to 19,000 square feet.
"I understand that people don't want anything to happen," Dotson said. "That's why we've been working on it for six months. We knew it was going to be a sensitive project to do. We wanted it to be upscale because we knew that was the only thing that would be acceptable. You can have a lot of nice homes close together. Lot size doesn't have as much to do with it as much as the type of community you create."
The Carson City Planning Commission will consider the development Wednesday. Dotson said Lumos engineers and planners would continue to work with city staff to iron out the traffic, utility and engineering issues.
IF YOU GO
What: Carson City Planning Commission meeting
When: 3:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Community Center's Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.