Carson City supervisors on Thursday will consider changing a section of municipal code at the center of a lawsuit against the city by the Washo Tribe of Nevada and California.
The code change won't affect the lawsuit filed earlier this month to stop a proposed 500-home subdivision near the Douglas County border in South Carson City. It will, however, prevent misunderstandings over a law that is now self-contradictory in parts, said City Manager Linda Ritter.
One portion of city code governing master plan amendments, which developers of 120 vacant acres near Champion Speedway sought in order to allow medium-density development, says the city's planning commission has final say over amendment requests.
Another portion of the same code says master plan amendments must be sent to supervisors regardless of the planning commission vote.
That's just what happened with the amendment for the proposed subdivision, said Deputy District Attorney Melanie Bruketta, "and that's how it's been (handled) for 27 years."
After a round of zealous arguments from nearby residents who want the area to maintain its rural feel, and counter arguments from engineering consultants, the commission voted 4-2 in favor of the amendment.
The measure needed five votes to pass, however, and was sent to the Carson City Board of Supervisors.
Supervisors overturned the commission's denial, opening the way for preliminary work to begin on the project.
Tribal Counsel Timothy Seward opposed the supervisors' action, citing the planning commission's authority, and warned the issue "will come back."
The complaint filed with Carson City District Court sites a slew of environmental and cultural concerns related to a new development, but Mayor Marv Teixeira has said all those worries would have to be addressed before actual construction could begin.
The central legal argument of the tribe's complaint is that supervisors did not have authority to pass the amendment.
While supervisors have always heard master plan amendments, Ritter said, the tribe's argument against the board's action brought the city's attention to what officials call misleading language. The proposed code change, which needs to be passed once more after initial approval in mid-July, would stem confusion and similar arguments in the future, said Ritter.
"The board has always had the final say on master plan amendments," she added.
-- Contact reporter Cory McConnell at email@example.com or 881-1217.
If you go
WHAT: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting
WHEN: 8:30 a.m. Thursday
WHERE: Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.