Not ones to sit around and wait for the sound of bulldozers, east Carson City residents worried a scenic chunk of their rural neighborhood is about to become suburbia are protesting its development before any real plans have been announced.
Rumors that owners of Buzzy's Ranch, a 483-acre piece of property along Carson River Road, are negotiating a sale with developers have spurred residents to action.
A letter asking the city to prevent a subdivision there was delivered to planners this week with more than 80 signatures. And although there's nothing on the Internet yet, someone has registered the Web address www.savebuzzysranch.com.
The letter urges the city to "do what you can to help us see that this area is maintained as the residents of Carson City have previously indicated - undeveloped."
Bob Andersen, owner of an 86-acre portion of the property, said he isn't aware of any serious negotiations on the property. James Jarrard, owner of the other 397 acres, could not be reached for comment.
Carson City open space officials, however, said the city's efforts to purchase the property for recreation are on hold pending the outcome of the property owners' negotiations with "a large developer."
Seeing the ranch as a prize piece of open space, Carson City had the property valued by an independent appraiser last year. The 86-acre Andersen property was pegged at $625,000 while the 397-acre Jarrard portion was valued at $1.8 million.
Open Space Manager Juan Guzman said the properties' value has undoubtedly increased since a year ago, but several factors keep the property's value at less than the normally astronomical price of average Carson City property.
The land is at the end of city water and sewer lines, and they don't have the capacity to go any further, Guzman said. Developing the area would mean pouring millions into infrastructure like a well and lift stations to support more homes, he said.
It's also unclear how much more traffic streets in the area could support, Guzman said. A developer might be forced to take on the expensive task of road building.
To the city's open space department, however, the land is highly desirable.
First, public surveys in the 1990s showed the vast majority of Carson City residents wanted the riverside property left open, Guzman said. The land also hosts some valuable wetlands and a portion of it is a flood plain that reduces the velocity of the Carson River during high water times.
The land is also in a coveted spot, right between two large pieces of public land - the Silver Saddle Ranch and Riverview Park.
Putting Buzzy's Ranch into city ownership would connect the two areas for one massive public recreation area, Guzman said.
The Bureau of Land Management, which owns the Silver Saddle Ranch, listed Buzzy's Ranch as a possible acquisition in 2000 but nothing came of it.
The city's plan now is to wait and see if a developer negotiating with Jarrard buys some or all of the land. If only a portion of the property is bought by a private party, Guzman said, the city will look into purchasing whatever is left.
n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at email@example.com or 881-1217.