With Carson City residents objecting to the suburbanization of their rural neighborhood and representatives of the Washo Tribe outlining potential environmental hazards of a new development, city supervisors revived a plan for about 500 homes on 120 acres in South Carson City on Thursday.
Only Supervisor Shelly Aldean voted against the proposed Schulz Ranch-area subdivision, which failed to gain a Carson City Planning Commission recommendation after receiving a 4-2 favorable vote earlier this month.
The project needed five votes from the seven-member planning commission for approval because it was brought forward as a master plan amendment - a fact that could prove fatal to the development, according to the Washo Tribe.
"I wanted to (talk) more on that. Because it will come back," Timothy Seward, an attorney for the tribe, told supervisors.
Seward and Carson City Assistant District Attorney Melanie Burketta disagreed on whether the board could hear the plan even though it failed to pass the planning commission.
The two attorneys cited different passages in the same section of city code, one which gives the planning commission final say on certain matters, and one which mandates supervisors hear certain matters whether they pass the commission or not.
Seward said the tribe may try to overturn the board's vote based on the planning commission rejection.
"That is something that would be decided by the tribe, but it's something that would be strongly considered," he said.
Some residents of the rural neighborhood attended the meeting in support of the proposal, saying Carson City needs more homes and the homes have to be in somebody's back yard.
Entry-level homes are scarce in Carson City, forcing many who work here or grew up here to live elsewhere.
While the smaller homes planned for the vacant land near Champion Speedway will start at a not-so-entry-level $253,000 they're a far cry from the $500,000 to $700,000 homes that will be built there if the land remains zoned for one-acre lots, according to proponents.
Many residents also vehemently opposed the project, as they have at each public meeting held on the plan so far.
Washo Tribe Chairman A. Brian Wallace also strongly objected to the development, citing numerous health, safety and cultural concerns.
Tribal land borders the project along its more dense portions, and several hundred homes there would be a detriment to the preservation of the land and its cultural resources that the tribe champions, Wallace said.
"This will affect the historic integrity of what we feel is one of the most important cultural sites in Northern Nevada," said Seward.
The tribe also has homes and recreation areas for children along Center Drive, he said. Center Drive is one of the roads expected to see increased traffic from the new homes.
Wallace said the supervisors should conduct extensive research on traffic, safety, and the Clear Creek watershed before it okays such a subdivision.
Mark Rotter, an official with the consulting firm designing the development defended the proposal, saying developers Reynen and Bardis and Barker Coleman Communities have changed the subdivision designs dramatically, several times, in response to neighbors' criticisms.
"We've done a lot of work and a lot of things to make sure this development would be a good development," Rotter said.
Ultimately, the board decided the city's lack of affordable housing trumped neighbors' desires took keep the area, which borders Douglas County to the south, rural.
"You know Douglas (development) is going to happen. It's already out there," said Mayor Marv Teixeira.
"I don't know if this project is going to fly after all the studies are done, but I guarantee you we're going to take a real close look," he said.
n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.