Carson City residents are leery about development
CARSON CITY – Residents in the southwest part of the capital city enjoy the peace and quiet of their neighborhood, which adjoins some of the last undeveloped lands here.
But big changes could be coming.
Nearby Casino Fandango plans to build more than 180 homes west of South Curry Street, as well as expansion of the casino, a four-story hotel and 10-screen movie theater.
It’s a “shining example” of a well-done redevelopment project, said Joe McCarthy, the city’s economic development and redevelopment manager.
South Carson is also going to be home to another commercial and residential development to be located where the Oasis Mobile Home Park is closing, although the developer hasn’t filed plans yet.
City officials are happy to see more development come to the area because it will revitalize the southside business climate and bring in more tax dollars.
But residents, who are accustomed to a semi-rural lifestyle, know it could mean more traffic and noise.
“I don’t mind redevelopment,” said Janine Kechely, who with her family has lived near the intersection of Voltaire and Overland streets for about nine years.
The idea of having easy access to businesses, such as a movie theater or more restaurants within walking distance, sounds like a good idea. Increases in traffic, noise and additional light at night do not, she said.
She has questions about whether it still will be safe to walk to all of the new places being planned, let alone the places they now frequent.
Kechely said the traffic will increase as more residential and commercial buildings begin to pop up. An empty parcel located directly east of the Kechelys has been rumored to be the future site of a residential development.
She said she hopes the city will install speed bumps, traffic signs or some other amenities – sidewalks don’t exist in this neighborhood – to help keep the residents safe.
The number of vehicles driving along Curry and Voltaire streets has risen during recent years as more vehicles travel between the increasing number of attractions nearby and to the east. Drivers use these less-traveled streets to avoid traffic on South Carson Street, and they sometimes speed through dangerously, she said.
“I have two young children,” Kechely said. “I worry about their safety.”
“I think it stinks,” said Aleta McTamany, of the redevelopment plans. She lives near the corner of Voltaire and West Appion streets. “I like it wide open here with the mountain views.”
The casino has brought with it a mixed bag of conditions, however, she said. While allowing the area’s business climate to improve, there’s more noise and a lot more traffic rolling through the neighborhood than there was before the casino opened and subsequently expanded, she said.
She said she hopes new projects being planned for the area won’t exceed a height of three stories.
While the plans for the mobile home park site didn’t bother her because she would rather see something else there, the hotel would ruin her view, she said.
“It would be too tall,” she said. “Anything over three stories in this area would be too tall.”
Among the first signs that change was coming to the southside was when Casino Fandango began operating nearly three years ago in the Supply One building on South Carson Street that had been empty for years.
The casino was expanded once to its current size of roughly 48,000 square feet.
The latest Fandango expansion plan is expected to require ample oversight by the city, as is the development planned for the Oasis Mobile Home Park site.
As far as the city is concerned, a builder or developer has to make it official by submitting plans, said Walter Sullivan, the city’s development services director. When those plans do come, Sullivan said, the city will scrutinize them.
When the plans are filed, residents will be notified. Property owners within 300 feet – or the first 30 nearest property owners – will receive notice of the project by mail. The city also posts notices and advertises in the newspaper to notify the public about projects.
All of this occurs two to three weeks before a public meeting is held, Sullivan said.
Residents interested in particular projects are welcome to come to the planning division to look at plans or make appointments to talk to employees about any potential problems or concerns, he said.
“You can’t stop progress,” said Woodrow “Woody” Cave, who lives across from McTamany. “Things change, but you’ll always find people who are going to bellyache.”
Cave, 89, recently sold a couple of acres of nearby land, but has no plans to move himself. He has lived there since the mid-1970s and enjoys watching the quail, rabbits and other creatures scamper around. He plants tomatoes to give away to friends and people who might “need them.”
“Don’t get in the way of anybody willing to spend any money,” he said.
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