The Carson-Douglas line |

The Carson-Douglas line

Carson City and Douglas County are headed in the right direction with an agreement to work together to plan the area along the county line that is fast developing into a mecca for giant stores.

With Home Depot and Target already in place on the Douglas side, and Costco elbowing in next to Fuji Park on the Carson City side, cooperation between the two governments is coming none too soon.

Developers for years have tried to play Carson City against Douglas County, and vice versa, to get the best deal on utilities, taxes and access.

Residents, usually thrilled to get a new place to shop, haven’t worried too much about the competition. And the sales tax generated by Home Depot, Target and Costco help pay for services, even though Douglas County doesn’t benefit directly because it still gets more sales-tax revenue from the state than it generates.

But residents should pay attention to the issues that come with development along the county line, because the long-term costs can be high.

For example, although major work has been done to Highway 395 – including the stores’ very own traffic signals – the effect has been to create another bottleneck just south of the Highway 50 junction.

Ten years before a bypass will help ease the congestion that already exists to that point, there appears to be no long-term plan for the considerable amount of traffic that moves between Carson City and Carson Valley. Traffic is just one of the considerations for a joint planning effort; water and sewer utilities is another major one.

Most interesting, however, will be the discussion when it gets down to exactly how Carson City and Douglas County might split sales tax generated in an “enterprise zone” shared by both.

That will be the true test of whether a spirit of cooperation prevails, or whether Carson and Douglas leaders retreat to their respective sides of the invisible border between the two.

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