Workforce housing plan discussed

Homeowners concerned about property values, traffic and crime crammed the library at Eagle Valley Middle School Friday to learn more about a proposed affordable-housing development in east Carson City.

State and federal representatives at the workshop tried to ease the worries of the nearly 75 residents who attended. The state proposes to build the workforce housing project between Fifth Street and the Riverview Terrace subdivision.

Entry-level professionals who can't afford homes for their families are the intended buyers - such as teachers, nurses and state workers - of the multi-family units. An estimated 5,800 people, approximately 40 percent of Carson City's state workforce, are going to retire during the next decade, said Charles Horsey, administrator of the state Housing Division. The workers who will replace them will need affordable places to live, he said.

The public land in question is currently managed by the state and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Not all of it is expected to be appropriate for development, according to Horsey.

The state is considering a plan to build family-sized triplexes or quadraplexes for the area. However, the number of units and their exact sizes have not been decided, he said.

"I think the majority of people, homeowners, are scared to death about home values going down and the crime rate going up," said Marty Furry, a Carson resident. "They are fighting to keep what's unknown out."

He said he believes the worries will not be realized, because people who own their own home care about their property and are good neighbors and citizens.

"Most hard-working young couples can't afford to buy homes," he said. "That's why this issue is being addressed."

Some people expressed the concerns noted by Furry; others had questions about how a new development would effect services provided to the area, such as fire, police, water, sewer and schools.

Attendees also wondered if an influx of new residents would overtax traffic in the area. East Fifth Street provides the only outlet for residents to get in and out of the neighborhoods. Horsey said he understands firsthand the rush-hour congestion of that street.

Also a factor determining the eventual size and number of units is how many additional streets would be needed to accommodate traffic - and their width, Horsey said.

The whole proposal right now "is too vague," said Anita Habberfield, a Riverview Terrace resident. "I'm not buying it."

The meeting was the first public step in the process. And because it involves getting land from BLM, the state isn't sure how long it will take to get the project under way. Eventual cost of the federal land could effect the development, too.

The board of supervisors in April consented to help the state develop workforce housing in the city.

The state intends to hold another meeting about the plan in six months. By then they expect more specific information will be available, Horsey said.

City officials would have to approve the final plan.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.


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