• By Albert Depew

Growth Management

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The Carson City Growth Management Program was initiated in 1978 in response to growth that was pressuring the City’s ability to provide critical services and infrastructure, particularly water and sewer services.

Click here to download the complete 2020 Growth Management Report.

Residential Development

The Growth Management Program regulates residential growth by limiting the number of building permits for residential units each year. That number generally relates to the number of residential dwelling units that would result in a city population growth of approximately 3% each year. The actual target percentage growth and number of building permits allowed is determined each year by the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. Below is a history of the number of available residential permits and the number actually issued (through May 2020).


A total of 679 residential permits were allocated for 2020. A residential unit includes a single-family house, a manufactured or mobile home, or a single dwelling unit within a multi-family residence (e.g. townhome or apartment). Connecting an existing residential unit on a private well to the community water system also requires a Growth Management allocation.

Commercial and Industrial Development

A Growth Management application is required for all commercial and industrial developments that exceed an average daily water usage of 15,000 gallons. Growth Management applications are reviewed by the Planning Commission acting as the Growth Management Commission.

Purpose of Growth Management

The purpose of the Growth Management ordinance is to ensure that adequate water and wastewater facilities exist for a project and to ensure that the project will not negatively impact the City’s ability to provide water and wastewater services. The ordinance is the result of a settlement with the Nevada Department of Water Resources in the 1970’s after the City’s wastewater facilities’ capacity was reached. 

Carson City has significantly upgraded its water and wastewater facilities since that time, and overall capacity is generally not an issue today. However, other factors, including location of the proposed development, can impact infrastructure and are reviewed as part of the process. Approval of Growth Management applications typically include conditions relating to water conservation—such as low-flow fixtures—to protect the City’s resources and minimize the need for future upgrades of City facilities.

It should be noted that Carson City does not require a developer to provide water rights in order to construct a project, whether it is residential or non-residential development. The Carson City municipal water system has adequate water rights to accommodate anticipated future City growth.

Refer to the Carson City Municipal Code Chapter 18.12 for complete regulations on Growth Management. A Growth Management application can be downloaded from the Zoning Applications page.

For more information, contact:

Planning Division
Phone: (775) 887-2180
Email: planning@carson.org

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