The Appeal Is In

Hi everyone. I’m back from Iceland and just wanted to catch up real quick. The appeal is in and it looks like we’re being scheduled August 8th to give our response to the tentative map decision. It seems we will have 15 minutes to deliver our comments, much like the developer had at the last meeting. We wont have 3 min a person limit, so we will most likely have one person present while potentially calling on some experts.

We of course will keep you all updated as we get closer.

The Appeal

This is it. This is our Super Bowl.

It seems the advice from the board that this was a “long process” was a little misleading. This process will go on for a while, but it seems that the Appeal to the tentative map will be our last shot of putting in community input. Here’s how it works…

In the appeal, we will make the case as to why the approval of the tentative map should be overturned. Our appeal can be rejected and they move forward as is, they can approve our appeal and reject the tentative map in which case the developers would go back to square one, or they can approve with new conditions. Our appeal case will go in front of our elected commissioners (Bob Lucy and crew) and we will be the presenters and get a block of time to state our case. We will have some time to put our presentation together.

We are writing the appeal this weekend. There is a $1,400 fee to put in this appeal. We need help paying for this. Below is a link to a gofundme account. Please donate. To help this thing happen. The deadline for the appeal is next monday.

Fund The Appeal

Another note:  we talked to the fire chief, he does have his concerns about fire safety as well and thinks that adding Thomas Creek would be preferred, but under current code the developer only needs to have 2 entrances. We did suggest some new conditions to make the whole project more fire safe, like adding a fire break on the south and east ends of the property that will also provide access. He liked the suggestions and he is going to request them.

I am leaving for Iceland for 2 weeks tomorrow morning, Ken will also be gone. So we will not be easy to contact for a little bit, but I will check back in with you when I return.

Take Heart and Push Forward Fellow Warriors

I want to share with you something very refreshing and invigorating that I feel will help sooth some wounds today.

I received a call from our planning commission representative, Michael Lawson. He informed me up front that he could not discuss the Ascente project or vote, but he wanted to share something else with all of you.

He was in awe of our presentation and commitment to our area. He said in his decades of experience in planning that he has never seen anything like it before. He believes that everything that we had to say was compelling and relevant. He was very surprised at the outcome and could not sleep that night. He went on to say that he wants to work for us to make the system better.

He felt the system worked against us Tuesday night for many of the same reasons I shared in my last post and in my opening arguments. This process moves forward in small steps that places our representatives in the position to make split second decisions in a vacuum. It is unfair that we cannot rebut a developer’s answer to our questions. It is not right that they cannot take the time to research hours of contradicting testimony before making a decision. Developers know this and have the time, money and experience to know how to work these system flaws to their advantage. They deftly maneuvered away from the arguments where we had ground to stand on, and sought out the ones that made us look ill-informed. Mr Lawson believes he can work to change these system issues. He was very struck by the comments that if we keep mitigating, eventually there is nothing left to mitigate. I must also point out that representative Sarah Chvilicek had comments to the effect of wanting to change the system as well.

I can say since the meeting I have talked to A LOT of county officials involved in this process. The people that have worked on this to this point have been shackled to code requirements and job description limitations. But I come away with the honest belief that though we may feel that the system isn’t working for us right now, that our representatives most certainly are. I don’t know if this will be able to help us in this fight, but at the least I feel that we have made a difference in the long run.

I find myself renewed and invigorated to keep this up regardless of the potential outcome, if only for the simple reason that we can make a positive change here and now. The next step: we do what we do. We fight. We will be appealing this decision and we feel strongly that we have ground to stand on. We are following up on every potential point and will have talked with every department that matters by tomorrow to refine our best argument. We have a shot.

Take heart and push forward fellow warriors. Fight the battles as they come. Do not allow this to run you or your spirit down. The world is run by those who show up. Have faith in your representatives. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Stick with us and together, even if we can’t win the war against Ascente, know that we have made a difference, not only in mitigating the impacts of this very development, but in the efforts to make this system work better for everyone in our beautiful county.

Results from the Planning Commission

Dear neighbors,

First, I want to announce that the board of commissioners approved the tentative map of Ascente last night 5-1. Many of you have expressed your dismay and frustration. More still have suggested that they have heard this is a “done deal”. We need to remember that this is the BEGINNING of a LONG process and we have many roads ahead of us. We are at a disadvantage of not knowing the system as well as the developer, and have many more moving parts where unilateral decisions cannot be made. We need to stick together. With that being said, I have some personal thoughts I would like to share.

First, I am proud to stand with all of you. The show you put on last night was unbelievable. Given the outcome, I’m not sure how this comment will play for you, but the county made numerous comments that this was the most organized and we thought presentation from residents they’ve ever seen. I know that that might frustrate you more given that many of feel like you weren’t heard, but I see this a different way.

I believe we were heard. And we HAVE made a difference. I disagree with the commissioner’s assessment that they didn’t need more conditions (more on that later), but if we’re honest, they asked pointed, tough questions of the county planning staff and the developer. However, this is a spot where the system doesn’t help us. We didn’t get a chance to respond to those questions or the developer’s responses. The developer’s people are paid well to do a specific job, and they are really good at it. They were able to redirect and explain away a lot of issues.

As suggested by many, I did not feel that the commissioners were “against us” or that they were paid off. I, again, don’t agree with all their assessments, but let’s remember a few things about this process. It sounds like most of them heard this information for the first time. The only one that took the time to understand this proposal ahead of time, our representative Michael Lawson, was the only dissenting vote. This was his first meeting, and I hope the system doesn’t wear down his vigilance. For the rest of them, the point is they heard over 4 HOURS of testimony before deliberation. I was actually extremely impressed at their ability to retain information and ask good questions at the end. The problem is, with that amount of info flying at them, many of the points we have ground to stand on were lost in the shuffle, or directed away from by the developer’s spokesperson. We need to re-double our efforts at this point to make sure we re-iterate the points we feel were over looked.

Let’s please remember, this was the TENTATIVE MAP process. The ONLY thing they needed to address is if this met minimum code. We have a few points where we disagree that it does, but a vast majority of our concerns are things that need to be addressed by our elected commissioner Bob Lucey, not the appointed officials. As pointed out, this is not the end, but the beginning of a long process meant to wear us down. There are many more meetings to be had. And, as the commissioners pointed out, many more changes and conditions to be made. We cannot fade away now.

In reference to those that heard comments from certain representatives that “this is a done deal”. Remember, this is coming from the developer. They are trying to get us to give up. They are working the system. The first plan they submitted was purposefully bad. They made as many obvious mistakes as possible so they could get “community input” and respond to the low hanging fruit, that way they could bring the real “plan A” to the county and be able to say, “look at all the changes we made for the residents”. They are on to plan B right now because of us. They don’t want us to force them any further down the alphabet. They need us to quit. There is no better way to promote apathy than to skew the results of the process to instill the myth that there is no fight to be had. We may not win the war, but we can win more battles, and we can make them bloody as hell. Let’s win the battles and protect what we can protect.

I call on all of you to rededicate and to take heart in your achievements to this point. We have a lot to discuss over the next few days, and some sleep to catch up on. We will respond to everyone about next steps and where this process takes us.

Right now, I need anyone with writing and administrative talents to come forward and help us organize this monster. I personally cannot keep this pace up and that’s what they are counting on. I am also going to be out of country for a lot of the next month or two, and that’s a lot of man hours for Ken and Todd to lose in this battle.

Remember, there are more battles to win. We need the troops to rally. Stay vigilant, stay strong, stay connected. You will hear from me again before the end of the week.

P.S. As always, please direct people to the mailing list on the website… at this point it is a communication tool. It doesn’t provide a lot of information to newcomers, but it is the easiest and best way for me to keep everyone up to date on the process and to communicate as a group. I can’t stress enough how vital this is as a tool to cut down on the amount of communication work we have to do.

Planning Commission Reminder

Hello Neighbors… First off, I’ve promised to update this site a million times, and haven’t had the time. We are just finishing our final round of edits to our presentation to the county. We think you will enjoy.

This is just a reminder to make the Planning Commission meeting for the tentative map approval.

Tuesday, 6:30 @ 1001 E. 9th Street, Building A, First Floor, Reno. We need as many people to show as possible to this thing!

We are the 5th thing on the docket, so this is going to be a late night.

Remember, the tentative map process is to put out all conditions of approval, not to determine if it is appropriate use of the land. This is not the last of this process either way.