Hello everyone following this blog, and all the new people from around the county who have found this website following all of the recent publicity. I apologize for the lack of activity in this space since mid July. I have been out of town on either vacation or business for the last month, and in that time a lot has changed. Now that I am caught up, I wanted to take this time to let you know where things stand on Ascente and where things are going.
Like the rest of you, I was dismayed at the outcome of the appeal. As promised we have been working behind the scenes to formulate a legal strategy. The next logical step would be to force a judicial review. However we are coming up short on both money, and willing lawyers. The crowd funding page we put together for legal fees were in effort to get a lawyer to help with our appeal, but we ran out of time to hire one. To get someone to take the case at this point would be far more expensive than the fundraising goal that we met. Maybe more to the tune of $50,000. Even with the money, the other hurdle seems to be finding a property lawyer who is willing to take the case. Most of them make their money working for developers and the others don’t think we can win. But we are still working hard trying to find someone.
The hard truth is, we may have lost this battle 8 years ago when the zoning was changed. The Forest Area Plan that we have quoted so often in our defense, is the very same document that gave these developers the ability to so dramatically increase their density in the first place. The powers that be played the long game and slipped that in under the rug. This is why it is so critical to have an active, participating community. Had we been as involved on the development of the FAP as we are now, we could have avoided all of the urban sprawl development we are now having to fight. It is with that sentiment, however, that we look to the future.
The Future of Washoe Residents for Appropriate Planning
I’m sure you have noticed some changes to this website, most notably the name. I am proud to announce the launch of WRAP, or Washoe Residents for Appropriate Planning. It dawned on us during this process that there is nobody in this government looking out for people like us, the health of our communities, or the welfare of our county in general. The whole machine is run by developers, their deep pockets, and the commissioners are part of that payroll. Everyone in the system from top to bottom is pro development.
Mayor Schieve and the county have been so single minded in creating growth and trying to be the next silicon valley, that they completely lost track of how to handle that growth, and even what makes our area so special. Now, smack dab in the middle of a housing crisis that they created, they are forcing through every project coming down the pipe regardless of suitability. Whether its Lemmon Valley constantly flooding, or Summerset sliding off hillsides, the county has a history of not properly managing development and rolling over residents who speak out. It is WRAP’s mission to change that. We plan to hold the commissioners, the county, and even the Mayors accountable and help guide the management of growth in a more appropriate direction.
This group and website are still under development, but feel free to peruse the pages for more information on our plans and about urban sprawl in general. With the evolution of this website, this blog will also evolve to start covering the fight against urban sprawl county wide.
A Personal Message
It is with this announcement that I introduce Steve Wolgast. Mr Wolgast is a newer member to our fight against Ascente, but he has infused fresh energy into a group that had been grinding it out for over a year. It became obvious early on that he wanted to pursue this larger cause.
As for myself, I never imagined back when I called the first community meeting about Ascente over a year ago that it would turn into a movement like this. Back then it was just to talk about this thing we didn’t know much about. I didn’t even know many people here. But so many of our neighbors stepped up to the plate. We came together as a community and we accomplished a lot. I would be remiss if I didn’t send a heartfelt thank you to Ken Allen and Todd Mihevc who were really the backbone of this entire thing. They took the reigns and did the bulk of the work. The hours they have put in are immeasurable and we all owe them a debt of gratitude.
I will be taking a step back to recharge and reconnect with my family while I contemplate what’s next. I will still be involved in the fight against Ascente, and aid in the development of WRAP, but I have faith in leaving the bulk of the work to Steve and other capable members of our group.
Thank you all deeply for the efforts and care you have put forward.