Arrowcreek school grading tabled

In a setback to the Washoe County School District, the Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to table the appeal by the WCSD of the Board of Adjustment decision against allowing grading to proceed on the new property.  The request to allow grading was always curious since the WCSD had not yet acquired the property they wanted to grade and they admitted that the school design was only 75% complete and subject to change.  What is the rush to grade under these circumstances?

To the benefit of homeowners and parents, the commissioners asked the school district to improve their plan to reduce the traffic impact and flood hazard to the local residents.  Also mentioned, was the requirement to rigorously identify earthquake faults on the property.

The Board of County Commissioners will take up the appeal again on September 18 and hope to see improvements in the plan to address the concerns of area residents.


Arrowcreek School Grading Tabled

Arrowcreek Middle School Townhall

Arrowcreek Middle School

Save the date! 9/11 2018

I just heard yesterday: the Washoe Board of County Commissioners will hear the new Washoe County Lands Bill on September 11 (time TBD).  This bill is a travesty, and warrants the strongest possible response from the residents.  In short, it will make a deal with the Federal Government to turn over BLM land in the Truckee Meadows to Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County for development (73,000 acres).  No one supports this bill except those that will profit from it.  The cities and counties are eager for the development and for the ensuing property tax revenue.  Given the problems we have now with irresponsible development, expanding the area available for malfeasance will produce a nightmare.  Watch for the agenda with the schedule.

Summary of Road Safety Audit Conducted on Mt. Rose Highway – July 2018

Traffic Increase 2011-2017

If you regularly drive Mt. Rose Highway you have probably noticed that traffic has really increased in the last four years. It feels like accidents are a threat to your daily drive, it’s not your imagination!   The table provided in this link ( indicates the degree of traffic increase from 2014-17.

Road Safety Audit Summary

In response to public concerns regarding increasing accidents and near-misses, including a fatal accident on Mt. Rose Highway, NDOT Safety Engineering Division in coordination with NDOT Roadway Design, authorized a Road Safety Audit (RSA) to be conducted on Mount Rose Highway (SR 431) from milepost MP WA18.694 to MP WA 23.050 and SR 431 MP WA 0.00 TO MP WA 8.00. The RSA was conducted on July 17-18, 2018. Present for the audit included NDOT Engineering and Maintenance personnel, NHP, Deputy Washoe County Sheriff, Washoe County Traffic, Kimley-Horn Traffic Engineering Consultants, and two Callahan residents. A Traffic Control Evaluation Study is also underway for the Callahan-Mt. Rose Highway intersection.

The open forum began with observations regarding increasing traffic safety issues, particularly at certain intersections and road segments; and concerns regarding the projected increase in traffic due to several new developments along Mt. Rose Highway from Timberline to I-580 Freeway. NDOT completed a traffic volume count and corridor crash analysis (January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2017) and presented the results to the group. Additional discussion and information sharing included weather-related traffic and maintenance issues and the types of traffic controls being evaluated for the intersections of concern.

The team conducted afternoon, evening and early morning observations at several intersections along Mt. Rose Highway from Incline to Wedge Parkway. Topics included:

  • Current traffic operations, pedestrian and bicycle usage
  • Maintenance Issues
  • Safety Issues
  • Possible traffic calming and highway upgrades

An audit close-out session was held to summarize findings, observations, road conditions, and possible traffic safety solutions for each intersection investigated.   Salient topics covered in the Mt. Rose RSA included:

    • Road alignment and cross section: visibility, design speed, drains, passing, shoulders
    • Auxilliary lanes: tapers, shoulders, signs and markings, and turning traffic
    • Intersections: location, visibility, signing, layout, pedestrians and bicyclists, lighting
    • Interchanges: visibility, sight distance, lanes, shoulders, pedestrians and bicyclists, lighting
    • Signs and lighting: general signs issues, sign legibility, sign supports
    • Marking and delineation: general issues, centerlines, edgelines, lane lines, guideposts, reflectors, curve warning and delineation
    • Barriers and clear zones: end treatments, crash cushions, pedestrian railing, visibility of barriers and fences.
    • Parking
    • Traffic signals
    • Bridges and culverts
    • Floodways and Causeways
    • Pedestrian and bicyclist safety and older drivers

 NDOT, NHP, Washoe County traffic engineers and the traffic consultants created a attached the summary matrix of the issues and recommendations for each segment and intersection of concern on Mt. Rose Highway. This document is too lengthy to include in this post; however the final RSA Report is anticipated to be complete in September and will be summarized in a subsequent post. Final recommendations and priorities for highway improvements will be considered by NDOT. Construction costs and schedules are outside the scope of this RSA and will be completed separately.

Where are we headed?

If you’re worried about the pace of development and the effect on our daily lives, you have good company.  The TMRPA board met yesterday at a restaurant and candidly discussed issues of concern.  The purpose was to inform a consulting company that will work on a plan proposal for the region.  The issues and situation will mostly seem familiar.

  • We are at our limit for sewer capacity.  We have neither the pipes nor the treatment facilities to support expansion.
  • Our roads are in rough shape.  We don’t have the funds to pay for infrastructure improvements.  Developer’s “impact fees” only cover a fraction of the cost.
  • Growth proponents want to see a major expansion in the North Valleys, but persistent flooding and road conditions must be addressed first.
  • Growth proponents accept that development will impact the lives of residents in the unincorporated county negatively.

It was pointed out that there are already plans for 70,000 dwelling units approved (but not built) when only 42,000 are needed by 2038.  We have approved the building of more new homes than will be needed for the next 20 years!

The “elephant in the room” which was referred to, but not discussed is the giant Stonegate development recently approved by the City of Reno.  It is a small city of 5,000 homes north of Peavine Mountain and south of Cold Springs.  The likely problems associated with this are staggering.

Detailed Notes

Arrowcreek School Townhall

Here’s a summary of what was covered and what the concerns were.  It was a standing-room only crowd in the Hunsberger School auditorium.

Bill Dunkelberger (Forest Service) spoke first about the Forest Service and the Educational Land Grant Award program.  He spoke about the process and the site.

  • The Forest Service sees the 93 acre lot as not in “forest character” since it is surrounded by private property in a suburban environment.  It is the kind of property they would want to get rid of.
  • The comment period is open until August 31.
  • Before a final decision to grant the property, the Forest Service will consider public comments, take another look at the environmental assessment, and then decide whether to approve the transfer of the property or not.
  • The Forest Service reserves the right to retract the property if it is not used for the intended purpose.
  • There is only one school in the current plan: there is no plan for a Pre-k or vocational school.

Traci Davis (WCSD Superintendent) introduced information about the school district.

  • The District presently spends $20M on repairs and maintenance.
  • The District serves 65k students.
  • The WC-1 legislation authorizes the building of 3 new schools.

Adam Searcy spoke representing the capital projects department for the District.

  • The Arrowcreek school is specified in the WC-1 legislation.
  • Using the land provided by the Forest Service greatly reduces the cost of the school.
  • The District will go “above and beyond” in an effort to be a good neighbor.
  • The design is 75% done, with special attention to traffic and drainage characteristics.
  • Flood risk will be addressed with a system of french drains and catch basins to reduce the runoff that is normally seen on that lot.
  • Traffic will be addressed with a 2900′ private road 40′ wide which will allow parallel parking on both sides.  There will be 300 parking spaces where as Depaoli only has 186.
  • There will be a separate bus loop to pick-up and drop-off.
  • For large events, the Hunsberger parking lots will be available.
  • There will be elevated pedestrian bridges for students to cross the private road.
  • In regards to landscaping, 40% of the property will not be graded but left to natural vegetation.  They will plant 500 new trees and 2500 native shrubs so that the school will barely be visible from the street.
  • The goal is to open the school to 1400 students in August 2020.

The sentiment of most attendees was that the school was needed and there was some impatience that it had taken so long to get a new school to address the elementary school overcrowding and the long trip to Pine School.  One resident asserted that the concerns expressed about the school were a disingenuous tactic to delay the build to keep the neighborhood unchanged.

Questions and concerns expressed by attendees.

  1. Will the Arrowcreek Road be widened to handle the extra school traffic?  The answer is that this is not part of the plan.
  2. What steps are being taken to provide security at the school?  The answer is that the school will be built to the latest design standards regarding security with a perimeter fence and a single point of entry.
  3. How will the three schools on Arrowcreek be evacuated in case of fire?  There was a fire 4 years ago and the roads were jammed.  The answer is that the school will be built to incorporate extra fire-safety features so that shelter-in-place may be possible.
  4. There is concern that the lot has earthquake faults close to the school.  The school will be built on sediment and fill and may be susceptible to damage.
  5. If there is only the one road with an entrance on Thomas Creek and an entrance on Crossbow, how can parents come to pick up students in an emergency?
  6. The Washoe County Planning Commission turned down the request to allow grading before the school plan is approved.  The District will appeal this decision to the Board of County Commissioners on August 28.
  7. Flooding downhill below Thomas Creek is a problem.  The area was flooded 4 years ago.  What if a detention pond fails in a bad storm?  It poses a terrible risk to downhill homeowners.
  8. Are there plans to improve Thomas Creek for the expected bicycle and pedestrian traffic expected to and from the new school?

The traffic, hydrology, and school design principals were present.  There were one or two references to the county planning staff that they could be trusted to resolve problems.  This was viewed with some skepticism.

Commissioner Bob Lucey was not seen at this event.  Steve Wolgast is a candidate for the Washoe County Commission.


Oppose Autumn Wood II: Send Letters to the County Commissioners

Guest post by Whitney Freeman, concerned Washoe Resident

Hello Neighbors!  Below is a link to suggested content for a “fill in the blanks” letter that you can copy and paste into an email to send to each of the Board of County Commissioners (contact information attached as photo). We need as many of these as possible sent to the County Commissioners prior to the meeting (which is still TBD) at which they will either approve or deny the appeal by D.R. Horton. If you would like a hard copy (which has bolded/highlighted content) and/or would like to obtain more for neighbors and friends to submit please direct message me with your email address. If you do not wish to email the County Commissioners directly you can scan and e-mail it back to me (obtained by direct message) or drop off your letter(s) at Mountain View Montessori and the school will send them to the County Commissioners. The first round of signed letters were sent last night. This week the school is open 9 am -3 pm M-Th. Next week we start our staff training and will be open 8am – 5pm. Thank you all very much for your interest and support in this critical matter! If you have been following my other posts on this issue you know this is important for our entire county, not just neighbors near the parcels. Best, Whitney

Request to Uphold

Please use the email addresses below.  You will have to “cut and paste” the addresses.  Telephone numbers are included in the table below.

Marsha Berkbigler:

Bob Lucey:

Kitty Jung:

Vaugn Hartung:

Jeanne Herman:

Washoe Board of County Commissioners


There’s no big, new story this week, but there are still things to report.


Moratorium Sign 8/2/18

The property owner was told by the county that there was a complaint about the “Washoe County Development is Out Of Control!  Time for a Moratorium?” sign facing Mount Rose Highway at Thomas Creek Rd.  No ordinance was cited and no citation was issued indicating the infraction.  So far, efforts to find the justification for the complaint have been unsuccessful.  There will be more follow-up, but the motivation might be political.  We have taken the sign down.  It will likely be restored at a later date; maybe with a new message.


Northern Nevada Water Planning Commission Meeting 8/1/18

This meeting reviewed the “consensus plan” for area population growth and the expected annual water availability report.  The region’s population is expected to grow from 452,000 (2017) to 559,000 in 2036.  RWMP reported that 190,000 acre-feet of water could be sustainable consumed from existing sources.  They estimate that 100,000 acre-feet of water is needed for the expected population of 559,000.  Concern was expressed that drier weather, shorter snow seasons, and increased evaporation from Lake Tahoe will adversely affect the water availability.  There was also concern that the 190,000 af number might include water that was not available or not potable.  The reports were accepted.


Zolezzi Property Development (Autumn Wood II) 7/30/18

Residents met to learn about the Autumn Wood I and Autumn Wood II developments on Zolezzi Lane next to the Montessori School.  The plan was unanimously denied by the Planning Commission for non-compliance with the area plan.  There was substantial concern over flooding and traffic as well.  The developer plans to appeal, and the neighbors need to prepare.  The developers can expect a more favorable hearing from the County Commission.


Echevaria Ranch; Joint Meeting 7/30/18

The Echevaria Ranch property is near the Stonegate project at the foot of Peavine Mountain. The property is part of the Reno-Stead Corridor Joint Plan. Like Stonegate, it is a huge project which represents a radical extension of the city into the unincorporated county.  There is room for 67 homes based on the current rural zoning on the 559 acres.  The request for re-zoning consistent with the Re-Imagine Reno plan would allow for 3,000 homes.  Residents expressed concern about emergency services, traffic, and school overcrowding.  There were two proposals being covered.  First was a proposal to remove this property from the joint plan and cede it to the City of Reno’s jurisdiction.  This was approved releasing Washoe County’s interest in the property.  The second proposal was to approve re-zoning the property for urban-scale densities.  This proposal was denied.  It will be brought up again when there is a development plan to consider.


Reno City Council on Stonegate  7/25/18

City Councilwoman Brekhus inveighed against the earlier Stonegate approval.  She pointed out inconsistencies in the plans to build, staff, and operate the fire stations needed to protect the new development.