The Reno Planning Commission voted unanimously to deny a request for a plan amendment (Planned Unit Development amendment) for the Bella Vista Ranch Phase II development in the Damonte Ranch area. It is at the eastern end of South Meadows Parkway. This is a 77 acre site with maximum home density of 30 dwelling units per acre for a total of 575 dwelling units as defined by the PUD. It presently includes 16 acres zoned commercial. The developer requested an amendment to eliminate the commercial area and change it to residential adding 137 more dwelling units to make 712 dwelling units. Commissioners expressed several concerns. Losing the commercial element would reduce the “walkability” and “viability” of the neighborhood. They also considered that preserving areas for commercial and industrial is a priority under the master plan. There was also concern that this change would increase peak traffic since the commercial elements would not contribute much to commute traffic. There was no detailed study to show the effects of the proposed amendment on traffic. There was concern that wild horses would not be ensured access to water. The commissioners could not “find” that the amendment would comply with various criteria that structure their decision making. This went against the recommendation for approval by the Reno planning staff.
It was refreshing to see a reasoned discussion about what would be the best plan rather than a charged exchange about how to avoid a terrible plan. It looked like the commissioners had the letter and spirit of the new Reno master plan in mind as they considered the change. Decisions they make now will likely affect residents’ lives a century from now. Now is the time to uphold high standards.
LINK: Meeting Video