The Reno City Council agreed to the developer’s request to “continue” consideration of the development to a later date. A developer is allowed two continuances under Reno code. Also, the City usually grants a first continuance when requested by the developer. When asked, the developer’s lobbyist explained that the developer wanted more time to review their plans especially regarding flood mitigation and might want to make improvements. It sounded unconvincing.
A more plausible reason for the request for a continuance is that their appeal would not get a favorable vote. The developer is requesting that the City Council overturn the Planning Commission decision to deny the project. It is patently absurd for the developer to pursue it. The property is entirely (or mostly) submerged in Swan Lake and the Spring runoff is only about to start. Swan Lake is in crisis; with untreated sewage entering the lake, and rising water levels behind deteriorating Hesco barriers (industrial sand bags) threatening adjacent neighborhoods.
The council chambers were packed with residents. Local TV crews were there from channels 2, 4, and 8. Residents inveighed against this development during general public comment for over an hour. Since the consideration was continued, there was no opportunity for item-specific public comment. One resident requested that Councilwoman Weber recuse herself since she is familiar with George Peek who is the owner of the property to be developed. A pair of priests attended and said a prayer that the City Council would benefit from divine wisdom.
Councilwoman Brekhus opposed the continuance. She made the following points.
- This project has been under consideration for 3-1/2 years. We should address it now. The city has spent too much time on it as it is.
- If the developer is going to make changes to their plan, the plan should be re-submitted to the Planning Commission with attendant fees. The City Council is not the body with the expertise to evaluate a new plan.
- How about a temporary moratorium until conditions improve? This could not be considered because it was not on the public agenda.
Mayor Schieve feels strongly that there needs to be a meeting between the City Council and the County Commission to come up with a strategy to address the flooding in Lemmon Valley. She suggests that no new development be considered until after such a meeting. The City Manager (Sabra Newby) agreed to arrange such a meeting.
The council deferred to Councilwoman Weber since the project is in her ward. She moved to approve the continuance to a set date and time. This was selected to be June 5, 2019 at 6:00 PM in the council chambers. The vote was unanimous.