This is a guest post by Mike Lawson, Washoe Planning Commissioner.
SB 327, a bill introduced by Senator Ben Kieckhefer that would have further obfuscated the planning process in Nevada, died a quiet but appropriate death in the Nevada legislature on Friday when it failed to pass out of the Assembly Committee on Government Affairs. This terrible piece of legislation was introduced as a back door attempt to allow for and justify the use of “super pads” in the tentative map phase of the planning approval process. Approval of Super pads would circumvent the existing requirement to provide specific residential design criteria and identify the infrastructure impacts associated with them so that the public can provide input.
The recent Stonegate project that incorporated “superpads”, which was quite likely approved illegally by the city of Reno, seems to have been the genesis for the proposed change to planning law, and it is no coincidence that Senator Kieckhefer introduced the legislation considering his company’s role in getting Stonegate approved. WRAP followers would be well advised to remember Senator Kieckhefer’s role in advocating and legislating for inappropriate development the next time he faces reelection. Reno Council-Member Brekhus appealed the approval of superpads from within the city council (Brekhus Superpad Appeal), but her appeal was denied.
SB 327 would have quietly sailed through the legislative process had it not been for the efforts of Steve Wolgast, Kristin Hemlein, Pam Galloway, Don Drake, and other WRAP activists to inform the residents and solicit support in opposition. One hundred thirty-seven concerned citizens are to be commended for taking the time to post comments to the legislative website in opposition compared to zero posted in favor. Additionally, several concerned citizens, including Kristin Hemlein, traveled to Carson city to testify in opposition. These combined efforts convinced the committee to let the bill die a quiet death. The voice of citizens expressed at county commissioners meetings, city council meetings, planning commission meetings, and in forums like WRAP, Nextdoor, and Facebook is making a difference. Do not be discouraged by recent set backs, rather be encouraged by the successes we achieve. Thank you for caring and acting on behalf of our neighborhoods and our broader community.
Please consider attending the WRAP meeting and mixer at the Tamarack Junction from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday June 2 to learn more about the ongoing efforts to sustain the Nevada lifestyle we are trying to preserve.