This is a letter from Kim Rhodemyre to the mayor and Reno City Council regarding Mercury in an area proposed for development. Kim is an authority on flooding and environmental issues in the area and leads the Upper Southeast Communities Coalition.
Dear Mayor Schieve and Reno City Council members,
On June 6th Randy Walter representing Bella Vista Ranch Phase II appeared before the Planning Commission to request on behalf of the applicant an amendment to the already approved Bella Vista Ranch Phase II. They wanted to add 20 more houses to their project. After reading through the handbook the Upper South East Communities Coalition has some significant concerns that we raised at this meeting but are now additionally concerned that the applicant is just going to start his project without the 20 additional homes because of the significant issues we raised at that meeting would cost them money.
This project was originally approved in 2013, but ALL of the significant and critical flood modeling was done way before that. On page 13, section 2, c.2 of the PUD, the modeling is so outdated that it might as well have been written on a stone tablet.
The Army Corps of Engineers approved the 404 permit in 2005. This was before the issue of Mercury became known. This project sits in the middle of a wetland that is flooded by Steamboat Creek on a regular basis and the applicant should be stopped from doing any grading or begin any movement of earth until a comprehensive grid test is done of the entire property. There has been NO testing for mercury in the project site. The safety of the surrounding residents and the future residents, depend on testing.
Additionally the Flood Control Master Plan and the flood storage plan are from 2006! The CLOMR is from 2007 and the LOMR from 2008. These are at least 10 years out of date! The entire area has changed and there is significantly more development and the Southeast Connector was not factored into the modeling. The flood storage basin in this project is so small it is a joke and is a danger to surrounding residents. We don’t have to tell you that flood modeling has significantly changed since 2006 and this project is a danger to not only the future residents but all the surrounding communities as well.
Recently the Daybreak Master Plan was denied by City Council for not being able to make a number of the findings. One item addressed at that time, and was significant, was that FEMA wants a remap of the entire east side of the valley and Jay Aldean, Executive Director of the Truckee River Flood Management Authority has already informed Council that all current flood elevation maps are at minimum 1 foot off- and that puts water in their project. He also stated that the remap will put a significant number of south Reno residents into the flood plain.
The Coalition is urging Council to get involved in this issue and require the applicant to update modeling and test for mercury before any permits are issued. The applicant went before Planning in June for 20 additional houses. They might just think that 20 houses are not worth going to City Council and will continue on as is with their approved PUD. Reports are that they are staging at the old gun club already.
We are asking you, for the safety of the entire area, to get involved and don’t let this project move forward without additional testing and modeling. If you allow this project to continue without these critical avenues followed and resolved, you could be criminally liable.
I would appreciate a response.
Kimberly Rhodemyre, Chair
Upper South East Communities Coalition