There was little relating to development on today’s agenda at the Reno City Council (July 24). Most of the 27 speakers came to speak on item D-1 relating to enforcement actions against the homeless. That item was pulled from the agenda at the last minute.
Councilwoman Brekhus had announced that there would be a moratorium motion discussed at this meeting, but it was not on the agenda. She made this commitment following the joint Reno/Washoe County meeting on April 29 that covered flooding in Swan Lake. Speakers from the North Valleys felt betrayed.
Speakers during general public comment made the following points.
- A moratorium is long overdue: there is no plan to address the flooding, and construction continues unabated.
- Reno does not appear to have done anything to address the flood risk since the April meeting with Washoe County.
- What is Reno doing to prepare for the coming rainy season now that the flood waters have receded?
- Do repairs to the Hesco barriers mean that these are seen as a permanent fixture around Swan Lake?
- Why do we need to keep building? Is it really a benefit to the residents?
- The North Valley’s plan for development is insane. The sewer plant is already non-compliant.
- Fire and police services are not keeping up with growth in the area.
- The city should be firing people responsible for the flooding and the recovery effort including the city manager (Sabra Newby) and public works director (John Flansberg).
- The city lost the class-action suit: the city knowingly flooded the Swan Lake neighbors. How would the council redeem itself to regain the trust of all residents?
Mayor Schieve announced that there would be a special meeting dedicated to the topic of a moratorium on August 5 at 5:30PM in the city council chambers.
After the public comment, we saw the sparks fly on the dais. Councilwoman Brekhus expressed her dismay that her moratorium motion was not on the agenda after she had specifically requested it to be. She then requested that it be on the next meeting’s agenda for July 31. She made the point that “moratoriums are of the essence. They are a suspension of regulations and activity for a period of study and evaluation and planning. Since May, there have been additional hookups (Lemmon Valley) and a lot of earth-moving.” She is concerned that not only will it be detrimental to the community up there that is bearing the brunt of the un-managed growth and inadequate infrastructure, but that it will disrupt new business when the city runs out of capacity to support new additions up there. She doesn’t want to wait till the August 5 meeting to “start to queue-up the process”. She expects that implementing a moratorium will take multiple steps and that we need to start the process now. Mayor Schieve responded sharply (presumably regarding putting items on the agenda). You can see the exchange at the 1:59 time mark on the meeting video.
Note: there is now security screening with a metal detector to get into the city council chambers. It is new today and caused a big delay for attendees to the city council meeting.