Daybreak Decision Delayed (9/11/19)

The Reno City Council voted 4-3 to delay a decision on the Daybreak development until their meeting on September 23.  This review is proceeding in an unusual way because the investors (Newport Pacific Land Co.) have already gone to court and negotiated a stipulation with the City Attorney (Karl Hall) and Council Members Delgado and Reese.  Following the denial of the project by the Reno City Council on November 28, 2018, NPLC went to the Reno Planning Commission with a proposal for a part of the Daybreak project called Rio Wrangler North II.  The Planning Commission denied this project, and NPLC went to court with a petition for judicial review and a claim for $50M in damages against Reno for the original Daybreak project.  Their claim is that the city denied them their project unfairly thereby “taking” value from their property.  The stipulation mandates that Reno must agree to the Daybreak plan with minimal changes or go to court starting on September 27.  The main point being that the city cannot add more conditions to the project to gain approval.  The court action on September 27 would be Reno’s motion to dismiss the case brought by NPLC.

Neighbors were disappointed that the city council did not affirm their previous denial of the Daybreak project, but it was understandable that the majority preferred to delay.  NPLC has made many changes to their plan and provided this information to the council members just yesterday.  They do not have a new, complete proposal, so the Reno Planning Department will need to update the existing plan with these changes.  Once the changes are incorporated, the council members will be able to review them, but this must all happen in less than 12 days.  None of the council members were satisfied with the accelerated schedule.  Voting for delaying the decision until September 23 were Reese, Delgado, Jardon, and Weber.  Voting to deny the project again were Brekhus, Schieve, and Duerr.

Karl Hall gave a presentation describing the stipulation and the “order on stipulation”.  He also covered the choices facing the city.  (Daybreak_Discussion_KHall)

Andy Durling of Wood Rogers gave a presentation describing the proposed changes.  He spoke like an auctioneer to try to cover the material in the 10 minutes allotted.  No reasoned conclusion could be drawn under these circumstances. (His presentation is not available at this time.)  He went on to make the point that the zoning amendment had already been approved for the Butler Ranch North portion and that NPLC could proceed with that and it would not get some “improvements” that are incorporated in the new plan.

Points made during public comment; (note: there were 124 comments received in opposition online.  There were four comments received online in support)

  • There is already area flooding due to blocked drainage channels that are not maintained.
  • The Daybreak development could cause flooding leaving Reno liable as they were for the Lemmon Valley flooding.
  • Earlier development projects contributed more to the community in terms of schools, fire, road improvements, etc.
  • Reno staff admits they don’t enforce requirements in the Reno Development Handbook.  We are not confident the flood mitigation features will be incorporated.
  • This process is not transparent.  It looks like “Let’s make a deal.”
  • There have been many “100-year” floods in recent history.
  • Daybreak only considered flooding on the Truckee River.  They did not consider flooding on Steamboat Creek.
  • Reno has no enforcement on previous developments that violated the master plan.
  • The council was right to deny the project earlier.  They should affirm this decision.
  • Reno should buy the Daybreak properties from the investors and set it aside for recreation and flood control.
  • The wetlands are critical for the wild horses and other wildlife.
  • NPLC is a real-estate speculation firm.  They can’t commit to what the developers will do later.
  • Only 245 homes were approved in the original Butler Ranch development.
  • Why should Reno grant NPLC an exemption from the Re-Imagine Reno master plan?  If every developer gets an exemption, the master plan is meaningless.
  • We need common sense development that does not engender these problems of flooding and traffic.

Discussion by the council members and staff;


  • The stipulation violates the Hanson Rule related to legal counsel acting on behalf of a governing body without that body’s approval of the action in a public meeting.
  • This sets a remarkably dangerous precedent: NPLC should re-apply and pay a new filing fee.  Why do they get a “do-over”?
  • This is a new application and should go through the Planning Commission.
  • Why should we let this project jump in front of others awaiting approval?
  • We should see the new tentative maps before considering approval.
  • NPLC could move forward quickly if they would comply with the existing zoning and master plan.


  • “Why not bring this back as a new project instead of requiring a new decision on a modified version?”
  • The earlier denial by the city council was based on their inability to make the “findings” required to approve the project.
  • We got a lot of new information from NPLC just yesterday.
  • I hear the lack of trust in the city’s code enforcement.


  • “Why did NPLC get to file their complaint so late?  They only had 30 days from the decision.”  Hall answered that the 30 days starts from the filing date, not the decision date.  This answer was not entirely satisfactory.
  • A lot of documents have been submitted since the development documentation binder was distributed.
  • There is no map for the current or revised development.
  • The Butler Ranch North Planned-Unit Development (PUD) approval is now 15 years old.  They have still to get a tentative map.  Is the old PUD even relevant?
  • I don’t even know what questions to ask at this time.
  • The need for an additional fire station is not addressed.
  • This project should be re-submitted as a new plan.
  • The investors claim this is an “exaction”.  This is not possible since the project was never approved.
  • The housing density is way too much.  I don’t see how this can change by 9/23.


  • Can we get answers from staff about the changes in 2 weeks?  Can staff identify red-flag issues by then?
  • Can we negotiate a later date for a decision?  An additional month to October 23 would be a better plan.


  • His goal with the stipulation was to have the negotiation be as much in public as possible.
  • The master plan only “discourages” building in flood plains: it does not prohibit them.
  • We have a critical housing shortage.  Reese wants to continue to explore the process.
  • He wants to know “What were the investors assumptions and who did they talk to?”
  • We should move forward from where we are and not start over with a new application.


  • There is not sufficient detailed information to consider approval at this point.


  • We should move forward.
  • She wants to delay a decision for an extra month.
  • We need to grow and build homes or we’re dying.


  • Today is a day to decide if we want to engage in the settlement process.
  • If the council approves the delayed decision, they may be able to negotiate a delay in the due date.

Arlo Stockham (Reno Planning Manager)

  • The planning department can review this in two weeks and identify any red-flag issues.



Reference from previous pages and posts;

Take-5 to push back against the Daybreak Development

Daybreak Strikes Back

Daybreak Denied

Daybreak Development Continued

Daybreak Redux at NAB3

Rio Wrangler North II Denied by Planning Commission


Take 5 to Push Back Against Daybreak!

USECC - Flooding Butler Ranch North looking south from Mira Loma Jan 2017B copy

The massive Daybreak development will worsen flooding along the Steamboat Creek.  It will destroy the natural flood storage capacity in the area and divert runoff downstream toward communities to the North.  It will mostly fill the area from Damonte Ranch to Hidden Valley with 4,700 homes.  The Reno City Council will consider approving the development on 9/11.  This is not just an issue for the Damonte Ranch neighbors.  Steamboat Creek flooding can close the airport and block access to Route 80.  This is a regional issue for the future of the Truckee Meadows.  AGENDA


You can e-mail one or all of the City Council Members.

You can fill out a public comment form online and pick “oppose” and “no” for speaking in person.  This will be agenda item D.1 on the 9/11/19 meeting agenda.  LINK

You can write the City Clerk, Ashley Turner, who will faithfully log your position and your comments. … or

You can make one or all of the following points.

  • This is the last “natural sponge” to absorb runoff and store flooding from Steamboat Creek.
  • This project is not compliant with current zoning or the master plan (Re-Imagine Reno).
  • Technical flood control questions from the Truckee Meadows Flood Authority have not been addressed.
  • There has been no comprehensive testing for Mercury on the property.
  • Traffic along Mira Loma near Veterans’ Parkway is already dangerously heavy.
  • There is no plan for an additional fire station which will be needed.

There will be public comment allowed on the specific Daybreak issue.  If you want to go and speak, you can speak at the beginning of the meeting during “General Public Comment” or later on the specific agenda item D.1 which is instructions to staff regarding the Daybreak ruling.

“Evil succeeds when good men people are silent.”  Make your voice heard!  Be counted as one opposed to this dangerous and destructive development.  Do it for your love of the Truckee Meadows.  Do it for yourself.

See the previous post for more detailed information on the development and the current status.  Note: I was mistaken that the court case was a petition for judicial review.  It was rather a civil case for damages brought by the developer against the city for wrongly “taking” their property by imposing unreasonable restrictions.


Daybreak Strikes Back

The massive Daybreak development will be back before the Reno City Council on September 11.  It is a disastrous project for 4,700 homes to be built on the east side of the Reno basin from South Meadows Parkway up to Mira Loma Drive.  Most worrisome is the fact that it will occupy much of the last space available to store floodwaters for the entire valley and for natural percolation into the soil in the Steamboat Creek watershed.  The developer is proposing a complex arrangement of culverts and drains to control flooding in their development.  This may prove unfortunate to neighborhoods to the North where the the runoff is headed.  The developer expressed that the effect on downstream properties was not considered.

The developer petitioned the Washoe District Court for a judicial review of the Reno City Council decision to deny the project which required changes to the Reno Master Plan (Re-imagine Reno) and to zoning.  This led City Attorney’s to negotiate with applicants and their attorney’s to try to avoid court proceedings, which was done out of the public eye and behind closed doors. The negotiated stipulation that was provided to the court and then remanded by the court on August 29 favored the developer by almost eliminating Reno’s ability to add requirements or conditions to approval of the project without Daybreak’s approval. Reno can only approve the project (it might be presented with ‘slight modifications’), or it can deny it and go to court on September 27. If Reno approves, then it will have a first reading on September 23 followed by the second reading sometime at the beginning of October. If Reno approves the project, it is further obligated to support the project before the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Authority.  Reno attorneys Karl Hall and Jonathan Shipman were parties to the stipulation agreement.  It is not known what went on during the negotiations.

There’s a fundamental issue.  Does Reno control development at all?  Daybreak is not compliant with the master plan or existing zoning.  What entitles them to a special exception for the benefit of their investors?

Note that the developer petitioned for judicial review on February 15 when the deadline for them to file would have been Christmas 2018 (probably December 26).  That was 25 days after the project was denied.  Why was the developer granted a 7 week extension?

Judicial Ruling (Stipulation by Reno and developer attorneys): USECC – 20190826 Stipulation – Daybreak

Judicial Order (enforcing Stipulation): USECC – 20190826 Order on Stipulation – Daybreak

Concerns about the Daybreak Development from the public:

  • It would develop the last “natural sponge” to absorb runoff on the Steamboat Creek.
  • The flood data the developer used was out of date and incomplete.  The developer has not addressed concerns about their analysis.
  • The ground water is only 1-4 feet below the surface in this area.
  • Newer homes nearby are suffering the corrosion of pipes due to the high ground water.
  • There are many unaddressed issues with this project.  This area is identified as a “critical flood zone”.
  • The Butler Ranch North area has been designated as critical flood storage areas by the City of Reno, Washoe County and the Army Corps of Engineers
  • The developer’s flood model does not consider the effect on neighboring properties.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers have recommended over decades in their Draft Feasibility Studies not to build on this site.
  • Re-imagine Reno indicates not to build in a flood plain.
  • Earlier tests show high Mercury contamination in areas associated with the Steamboat Creek floodplain.
  • Steamboat Creek is fed by nine tributaries all of which are subject to flooding and contributing to increase Steamboat flooding.
  • Traffic on Mira Loma between Veterans Pkwy and McCarran is already dangerously heavy.
  • RFD is concerned that there is no plan for an additional fire station

Council Member comments from November 28, 2018:

Brekhus: “Why are different flood models used in the analysis?”

Delgado: “I don’t know why this project is before us now given the number of  concerns that have not been addressed. I’m concerned that we may be making a situation like the North Valleys.”

Duerr: “It is one of the most dangerous projects in the area.  Double Diamond is in my ward and has chronic flooding problems.  A 50-year flood on the Truckee can produce a 100-year flood event on Steamboat Creek.”

Bobzien: “I’m particularly concerned about the open questions from Mr. Aldean. I can’t make the findings to move forward.”



This has been a long and tortured process for this massive development.  Here’s a summary of some of the key points to date.

NPLC BV investment company (Newport Beach) buys 980 acres for $52M in June 2017.

Daybreak reviewed by NAB-2; February 20, 2018
Daybreak “continued” (decision postponed) by Reno Planning Commission, July 11, 2018
Daybreak approved by Reno Planning Commission, July 19, 2018
[Johnson, Gower, Weiske, Griffith in favor, Hawkins, Marshall opposed]
Daybreak decision “continued” (postponed) by the Reno City Council; November 14, 2018
Daybreak Project denied by Reno City Council, November 28, 2018.  The vote was 6-1 to deny the project with only Weber opposed.
The developer tries a different approach: get the project approved in parts rather than the whole 980 acres.  The developer submitted the Rio Wrangler North II development as a stand-alone project.  It was denied by Reno Planning Commission; February 6, 2019
The developer files a petition for judicial review with the Washoe County District Court February 15, 2019.
South Meadows West and Rio Wrangler North II before NAB; March 5, 2019.  The Rio Wrangler North II review was belated since it should have been done before the Reno Planning Commission review.
Judicial ruling documented on August 26, 2019.
Reference applications: LDC18-00025, LDC18-00037