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?

NPLC Complaint against Reno seeking damages and judicial review: NPLC_Complaint_021519

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


8 thoughts on “Daybreak Strikes Back

  1. I had not heard about pipe corrosion because of high ground water in the area. Is it slab construction? Where can I find more information on this?


  2. Pingback: Take 5 to Push Back Against Daybreak! | Washoe Residents for Appropriate Planning

  3. Pingback: Daybreak Decision Delayed (9/11/19) | Washoe Residents for Appropriate Planning

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