(Brekhus, Duerr and Schieve voted “no”. Reese, Delgado, Jardon, and Weber voted “yes”)
Neighbors packed the council chamber only to hear that there was an embarrassing debacle with the agenda. The printed (and online) agenda indicated that items would be taken in order starting at 10:00 AM. But, some council members had concluded that it would be more sensible to address item C.3, Daybreak, at a “time certain” of 2:00 PM or later. The 2:00 PM time was shared with some of the neighbors, but not with all of the council members or the applicant (Newport-Pacific Land Co). There was no good way to resolve this problem since some would be coming earlier to address this item and some would come later. The council voted to follow the printed agenda. Fortunately, it took till roughly 2:00 PM to get to the Daybreak decision following the printed agenda.
Public comment garnered 226 online “opposed” notes, 87 “support” notes, and 5 “concerned” notes. The “support” notes almost surely came from developers, builders, and realtors with a financial stake in the outcome. Speakers made the following points.
- The Daybreak development is a give-away to the speculators since the taxpayers will pay the costs for the infrastructure to support the development.
- The speculators presentations are “gas lighting” meant to deceive and sow doubt about the truth.
- Mayor Schieve’s initiative for 1,000 homes close to the city center makes much more sense than building Daybreak in a flood zone.
- The city should clean-out the “zombie” plans which were approved before the downturn of 2008 and are no longer compliant with the current master plan.
- Daybreak will cause downstream flooding of neighbors to the North.
- The schools are currently strained and face a teacher shortage.
- We need healthy urban planning in Reno.
- The NPLC study for Mercury in the soil is wholly inadequate and didn’t discover known Mercury contamination on their property that had been identified by an RTC study. RTC found levels “Not suitable for human habitation”.
- The process is flawed and sets a bad precedent for the future indicating that speculators can get special treatment by suing the city.
- The project is not ecologically sound, nor is it sustainable.
- The speculators claim that they need only meet the requirements of the old master plan, but in their complaint (suit) they did not properly reference the regional plan.
- There is no current traffic safety data. RTC has no traffic accident report for the area since 2017.
- Daybreak will be disastrous to the horses who need access to water.
- The fact that the stipulation agreement does not allow the city to make conditions on the project is grounds in itself to deny the project.
- Retention ponds in the Double-R neighborhood have been full for years due in part to the high water table. Mitigation won’t work even with 1.25 X volume reduction. The speculators only considered the most favorable flooding scenarios.
- Reno has no enforcement of drainage feature construction or maintenance.
- Engineering reports asserted that airport wouldn’t flood, that the bridge over the Truckee was high enough, but these and many other engineering reports were proven wrong.
- The speculators did not adequately consider the flood risk from Steamboat Creek which is more prone to flooding than the Truckee River.
- Some of the new homes will be built on 4 foot lot lines. Such close proximity will likely lead to conflict between neighbors.
- The Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Authority (TMRPA) indicates more than 20 years worth of approved lots and fewer people moving to the South-Reno area every year.
Council members’ discussion:
- The speculators claim that the city made “illegal exactions” from them, yet they voluntarily make much greater concessions. This does not indicate good faith.
- What will happen to residents in Heron’s Landing if Daybreak is raised?
- The speculators claimed to claimed to meet all the goals of the Re-Imagine Reno master plan, but this is not true.
- We need the most current flood map before considering the plan.
- The Mercury testing seems superficial.
- “It’s a false narrative that we have to approve anything at any time just because we’re in a housing pinch.”
- This will not be housing that is affordable. It is not what the master plan specifies.
- When will the new FEMA floodplain map be available? Arlo Stockman (Reno Planning Manger): the development design will need to conform to the new floodplain map when it’s available. [This will be reviewed behind closed doors between the developer and the Reno staffer.]
- What gives us confidence that the plan will faithfully adapt to the new flood map when the city can’t get involved? Stockham is confident that the changes can be implemented.
- He’s impressed by the speculators’ experts. We accept risk in everything we do.
- If a new independent review should be required, it should not be performed by someone with ties to the local community.
- The FEMA flood study won’t be released for 1-3 years.
- There is a high-hazard, earthen dam storing effluent on the property. It is on a fault and could flood many neighbors.
- There are too many unknowns.
- “I am concerned about existing residents. Nothing has been done to protect them.”
- The traffic report is not complete.
- She can’t make many of the required findings.
- Does this plan comply with the Re-Imagine Reno plan? Durling “It complies with that and the previous master plan.” [Implausible. If this were true, they would not need a zoning amendment.]
- The speculators want the plan considered under the new master plan that allows higher density, but not the part that discourages building in a flood plain.
- She can’t support building in a flood plain.
- He’s concerned about the traffic and the density. Michael Piney (sp?, speculators’ lawyer) offered to reduce the density again from 4230 to 3995 for a total of 15%. Piney also agreed to provide the Mercury test results in the Alexander Lake area.
- The community is more concerned about the housing shortage.
In closing …
The neighbors lost, but they had an impact. You could see it in the meeting.
- The vote was 4-3: it just barely passed. The residents raised concerns that were echoed on the dais.
- The speculators were afraid it would fail which led to the three rounds of last-minute concessions.
- The 226 comments submitted online represent only part of the public opposition including neighbors who sent e-mails and those who went to the meeting. Residents are paying attention to the new developments.
- The 87 comments received online in support of the project show that the builders, developers, and realtors were also concerned that the project would be denied.