Reno Gateway Business Park Approved

The Reno Planning Commission approved the special use permit for the Reno Gateway Business Park in Mogul on October 16, 2019.  (voting for; Gower, Johnson, Velto; voting against; Hawkins, Marshall; Taylor recused herself).    [AGENDA     VIDEO ]

(Verdi Area Development)

The developer made the following presentation:


They claimed to have made the following changes to accommodate the neighbors.

  • Eliminated the largest warehouse buildings in favor of smaller buildings.
  • Reduced the number of truck docks.
  • Changed the orientation of the truck docks to reduce noise and light glare.
  • Plan for more “box trucks” rather than “semi-trucks”.
  • Reduced the total building area.
  • Added a lot for boat and RV storage.
  • Freeway ramps have been improved for acceleration and merging.

They claim that they have reduced the traffic levels to the point that they are not required to do a Traffic Impact Analysis.  They are consulting with Paul Soleagui on traffic issues.  He is known for traffic studies that support developers.

The staff gave a brief summary saying that they recommend approval of the project with these changes.  Neighbors consider the staff suspect; especially with Angela Foos as the new manager.  She recently came from Lumos.

Reno Staff report: Staff-Report_101619

The public comment lasted 1:20.  Area residents raised the following concerns.

  • Commute-time traffic is already severe.
  • There is only one way in and one way out: any increase in traffic is a problem.
  • The traffic study commissioned by the developer did not include the freeway ramps.  The west-bound on-ramp is particularly dangerous.  NDOT agrees that this ramp is problematic, but it can’t be widened due to the nearby overpass.
  • There should be an independent traffic study not financed by the developer.
  • Emergency evacuation would be more problematic with more traffic.
  • Increased air pollution from the increased truck and automobile traffic.
  • Early morning truck noise will be a problem.
  • The bend in the tracks makes it a dangerous railroad crossing.
  • Visitors cross the tracks for recreation to access the river and to access the Toiyabe National Forest on the other side.
  • The staff report does not address issues faced by residents on the south side of the property.
  • The Tahoe/Pyramid bike path will be affected by the truck traffic.
  • Who will enforce the traffic conditions agreed to by the developer?
  • Reno will decide about development, but the residents can’t vote for the city council since they are in unincorporated Washoe County.

The Scenic Nevada group wrote a letter opposing the large, illuminated sign for the industrial park.  They suggest an inconspicuous road sign.

Planning commissioners made the following points during their discussion.

Marshall asked about the safety issues related to the west-bound on-ramp.  Oswald (planner) pointed out that Mogul Rd will need to be brought up to city standards including sidewalks.  The developer has asked for a waiver on these improvements.  If NDOT mandates improvements to the ramps, the developer would be required to implement them.  Improvements would need to be made to NDOT’s satisfaction before permits for construction would be issued.  Richard Oujevolk (goes as “OJ”) represented NDOT.  He said this was an old interchange that was an obsolete design.  The traffic on that section of I-80 is relatively light.  Most ramps in Nevada will not permit a loaded truck to reach 65 mph in the length of the merge.  This ramp will probably result in trucks merging at 35-50 mph.  The developer will need to provide NDOT with a “merge analysis” when they seek approval.

Velto asked about how trucks are considered compared to cars.  OJ said that a truck is considered as two cars.  He went on to state that there had only been 6 accidents on that stretch of highway in the three years 2015-2017 and that none of them we related to merging.

Marshall asked the developer if they could just give up the semi-trucks and make the loading bays for box trucks.  The developer responded that the warehouses are not large enough to be efficient for a lot of semi-truck traffic.  He claimed they cannot control when a semi-truck will be used and will not accept a prohibition of semi-trucks as a condition.

Johnson asked what fraction of the estimated 640 additional vehicle trips would be passenger cars as opposed to freight trucks.  The developer didn’t know the answer, but said that they expect that only 15% of the traffic leaving the site would use the problematic west-bound ramp.  They expect most of the vehicles to the site to be passenger cars and light trucks (pick ups).

Gower asked how this plan would compare to other kinds of development in terms of the additional traffic.  The developer replied that the traffic load would be like a neighborhood of 60-65 homes.  He further asked about how this property was being handled as incorporated county but in the Reno’s Sphere of Influence (SOI).  Angela Fuss (Reno Planning Manager) replied that the city determined that this property was within their SOI even though there is not a basis for the city to annex it at this time.  Within the SOI, the city asserts planning and zoning jurisdiction.

Marshall wants to find out about the city’s action given that the property may never be a candidate for annexation.

Johnson asked about the scale of the project and the height of the buildings.  The answer was 24-30 feet.  Johnson went on to ask about drainage and retention of run off.  The answer is that it is mostly detention basins which only slow the flow back to the river.  The plan is to implement several measures to improve the water quality before it runs into the Truckee.

Gower asked whether NDOT had specific requirements for this area since it is identified as a point of interest.  OJ replied that the markers are put up by the Nevada Historical Society.  They got a permit from NDOT to put up the markers.  It’s not an NDOT issue.

Marshall received a letter from Scenic Nevada requesting that the sign height be reduced to 20 ft.  He asked the developer if this was a change they could accept.  The developer said that the sign had to be tall since the site is lower than the roadway.  He is prepared to meet with the representative to find an accommodation.  Marshall further asked if there could be a condition limiting the amount of semi-truck traffic.  This is difficult since transportation companies use a variety of trucks.  Oswald suggests a condition that permits “incidental” semi-truck traffic.  He acknowledges that this will be difficult to enforce.  Marshall suggested eliminating the truck bays suitable for semi-trucks.  Marshall is not comfortable with the city making planning decisions on a property that may never be annexed by the city.  The decisions the Reno Planning Commission will make will effect the county residents.  He is also concerned by the industrial development of a property that is used for recreation; especially by bicyclists.  Truck traffic will be a particular problem given that these roads lack shoulders.  He rides there.

Gower shares Marshall’s concern about Reno’s jurisdiction over this project.  He rides his bike in the area.

Hawkins has a problem with findings A (Land use compatibility), C (adequate infrastructure), and D (traffic impacts).

Johnson thinks Reno may be better to assess this plan since they have experience with the residential adjacency.  This is an isolated parcel between the railway and the highway.  He struggles with the findings.  He is most concerned about the traffic impacts with the larger trucks.

Note: the nearby residents have filed an appeal with the Reno City Council that will be heard December 4.




Ascenté Revisited


After working SO hard to garner an approved Tentative Map, the owners of the Ascenté property, Symbio LLC, have put the project up for sale.   It would appear that the big builders including Toll Brothers aren’t interested, so the project is on the market, listed with Dickson Commercial Properties. The three “Villages”, Sierra, Tioga and Whitney are listed as separate properties.   Their website ( advertises the following:

Dickson Commercial Group is pleased to release the following for-sale offering of Ascenté, a 225 lot luxury single-family residential development in Washoe County, Nevada. Ascenté may be purchased by individual Village or in one bulk purchase by pre-qualified developers, builders, and/or investors at the following prices:

Sierra Village     $4,200,000 ($62,687 per lot)

Tioga Village      $5,350,000 ($90,678 per lot)

Donner Village   $7,950,000 ($96,951 per lot)

Whitney             $2,550,000 ($150,000 per lot)

TOTAL                 $20,050,000 ($90,089 per lot)

Symbio LLC purchased Ascenté property for $7.2 million, thus a tidy profit if all four villages are sold.

Included in Ascenté purchase:

  • Approved Washoe County Tentative Map
  • Water rights and TMWA Area 15 “Facility Fee Credits” available from Seller
  • Preliminary engineering plans for the construction of backbone improvements
  • Cost estimates to develop finished lots (backbone infrastructure thru in-tract improvements)
  • Site geotechnical investigation report suitable for final map application
  • Design Guidelines


Symbio has spiffed up the property entrance via Brushwood we can assume to suggest that this is an approved access, which it is not.   Serious buyers might look at the property at this entrance and at Shawna and Patti Lanes, with the nice new grading and gravel and have a favorable impression of overall site access. The neighbors who fought to prevent the tentative map approval of Shawna and Fawn Lanes as the access points for Ascenté will remember that the traffic study was bogus and that all construction traffic must use only these two entrances to the property.


  • How does selling the villages as separate units affect development and installation of supporting infrastructure, including access, road upgrades, sewer, water and power?
  • How will the Whitney Village be accessed if sold separately?   Which “buyer” will be responsible for allowing the access roads from the Tioga and Whitney Villages to be constructed?
  • How does the deconstruction of the Tentative Map components affect how the blasting, hauling and grading process?   For instance, we might assume that the Sierra Village will be sold first because it has the easiest access, through Fawn Lane.   Once this Village is built out, how will the new residents feel about the blasting and hauling of dozens of heavy-duty earth moving equipment through their Village on a daily basis for the years it will take to construct the access road and creating the Tioga Village up on the Steamboat Hill immediately south?   Will the new owners/builders of the Sierra Village mandate that every home buyer sign an agreement to allow this activity? Would the Sierra Village owners even care?   How does this work exactly?
  • Most importantly, how will the sale of these four Villages affect the status of completion for the 134 Conditions placed on the Tentative Map approval ( The advertisement blithely boasts of a completed site geotechnical investigation “suitable for final map application”.   Italics mine.   I beg to differ.   Have the County Planners already seen a geotechnical investigation report (which would be prepared by Lumos Associates)?   If so, have they actually approved it? And with what sort of peer review process? We know that the County Planning Department does NOT have a registered geotechnical engineer on staff, nor have they procured the services of an independent consultant to do so. I made a technically-detailed case for oversight of the Lumos geotechnical work in a letter to Trevor Lloyd and Dwayne Smith at the Planning Department (LINK:   I never received a response.
  • Of the 134 conditions, the most concerning for the health, safety and environment of the Callahan/Fawn Lane residents, as contained in our Appeal from June 2017 ( include but are not limited to: consistency with the Forest Area Plan, traffic management (invalid traffic study), stormwater runoff management, water supply, fire protection, sewage treatment capacity as the County Planners and commissioners neglected to include the cumulative impacts of other approved development in the Mt. Rose Corridor.

Should these four Villages actually be sold to four different buyers, how will the County manage final build-out approvals with each entity separately applying for various construction permits based on ONLY ONE tentative map?   It is extremely likely that some of the tentative map components such as infrastructure layout and traffic control must change to accommodate each parcel.   As an example, what if a buyer only wanted to purchase the high-end Whitney Village and needed to build out the access roads across the as-yet unpurchased Sierra, Tioga and Whitney Villages?   Would that buyer have to procure rights to build the access roads across the other properties, thereby taking on an extra expense?   How would the infrastructure installation (which must be provided by Washoe County) be managed in this case? Should the Tentative Map not be re-written and re-submitted for each Village?   What does the NRS say about this? Is there a requirement and a process for amending tentative maps to reflect yet another subdivision of ownership and management of build-out?  How would each owner ensure that their Village has at least two access roads, should the build-out NOT proceed as described in the Tentative Map.

Will potential buyers do their due diligence and ask these same questions of Symbio, and the County Planners?

Let’s take a look at the Washoe County Development Code. (

Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) CHAPTER 278 – PLANNING AND ZONING contains definitions for “final map” and “subdivider”.   What happens when OWNERSHIP of a Tentative Map is subdivided? Who then is responsible for addressing the conditions of approval and what are subdividers’ responsibilities to the other Village Owners, to the County and to the neighboring residents?   What are the County’s responsibilities to ensure that the “character” and constructional integrity of build-outs are maintained?

I know this blog is all questions and no answers. That does NOT work to the benefit of existing residents, does it?   Let’s hope that the sign graffiti serves as a robust warning to potential buyers. This project is bogus. Symbio knew it all along, and so did the Washoe County Commissioners.

Update: A thoughtful resident just pointed out to me that, as per our appeal argument, IF the County Planners and Commissioners HAD made Ascente adhere to the Forest Area Plan, an access road would be constructed to connect from the Thomas Creek Intersection.  This also could have been extended down toward the Symphony Ranch development to alleviate the traffic congestion there.   Oh well.  Too much bother, I suppose.   Kris

Daybreak Upheld

The votes were unchanged (4-3) to affirm the approval of the zoning-map amendment that was originally approved by the city council on September 23.  This was the second reading.  No second reading was needed for the Planned Unit Development (PUD) or the development handbook that were approved earlier.  None of the votes changed: Delgado, Jardon, Reese, and Weber in favor.  Brekhus, Duerr, and Schieve were opposed.

About a dozen residents stayed from 10:00 AM until the Daybreak agenda item was considered after 4:30 PM.  Residents raised familiar issues during public comment.  There were 60 comments received by e-mail in opposition.

  • The testing for Mercury was inadequate and doesn’t describe the hazards.
  • Some Hidden Valley residents stored flood waters on their property in 1997 to the benefit of the Truckee Meadows.
  • The government is itself responsible for the lack of the affordable housing by permitting sprawl which is not cost efficient.

Fireworks …

  • One resident pointedly asked whether the council members could pull themselves away from the developers and the campaign contributions to consider this project.
  • One resident pointed out that Delgado had taken campaign contributions from the Daybreak developer.  Supporting Daybreak is a public display of bribery.
  • One resident threatened to sue the city for putting the residents in danger.

Highlights of the discussion on the dais.

Duerr: “What is the liability risk to the city if there is increased flooding due to the development?  Is there bonding to cover this?”  She raised the issue of the city losing the class action suit brought by the Lemmon Valley residents.  Shipman (city attorney) had no satisfactory answer.  Neither did Brook Oswald (city planner).

Brekhus: “What happens to the approved Butler Ranch development PUD since it is mostly incorporated into Daybreak.”  Oswald was able to show how Daybreak would supersede Butler Ranch.

Duerr: “The 1997 flood in the area caused $700M in damages and would cost over $1.2B now.  With climate change, we can expect a 20% increase in the frequency and a 20% increase in severity of floods by 2050.  We have spent $150M on the Flood Project from a combination of sources.  With Daybreak, we will not be able to meet the Army Corps of Engineers requirements for the Flood Project.”

Schieve: She asked Daybreak’s wetland hydrologist what her concerns were about the project.  Lori Carpenter was evasive.

Schieve: “I used to live in Hidden Valley and I remember flooding there.  I remember going to the neighbors in a rowboat.”

Duerr: “The Army Corps of Engineers may not consider cumulative impacts and may wrongly grant permits to projects that are subdivided.”  She said that Daybreak did not have a 404-permit at this time.

Delgado (by phone): “Do we have a policy prohibiting development in flood plains?”  The answer was “no”.  Development in flood plains is strongly discouraged.  Will the developer wait for the new flood map before construction?”  Andy Durling answered “yes”.

Brekhus: “The maintenance and cost cannot be born by the HOA.  We need to know how this will be managed.  The cost will end up being borne by the taxpayers.

Brekhus: “I am concerned about the many older PUD’s that are the starting points for the amendments.  I would encourage a provision like this ‘The first tentative map for this project must be approved in 24 months.  Following tentative map approval, the developer will have 24 months for final map approval   The second tentative map must be approved within 6 months of the first one being approved. The two tentative maps must include at least 40% of the residential units.  Failure to meet these requirements will mean the Daybreak project approval will be vacated for the balance of the units.’ ”  Stockman: “The PUD, as drafted, has a 20-year expiration date.”  Shipman: “Due to the court order, these time constraints would need to be agreed to by the developer.”

Schieve: “Would the developer agree to these conditions?”  Michael Pagni (developer’s attorney) replied “The developer is not amenable to any further changes.”

Delgado: asked about the Mercury study.  Anthony Dimple (the developer’s researcher) assured him that the study was comprehensive and that the home sites would be tested before construction commenced.  He claimed to have an NDEP-approved mitigation plan.


The Bella Vista Ranch II developer requested a continuance that was granted unanimously.  Council member Duerr made an important suggestion.  “Why not make older PUD’s conform to the current master plan?  We should have an ordinance to that effect.”  This is an important point given the number of zombie projects dating back a dozen years that were approved under older master plans or area plans.


Silver Hills Denial Overturned (10/22/19)

The Washoe County Commission overturned the denial of the Silver Hills project by the Washoe Planning Commission.  This is consistent with the commissioners’ practice of favoring developers on every proposal.  Commissioners Berkbigler, Hartung, Jung, and Lucey voted to overturn the denial while Commissioner Herman was opposed.


It was dramatic: the county chambers were filled with a standing-room only crowd.  The majority had come to support the developer (Lissner) wearing Lifestyle Homes T-shirts.  Many appeared to be construction workers.  The Silver Knolls neighbors were well represented too.

Trevor Lloyd (county planner) gave a brief synopsis of the plan and went on to detail the reasons that the staff recommended to deny the project.  He appeared rattled by the size and temperament of the audience.  He recalled that the North Valleys Citizens Advisory Board had voted to deny the project as had the Washoe Planning Commission (LINK).

Garrett Gordon (representing the developer) made a presentation refuting the findings of the Planning Commission.  Part of it was to cite obscure references permitting higher density development.  He indicated a number of new concessions by the developer, but not reducing the density.

  • Commissioner Jung asked if there were “claw-back” provisions in case the new conditions weren’t met.  Gordon explained that the developer could be held responsible by not approving the tentative map for the next phase of the development.
  • Commissioner Lucey noted that there was no traffic report included with the project binder.  The developer is offering a one-time fee of $300 per home to support firefighting services and $300 per home to support law enforcement services.  This is roughly $1.1M which will cover very little for new emergency services. 
  • Commissioner Hartung asked whether their flood mitigation would be detention or retention basins.  Gordon said “both”.  Hartung asked whether the development planned for the Stead area was considered in the traffic report.  Roger Pelham (county planner) answered that this was not considered since it is in Reno.  Hartung went on to ask what the developer will do if the Stead sewer plant (RSWRF) runs out of capacity.  There is talk of a new sewer plant in the area.

There was a solid 3 hours of public comment.  There were 31 speakers in favor of the appeal.  These were Lifestyle Homes employees, the employees of subcontractors, realtors, Lifestyle-Homes homeowners, and people who knew Peter Lissner.  They made familiar arguments.

  • The jobs will be good for the economic development of the area.
  • We need more homes that millennials can afford.
  • Lissner developments become great communities.
  • Neighbors in opposition are just narrow minded.
  • Ian Satterfield (TMFPD) spoke in support of the development.  It will provide a new fire house and it would be worse if Reno were to annex the property.

The 22 speakers in opposition also made familiar arguments that had been presented to the Planning Commission.

  • The traffic study was B.S.: it was conducted over the July 4 weekend.
  • This appeal is not a jobs bill: it is a compliance action.
  • Retired Cal Fire Director, Ken Pimlott, said they are replicating the situation in Paradise and Coffee Park that burned with fatalities in California.
  • There’s insufficient evacuation capacity now on Red Rock Road.
  • The funding promised by the developer to widen Red Rock Road is $80M short.
  • Home insurance will show higher risks and higher rates.
  • The NVCAB, the Planning Commission, and the Planning Department couldn’t make the findings.  The Board of County Commissioners must address the findings.

Sparks fly with these exchanges.

  • Gordon asked everyone in favor of the development to stand.  More than half the audience did.  The neighbors booed loudly, causing Hartung to bang his gavel and call for order.
  • One speaker insisted that Commissioner Jung should recuse herself given the interaction he had seen her have with the developer.  Jung went over to the clerk and got the speaker’s information at which point another speaker shouted “She has no right to his information!”  This disrupted the meeting and Hartung threatened to have the second speaker thrown out.
  • One neighbor asked all the supporters to stand.  They did so … reluctantly.  She then asked everyone who lived on the Red Rock Road Corridor to remain standing.  All sat.

Following public comment, Herman stated her opposition based on her promise to the Lemmon Valley residents that she would not support any more projects that imported water into the basin.

Gordon got a chance to rebut the points made during public comment and made no significant new points.

The discussion went back to the dais.

  • Lucey: “Growth is coming, we need to accept it.  This is a well thought-out project.  I was unhappy that the Planning Commission didn’t ask the questions that I had to ask.  Infrastructure always follows development.  Neighbors should be more open- minded and understanding.”
  • Berkbigler: “This is a good project.”
  • Hartung expresses concern about traffic on Red Rock Road and then waxes poetic about his many years of watching the area develop.  He says that “All residents are part of the growth.  If we deny the project, the developer could get approval from Reno and build to even higher density.”

Residents left at 7:30 in disgust.


Ethically compromised …

Reno City Council-member Oscar Delgado voted for the massive Daybreak development on September 23.  In so doing, he betrayed himself and his constituents in Ward 3.  He knew what he was doing: the problems were explored in detail before the vote.

Delgado knowingly voted against the wishes of his constituents who are concerned about how the reckless Daybreak development will undermine their quality of life.  Adding 4,000 more homes will wreak havoc on the area: major intersections there are already choked.

Delgado knowingly voted to put his constituents at increased safety risk from flooding due to the loss of flood storage in the south meadows and to the changes in Steamboat Creek.  These will increase flood levels in the UNR farms area as well as in the South Meadows neighborhoods.

Delgado knowingly voted to put his constituents at risk of increased exposure to Mercury since the contamination study done by the developers was grossly inadequate.  It was a bad joke.

Delgado’s motivation to alienate his constituents is not clear, but his recorded campaign contributions offer a clue.  He has recorded a campaign contribution of $2,500 from John Patterson of the the Newport Pacific Land Company in 2017 (Daybreak developer).  His campaign records do not include late 2018 or any of 2019, so we don’t know if there were more recent contributions.  His campaign has been mostly funded by developers, realtors, and builders. Below are the totals from the Nevada Secretary of State website for all of 2017 through August of 2018.  Note that this includes only contributions over $100 recorded since the beginning of 2017.  Earlier contributions would have been made for his previous campaign.

Developers (incl. Engineering Companies) $6,950

Builders (incl. materials & landscaping)      $4,000

Real Estate  (incl. property mgmt.)                $4,500

Lawyers (likely representing developers)    $1,750

                                                        SUBTOTAL         $17,200

Casinos/Gaming                                                   $4,000

Other Contributors                                                $764

                                                        TOTAL          $21,964

So, 78% of his recent recorded campaign contributions came from organizations with a financial stake in building and development.  This may explain his vote for Daybreak and his earlier vote for Stonegate.  Also, 19% came from casinos that tend to support all candidates.  Rumors indicate that he may not run for a third term, but rather seek a different office.  He may think that his campaign contributors are more important to him now than his constituents.  Here’s a detailed list from the NV Secretary of State records:


The Daybreak decision will get a second reading at the city council on Wednesday, October 23 (agenda).  It is agenda item F.3.1.  The meeting will start at 10:00 AM at the county chambers, but it is a long agenda and item F.3.1 is near the end.  The council may decide to take the issues out of order, so it is unpredictable when this topic will be covered.

You can express yourself to Council-member Delgado through his Reno City e-mail or on his Facebook page.

email:                                  Facebook: @oscardelgadonv


If you think he cannot be persuaded and want to express your outrage at his malfeasance, WRAP has purchased some “DUMP DELGADO” bumper stickers.  These are available with an adhesive backing or a magnetic backing.  One or two will be provided free of charge to residents who request them.  If you want a magnetic sticker, please check that it will stick to your bumper or trunk.  Many such parts are now Aluminum or plastic so that magnets won’t stick.  These are high quality stickers that will peel off cleanly with a little patience.  Please leave your name and address through the “Contact” tab at the top right of the WRAP site.

Bumper Sticker: 191014112800

Fire News 10/16/19

This is a guest post by Tom Daly reporting on yesterday’s TMFPD meeting.  Note that there will be green waste collection by TMFPD in November.  Fire news links

Highlights from today’s TMFPD Board meeting and other intel:

  1. Presiding officer – Chief Moore is on vacation so Deputy Chief Kukulas filled in to present the agenda.
  2. Ladder Truck – Under the consent agenda the Board approved Chief Moore’s request to begin the process to solicit for the acquisition of a ladder truck for the District. A ‘Request for Proposals (RFP)’ will be issued shortly to acquire a ladder truck for an amount not exceeding $300K. This will be a used ladder truck, as a new one would cost about $1.4 million. Chief Moore has identified a 2008 ‘Quint’ (combined ladder truck and engine) from a county fire department back east. The truck is well-maintained and would only need a paint job and crew training to be placed in service. If this unit is acquired look for it to go into service in Q2 2020 after training multiple crews to operate it. The tentative location would be at TM#33 Foothill as that station is one of two that has sufficient room for this unit. The ladder truck would respond to all structure fires in the District along with three engine companies and TM#33’s location is ideal, given its proximity to I-580.
  3. Promotions and recognitions – Several TMFPD personnel were promoted from EMT to Paramedic and recognition of crews assisting with the birth of a child and a successful cardiac save were acknowledged by the Board.
  4. EMS Report – The FY17-18 EMS annual report was presented by Christina Conti of the Health District. Of note, response by fire units to EMS calls is averaging about 6.5 minutes (dispatch time + turnout time+ travel time) with fire units typically arriving ahead of REMSA units, especially in the unincorporated County (TMFPD). The same report for FY18-19 will be presented in November.
  5. Fire Chief’s Report
    • Progress on the Hidden Valley station (TM#37) is stopped until the City approves a minor land swap to accommodate parking. No report on when that will occur (2nd vote).
    • Ambulance billing – in progress and should be ready by year end. This will allow TMFPD to bill patients (insurance companies and MEDICARE) when transported by TMFPD units.
    • Green Waste- Program will resume in November with collections at TM#32 Eastlake and TM#430 Silver Lake VFD (Red Rock) Friday and Saturday November 9 & 10 &15 &16.
    • Open House – Opens houses for citizens during Fire Prevention Month is scheduled for SATURDAY Oct. 19th at TM#33 Foothill, #46 Spanish Springs and #42 Cold Springs.
    • Community meeting to review the plan to consolidate TM#30 Washoe Valley and #32 Eastlake will be held on 11/4/2019 at Tamarack Junction at 6pm and a second meeting in Washoe Valley, date and time TBD.
  6. Mobile Data Computers – 26 units were authorized for purchase for engines and command vehicles in the amount of $191K.
  7. TMFPD recruiting/personnel – A recruit class will start in 2020, likely in 1Q, to fill existing and predicted vacancies with those personnel assigned by 7.1.2020. Grant funding is being sought to staff one or more fuels management crews (seasonal) and, if successful, would start in FY21.
  8. RFD News – The Reno Fire Department will begin a recruit class for twenty new firefighters next month. Twelve of those positions are being fully funded from the City’s General fund. Eight positions are being partially funded by a FEMA SAFER Grant (65% of compensation in years one and two and 35% in year three) with the balance of funding from the City’s General fund. Assuming all recruits graduate, RFD will be able to staff RFD#7 Skyline and #19 Somersett with a crew of four and be able to respond to structure and wildfires (now only a crew of two, so only able to respond to EMS calls). Those new personnel should be on duty in 1Q 2020.
  9. Dispatch – The resolution of the dispatch issue should be on an upcoming BCC agenda with a presentation by the Sheriff to take over all dispatch functions and terminate the existing dispatch/forensic services agreement on 90 days-notice to Reno.

NEXT TMFPD MEETING IS TUESDAY NOVEMBER 19th at 0900 at the County Building.


REMINDER: Former Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott will discuss wildfire considerations for suburban development on Thursday 10/17/19 at the TMCC Dandini Campus, Sierra Building Rm 108 at 7:00 PM.  This event is hosted by Silver Knolls neighbors but addresses fire concerns all over the Truckee Meadows.

Handout: Washoe-Reno Smart Growth Alliance Community Meeting Flyer_100219



Daybreak Dangers

Kim Rhodemyre of the Upper South East Communities Coalition wrote a compelling article that Daybreak is dangerous to residents in eastern Reno.  I summarized her principal points.

  • The Truckee Meadows averages a “100 year” flood about every 17 years.  We had “100 year” floods in 1986, 1997, and 2005.
  • The Vista Narrows east of Sparks is a restriction on the Truckee River that causes upstream flooding in eastern Reno.  This floods the area of UNR Farms and the Rosewood Lakes Golf Course.  This area also collects water from the North Truckee Drain in Sparks.  The Daybreak development will increase the flow capacity through the South Meadows with channel improvements so that water collected upstream (to the south) will flow to the Truckee River more quickly raising the flood level in the area flooded by the Truckee.
  • Eastern Reno is also vulnerable to flooding from Steamboat Creek which has 9 tributaries.  Steamboat Creek has a restriction at the Butler Ranch Narrows located between South Meadows and Hidden Valley near Alexander Lake.  This restriction has worsened with the new Veterans Parkway which takes up some of the space in that narrow channel.  The Daybreak homes will be built on elevated on fill on both sides of the Narrows which will reduce the opening further.  In addition, the other new homes will be built on elevated fill reducing the flood storage area available.  So, when flooding backs up at the Butler Narrows, it will not spread out as it does now, but rather rise in level and flood neighborhoods further south.  So, Daybreak will cause more flooding from Steamboat Creek in the South Meadows area.
  • The developer will put in retention basins as a mitigation strategy to offset the increased runoff from Daybreak.  This is will not be effective.  The large mitigation basin at the airport along with 4 other large basins have been full for years rendering them useless for the next storm.  The same is true for the detention basins built for the Southeast Connector.  The water table is too high for these basins to ever drain through percolation, so they have become permanent bodies of water.  We can expect the same to happen with the basins built for Daybreak.

The Daybreak development comes up for its “second reading” at the Reno City Council meeting on October 23.  You can try to contact or persuade one of the council members who voted to approve Daybreak in spite of the detailed arguments: Reese, Delgado, Jardon, Weber.  Delgado’s approval was surprising since Daybreak is in his ward and is manifestly unpopular with his constituents.  Reese is new to the city council, so his predilections are not so clear.  He is seeking his way and might respond to persuasion.

Regional Plan Update 10/10/2019

After more than 2 years of efforts, meetings, and polls, the new regional plan comes up for a vote on Thursday at the Washoe County Commission Chambers (agenda) at 2:00 PM.  It’s been a long time coming, and there is a sense that the principals just want to finish it up now.

The developers, builders, and realtors are well represented on the Regional Planning Governing Board.  Historically, the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Authority has not opposed massive new developments that are not compliant with the Reno and Washoe County master plans.

The salient points:

  1. The new plan shows the Evans Ranch, Daybreak, and Stonegate developments as “Tier-2” priority projects.  These will likely require a lot of taxpayer-funded infrastructure.
  2. The new plan does not address the issue of zombie projects that hamper any rational planning.  These are projects that were approved before the Great Recession and have not completed the final map process in over 10 years.
  3. There is no consideration for the fact that it will take time for all the new construction to be “absorbed” into the market.  It is impossible to plan for future growth when the effects of current growth are not yet clear.
  4. The new plan has a “Climate Change Scenarrative” that makes no mention of residential solar installations.  These are extremely cost effective in new construction.  The new owners can save money the first month.

Bear in mind that there are 60,000 approved, but not built, residential units in Planned Unit Developments (PUD’s) or in tentative maps.  In addition, there are 20,000 to 30,000 vacant properties that can be built on with no special zoning.  This represents 40 to 50 years worth of growth (presuming no major recession).  What is the point of a new 20-year regional plan when so much growth has already been approved?

The Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Authority was created by the state to make order when Reno and Washoe County disagreed or were working at cross purposes.  Expect the new plan to be approved easily.  Don’t expect the planning done by the city or the county to improve.

TMRPA Board Members

Washoe County:  Berkbigler, Lucey, Vaughan

Reno: Brekhus, Duerr, Reese, Weber

Sparks: Abbott, Bybee, Lawson





A Ray of Sunshine After Daybreak

The following is a guest post by Mike Lawson.  He was a Washoe County Planning Commissioner for District-2 and follows the planning commission.

“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions” is a quote first attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Various others, most notably Oliver Wendell Holmes. have also been credited with variations on this quote. Regardless of its origins, this thought was manifested by the Washoe County Planning Commission this past Tuesday (10/1) when they denied the application for a horrific tentative map for the inappropriately named “Pleasant Valley Estates”. It would seem our County Planning commissioners are an ally in the community’s continuing fight against development that does not comply with the area plans that are an integral part of the Washoe County Master Plan.

There were over a dozen concerned and informed citizens that spoke in opposition to the applicant’s plan, but none more eloquent and informed than Bill Naylor representing the Washoe Valley Alliance. Bill, and his wife Marilyn, have been long time advocates for thoughtful development, and both were instrumental in developing the South Areas Plan. Because of Bill’s intimate familiarity with the South Areas Plan he was able to make specific points regarding the applicant’s non-compliance with the plan that guided commissioner Francine Donshick in making her motion to deny. Other citizens, including Delia Greenhalgh, made compelling points regarding traffic impacts, water rights, lot sizes, emergency access, and other legitimate concerns in opposition. It was encouraging to see that while the proposed development was in Steamboat, their neighbors in Pleasant Valley and Washoe Valley took the time to testify in support of another neighborhood.

The commissioners voted unanimously to deny the application, which was encouraging. Kate Nelson, the newly appointed commissioner for the district in which the development was proposed, made a thoughtful comment about noncompliance with the grading on the project. It was good to see she had reviewed the technical merits and had concerns about them. It was however a little disconcerting that there was very little discussion among the commissioners about their thinking in advance of their vote. Beyond Ms. Nelson’s comment, only commissioner Horan observed he believed he could not make the requisite findings, but others offered nothing beyond that. None of the other commissioners revealed anything about their thought process or what specifically concerned them about the application. It would be helpful if they allowed us insight into the affect the testimony had or what deficiencies they saw in the staff report that led them to vote how they did, regardless of what that vote is. Chairman Chesney has historically been thoughtfully vocal in his views on these matters and we can only hope that as he gains more comfort in his new role as chair, he returns to providing the thoughtful insight he shared as vice chair. All-in-all the citizens and the commissioners are to be commended for participating in the process.

We must remain diligent and watch for the appeal that will almost certainly follow. We cannot afford to rest on our laurels and recent successes. We truly can and should be a government by the people and for the people despite the self-serving decisions being made by the current band of thieves we have elected to represent us (with the notable exceptions of Jeanne Herman and Jenny Brekhus)

Meridian South Villages 3 & 4 Continued

The Reno Planning Commission voted 4-2 to continue (postpone) consideration of this phase of the project as requested by the developer (Verdi Area Development).  Planning commissioners Velto, Johnson, Taylor, and Olivas approved while Hawkins and Marshall voted against.  Presumably, they wanted an opportunity to deny the project outright.  This proposal is in a state of limbo.  The Meridian 120 South project includes 6 “villages” for a total of 558 residences effectively doubling the population of Verdi.  The developer is introducing it in phases without presenting an overall plan, so it is impossible to review the total impacts on traffic, wildfire evacuation, fire protection, flooding, and other issues.  The first phase of the project (villages 1 & 2) is in litigation after the city council denied it.  The city council furthermore remanded the first phase of the project back to the planning commission with instructions to consider the total project rather than the phases individually (June 2019).  The applicant asserted that the continuance was needed to work out undefined issues with a neighbor to the south.  This lacked credibility.

Opening public comment was made by Kerry Doyle (attorney from the Lemmon Valley class-action suit) saying that she was representing The Society for the Preservation of Verdi.  She went on to say that the cumulative impacts of this huge project cannot be accurately assessed unless it is reviewed in its entirety.  She went on to urge that the requested continuance be denied since the developer is not complying with the directive of the city council.  Going forward, the planning commission should refuse to put any partial proposals on their agenda.  Her office has moved for an injunction to prevent BT South (developer) from submitting partial plans for consideration.  Until the court acts, she exhorts the planning commission to refuse to consider parts of the project individually.

There were 35 public comment requests; some written only.  Here are some of the points neighbors made.

  • Some of the apartments are too tall.  It is not compatible with the site location and scale.
  • Some of the tall buildings will put existing neighbors in the shade.
  • The top story balconies will invade the privacy of some homes.
  • Parking will be woefully inadequate in the plan.
  • Reno claimed that it could not provide emergency services.  Verdi has no fire station; not even a volunteer station.
  • Needed infrastructure should be in place before construction.
  • This is a poor plan bringing in excessive density to the detriment of the community.
  • The Garson Rd. overpass (built 1964) is already inadequate as is the on-ramp to I-80.
  • This developer has lied consistently about their plans to address flooding.
  • The federal DOT should review the plans since the I-80 ramp can flood.
  • Wildfire evacuation issues are “a recipe for death”.  The emergency exit is to the East which is most likely heading into an approaching fire.
  • One resident lost two horses in the 1996 wildfire: he was unable to evacuate them.
  • Neighbors bought homes on 1-acre lots with the reasonable expectation that zoning would be honored.
  • Area development is putting pressure on wildlife.  Deer are roaming Verdi due to the loss of their habitat.
  • The developer is making no effort to accommodate the existing neighbors.  The continuance is made under false pretenses.
  • Some of the problems with the plan previously identified by staff have not been addressed.  Issues need to be addressed now; not “figured out” later.
  • Steamboat Ditch is not identified as a drainage ditch by the Army Corps, but is intended for this use by this developer.
  • Older wells provided ample flow drilled 200′ deep.  Now wells need to be 500′ deep and provide less flow.
  • TMWA’s water line will not be complete until 2021 at the earliest.  In this regard, the tentative map does not comply with the code requirements.
  • The developer misrepresented the water plans to the city in 2016.  The developer has gone to court to force the city to approve the plan again.
  • Developer payments to the city are already overdue.
  • The traffic study is now two years old and not current.

Note that the traffic report was done by Paul Soleagui who has consistently written reports that favor the developers that employ him.  He is notorious after doing traffic studies on national holidays when there are no commuters or school traffic.

Neighbors cringed to see Angela Fuss on the dais.  After years of promoting non-compliant developments for Lumos, her new position as the manager of the planning department suggests the total capture of Reno’s planning function by the developers.

Agenda: 2019-10-03 Reno City Planning Commission – Public Agenda-1857