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
FYI, the public comment about fire services for the proposed Meridian South Villages project in the City portion of Verdi is a bit misleading.
There is a volunteer station (#401, previously #351) in Verdi but the reliability and speed of volunteer responses there has not been good for several years. They are unlikely to be first to arrive for any structure or wildfire.
For structure or wildfires in both the City and County portions of Verdi (you need a map to determine how much of each), TM#40 Mogul with a crew of 4 would be first to respond as the ‘closest unit’ under the automatic aid agreement (TMFPD and Reno). From memory (I am out of the country) this station has the newest structure engine and the newest water tender and is the only TM station routinely staffed with a crew of 4, including one or more paramedics on each shift.
For a structure or wildfire fire in the CITY portions of Verdi, RFD would also respond their Station #11 Mae Anne, about 1.5 miles east of TM#40, along with other units from downtown.
For a structure or wildfire in the COUNTY portions of Verdi RFD is NOT obligated to send any units on automatic aid, but would respond, if REQUESTED, on mutual aid. That is the glaring deficiency in the automatic aid agreement, as it only requires the ‘closest unit’ [singular] to respond.
Historically, the District has provided more automatic aid to the City than the City does to TMFPD.
As most of Verdi is without a municipal water system (fire hydrants), TM#40’s response includes a water tender, critical for combatting structure fires. RFD has no water tenders.
The City Council is on record saying that even if a developer would offer to build and equip a fire station in Verdi, the City could not afford to staff it.
The City’s recently reported award of a SAFER grant from FEMA (8 firefighters’ partial compensation payments for 3 years) would not change that, as the City has lost at least 9 firefighters since 1.1.2019 to retirement or other reasons and have hired no replacements, so they lack the manpower to staff RFD#19 Somerset (closest City station to Verdi but not closer than TM#40) with a union required crew of 4 for fire responses.
When considering Meridian in its entirety, demand for TM#40 to service these residences will increase, making the disparity even greater. And given the remoteness of TM#40 from other TM stations, when TM#40 is engaged on a call in the City portion of Verdi, there is no other close by TM units should a second call come in.
A change in the automatic aid agreement to require the ‘two closest units’ to respond on automatic aid would largely solve this problem, but RFD’s IAFF 731 union would object and they control the City Council.
Hope this helps.
On Fri, Oct 4, 2019 at 10:41 AM Washoe Residents for Appropriate Planning wrote:
> > > > > > * Steve Wolgast posted: “The Reno Planning Commission voted 4-2 to > continue (postpone) consideration of this phase of the project as requested > by the developer. Planning commissioners Velto, Johnson, Taylor, and > Olivas approved while Hawkins and Marshall voted against. Presumab” >
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