Reno Approves all of Meridian 120 South

On June 10, 2020, the Reno City Council approved all 6 villages that compose the Meridian 120 South development.  This property is located south of I-80 across from Boomtown and Cabellas.  The development plan currently calls for 621 homes.  The vote was 5-2 with council members Brekhus and Duerr opposed.  Council members Schieve, Delgado, Reese, Jardon, and Weber voted in favor which is no surprise given the lavish support they receive from development interests (Reno Swamp).  The meeting was not open to the public due to concerns of infection given the pandemic.  Reese made the point that there were over 40 meeting participants joining remotely.  The purpose is to review the tentative maps since the properties are already zoned for residential development.

Previously, villages 1&2 were remanded back to the Planning Commission by the city council.  Villages 5&6 were approved .  Villages 3&4 were denied by the Planning Commission.  The city council had remanded the plan for villages 1&2 back to the Planning Commission without approving or denying.  The city had then been sued by the developer.  The developer “paused” their suit with no settlement.  Reno agreed to bring the entire project before the city council and the developer dropped the suit.

Staff Report

Arlo Stockham, Reno Planning staff, introduced the staff report regarding the development.  The development was brought for approval in three separate applications for villages 1&2, villages 3&4, and villages 5&6.  The developer made a concession to rezone 8 acres that had been zoned industrial-commercial and preserve it as open space.

Heather Manzo presented the staff report (Staff-Report_061020).  She gave a little of the history of the approval process.  Following approval there should be updated traffic studies.  [That would seem to be moot.]

The staff suggested several conditions for approval which the developer would accept.

  • Rock lined detention basins for ground water recharge.
  • Set aside 17 acres for a wildlife corridor.
  • Require review of the final maps with the stakeholders (community)
  • Provide 2.9 acres for a fire station
  • Developer to request re-zoning of the industrial area to open space


Ed Kaufer (representing The Society for the Preservation of Verdi) made the following points in his appeal (Kaufer_Appeal).  He identified specific findings that could not be met for this development.

  • When the city annexed the properties the city became responsible for infrastructure and emergency services.  The city has already admitted that they are unable to meet these responsibilities (6/6/08).
  • Developing Verdi is a Tier-4 priority (lowest) in the Re-Imagine Reno master plan.
  • The findings needed to approve the development can not be met.
  • The cost of building and maintaining the fire station will not be met by fees paid by the developer.
  • Key issues of drainage and connectivity are not addressed till later phases of the construction.
  • Secondary fire access needs to be present at the time of the first final map.
  • Staff suggests that each of the three phases be considered as a standalone project.  This makes no sense: phases 1 & 2 depend on later phases for drainage, ingress/egress, fire protection, and connectivity.
  • Multiple water related findings cannot be met.
  • Village 2 has excessive density which does not meet the required findings.

Giddeon Caplovitz (representing The Society for the Preservation of Verdi) presented an appeal (McNeil-Caplovitz_Appeal) regarding emergency services.

  • Fire, Police, and EMS services will be inadequate so as to violate the necessary findings.
  • Fire response time is 11-15 minutes.  The route for a fire engine is quite hazardous.
  • The area is in the Wildland-Urban interface area.  This area has a history of wild fires.
  • Developer fees will only cover a fraction (4%) of the fire protection costs.

Dee Anne Radcliffe (representing The Society for the Preservation of Verdi) presented an appeal (Crabb_Appeal) challenging the developer’s traffic study.

  • The trip-reduction requirements from MGOD were not included in the design.
  • The developer’s traffic study conducted by Paul Soleagui was reviewed by LSC Transportation Consultants at the request of the appellants.
  • The review of the report indicated that the average daily trip calculations done by Soleagui were too low (by 16%).  Soleagui did not follow ITE methodology.
  • Heavy snow that November 2019 resulted in lower-than-average traffic.
  • Coming development at Boomtown is not included.

Radcliffe went on to present a second appeal regarding cluster development in Villages 1&2 (Kaufer-Radcliffe_Appeal).

  • The developer did not follow the SF-15 zoning mistakenly represented as SF-9 by Manzo.
  • The Planning Commission denied the plan as not compliant with the zoning.  The same plan was then approved by the Reno City Council identified as “cluster development”.
  • This development does not meet the Reno criteria for a cluster development.
  • Clustering allows for a 15% reduction in lot size: Villages 1&2 are reducing lots by 23%.
  • The existing neighborhood is 1 acre lots or larger.

Andy Durling of Wood Rogers (representing the developer) gave a presentation (Durling_Appeal) for his appeal seeking approval of villages 3&4 that had been denied by the Planning Commission.  He gave an overview of how the development addresses issues of water, fire protection, traffic, and drainage.

Council member questions

Jardon: She wants to see the pedestrian path completed in some form with the initial construction.  She also wants to see the secondary road be built along with the first construction.  It could be a temporary road, but it needs to go in early.

Brekhus: “What is the city required to do with the wildlife corridor included in the plan?  The city should not have to build or maintain it.”  She asked if it were a project of regional significance.  The answer is “no” since it is below the 625 dwelling-unit threshold.  Since it is covered by the MGOD plan, it would not require further review by TMRPA.

Duerr: “Please explain the requirements for cluster development.”  Concerned by lack of funding for a fire station.  “When will the fire station be built during development?”

Public Comment

The city council received 79 letters in opposition to the project plus 2 letters of concern.  Speakers raised the following concerns.

  • Residents are not within incorporated Reno, and so don’t vote for the city council.
  • The bike path does not meet the Reno standards.
  • The plan does not provide connectivity as required in the master plan.
  • Earlier, there was to be private funding to widen the overpass.  There is no such plan now, so how will this be funded?
  • The high density is still a problem with the design.
  • The developer’s open space designation needs to be made permanent.
  • We need a ground water mitigation plan in place.
  • Wildlife habitat on the property should be protected.
  • Drainage requirements should be specifically spelled out.
  • Taxpayers shouldn’t subsidize emergency services for new development.
  • Many important issues are deferred to “final map” which does not inspire confidence that they are being adequately addressed.
  • The city council has 30 days to decide.  The time should be used to further address concerns that have been raised.
  • There is a trust issue: previous conditions on development have not been upheld.
  • Both of the proposed secondary access routes are problematic.
  • None of the issues that were negotiated 20 years ago are being honored.
  • The bicycle/pedestrian underpass is not safe or convenient.

Council discussion

Brekhus: the underpass available to cyclists and pedestrians requires cleaning and maintenance which it would not get as a cattle crossing.  Brekhus is concerned that the developer may go back to court to get the conditions changed in their favor.  There should be a condition that if the developer seeks relief in the courts regarding this development that this approval is vacated.

Duerr: there should be a requirement to use surface water for the new development except for emergencies and a ground water mitigation plan should be included.  Some habitat mitigation should be in place before construction displaces the wildlife.  The drainage features need to be built in advance so as not to affect downstream neighbors during construction.  Villages 3&4 appear to be too close to I-80 to allow for convenient traffic and occasional storm water run off.  The roads in the development are narrow and not suitable to support traffic from 600 homes.  The fire protection plan sounds inadequate and depending on funding from the city.

Voting on Villages 1&2

  • Jardon moved to uphold the Planning Commission’s approval of Villages 1&2 with the conditions just added.
  • Brekhus does not think there is sufficient discussion of the findings or why the council is making this reversal of the earlier action.  Reno can’t provide fire service at this time.
  • Duerr needs to protect public safety.  She is concerned that water availability is not sufficient.  The secondary access road is not adequate.  She thinks the zoning is suspect.  Fire protection is her greatest concern.
  • All voted in favor except for Brekhus and Duerr (5-2).

Voting on Villages 5&6

  • Jardon moved to uphold the Planning Commission’s approval of Villages 5&6 with the conditions just added.
  • Brekhus can’t make the findings especially regarding the overpass and fire safety.
  • Duerr is concerned about the visual impact on other neighborhoods in addition to the concerns she raised regarding the previous motion.
  • All voted in favor except for Brekhus and Duerr (5-2).

Voting on Villages 3&4

  • Jardon moved to overturn the Planning Commission’s denial of Villages 3&4 with the conditions just added.
  • Brekhus thinks this area will have intensive demands on services that the city can’t support.  This area is zoned Arterial Commercial but is being used for residential.
  • Duerr it is incompatible with the surrounding land use, the traffic impacts, and the scale and intensity is excessive.
  • All voted in favor except for Brekhus and Duerr (5-2).

While some new conditions were placed on the development which will provide some benefit, this is a disappointment to the residents who feel that their community is being overwhelmed.


Regional Board Denies Daybreak Appeal

The Truckee Meadows Regional Governing Board denied an appeal by four residents in a 6-4 vote (6/11/20).  The appeal was to overturn the approval of the Daybreak project by the Regional Planning Commission in January.  The four residents made the following presentations.

The Upper Southeast Communities Coalition had a petition signed by 690 residents opposing the development.  The Board had received 32 comments in opposition and 214 comments in support.  The supporting comments presumably came primarily from construction unions.

Introduction and Traffic-Study Issues: Steve Wolgast

    1. The traffic will become unacceptable
    2. The traffic study was based on an inappropriate review
    3. The traffic study is grossly outdated
    4. The traffic study did not follow acceptable practices.


Flooding Issues: Franco Crivelli

    1. The developer plans to flood neighborhoods to the north.
    2. The developer’s mitigation plan won’t work.
    3. The flood modelling used does not show the actual flood risk.
    4. The city has a history of failing to enforce the requirements.
    5. Much of Daybreak is in the Critical Flood Zone.


Mercury Contamination: Kim Rhodemyre

    1. The Mercury testing method taking surface samples is inadequate.
    2. Areas of known Mercury contamination were not tested.
    3. The mitigation plan is not well defined and poses more risks.
    4. Arsenic contamination is not addressed at all.

(USECC – Daybreak Power Point – Mercury_SCW)

Planning Issues: Jim Lewis

    1. Reno is legally committed to support Daybreak as an outcome of the suit.
    2. There is no such thing as “suburban infill”.  It is a ruse by the developer.
    3. Affordable housing needs to be in Reno’s “core” where costs are lower.
    4. There is dangerous traffic in the South Meadows and construction is not done.
    5. Daybreak has high costs which will be reflected in their home prices.

(Daybreak Development Appeal_JL)

Andy Durling gave a presentation that anticipated the arguments the appellants would make.  It mainly addressed issues of what the regional board could consider.  It addressed none of the technical issues raised.  His tone was condescending implying the appellants were emotional and that “science matters and facts matter”.  He closed claiming that the appeal had no merit.

The appellants had 5 minutes to rebut (1:15 each).

Wolgast “Is the board ready to let Mr. Durling define their role?  As an engineer, I agree that facts matter and I notice that Mr. Durling did not address or refute any of the technical points raised.  If facts matter, then why is the developer using an arguably fraudulent traffic study?”

Crivelli “We can have no confidence that the commitments for flood storage will be met.  This project will increase off-site flooding.  The claim that Truckee flooding will stop at Mira Loma is ludicrous.”

Rhodemyre “I didn’t say NDEP didn’t know what they were doing (asserted by Durling).  I said they couldn’t answer any of my questions till the ‘404’ permit was applied for.  NDEP does not do their own testing, but relies on the developers’ paid-engineers data.  The Daybreak project has not been modeled for a 100 yr flood on Steamboat Creek.  Will their design make the flood model worse?  There is no model for the situation where the Truckee River and Steamboat Creek flood in the same period.  This will be catastrophic.”

Lewis “While Mr. Pagni (developer attorney) claimed that my statements were emotional, I clearly showed all my reference material.  It is very clear that Mr. Durling lied in his presentation.  He inappropriately used terms from “urban infill” for “suburban infill”.  This deception is kind of amazing.  Mr. Durling did not address the traffic accident data that already shows that the development in the South Meadows is excessive.  Daybreak is an effort to build urban development in suburbia.”

Commissioner Hartung made the assertion that having more housing stock would reduce housing prices overall.  Council member Brekhus countered with the truism “If everything gets approved, then nothing gets built.”  Her point is well taken.  There are 90,000 dwelling-units worth of housing stock that have been approved but not built in the region.  This is double what is likely needed for the next 20 years.

Council member Bybee asked specific questions of the developer and did not get answers.  She asked repeatedly about the housing prices and expected rents and was rewarded with “median price” and “market rate”.  The casual observer might expect her to be irritated by Mr. Durling’s obvious evasion, but she voted to uphold the approval anyway.

No board members were swayed: the votes were as expected.  Council member Duerr moved to overturn the Planning Commission approval citing numerous noncompliances with the regional code.  This was seconded by Brekhus and supported by Commissioner Herman.  It looked hopeful for a moment.  Duerr made the arguments that made it easy for others to follow her.

Reese, Weber, Hartung, Lawson, and Abbott, voted to uphold the approval.  Commissioner Berkbigler suffered a power outage during the meeting, so she did not vote.  It would not have changed the outcome in any case.

It was discouraging.  The public safety issues were clear and urgent: none were addressed.  This board is not “up to” protecting the public.  There was a sense in the meeting that the votes were decided in advance.  It appeared that the Reno Swamp may extend to Sparks.  Most of our local officials seem to work for the development interests.

Meeting Agenda  (20-06-11 RPGB Agenda Final       Meeting Video

Daybreak Appeal to Regional Board 6/11

The Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Authority (TMRPA) approved the Daybreak development on January 23, 2020.  Several residents are appealing this decision to the regional board.  Due to the pandemic, the hearing of the appeal was postponed until June 11, 2020.  It will be held at the Washoe County chambers.  Only the TMRPA staff, the appellants, and the applicants (developers) will be present.  The board members representing Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County will join remotely.  No members of the public may attend.  As of Wednesday, June 3, no time has been set for the appeal.

You will not be able to make a public comment in person, but you can submit a public comment by e-mail or by Facebook.  The TMRPA is keeping a log of public comment received on this issue, so if you’ve already sent an e-mail, it appears to be part of the record.  You may also want to express your opinion to one of the board members.  If you have not sent an e-mail expressing your opinion of the appeal, you can send it to .  By Facebook … .

See this earlier post for the argument against Daybreak.

See public comment already submitted regarding Daybreak.

TMRPA Board Members



Washoe County