The Reno City Council decided to postpone (continue) consideration of the Mortensen Ranch development until March 10, 2021. The Mortensen Ranch development had been denied by the Reno Planning Commission 12/18/19 and then the developer’s appeal was denied 1/22/20.
The developer requested a judicial review of the denial of their appeal (below). This was heard by Judge Kathleen Drakulich (the aunt of “JD” Drakulich, an area developer and a city council candidate). She ordered that the city reconsider the development based on the specific requirements of the Mortensen-Garson Overlay District (MGOD) that defines the zoning for this area. Her ruling indicates that more general concerns should not be considered in the city’s decision.
The developer marked-up their tentative map (below) to include the following changes.
- Reducing the total number of planned homes from 676 to 632 units.
- This included the removal of all 26 sites that were on the eastern ridgeline.
- Reconfiguration of the 23 lots on the southern ridgeline.
- The addition of an emergency access road to the northeast.
Not adequately addressed even with the changes are the following.
- The ridgelines are still not adequately protected as specified in the MGOD. This is especially true of the northern ridge.
- The required wildlife corridors have not been planned or reviewed by NDOW.
- The MGOD specifies where development can occur and which areas are required to be left as open space. The latest plan still has 200 homes planned in the area specified as open space.
- There is no plan to improve the traffic regarding freeway access which is already a problem.
The city clerk received 44 letters in opposition and 22 letters of concern. Voicemails were received in addition which were not described.
Councilmember Reese moved that consideration should be continued until the March 10 city council meeting. He is not comfortable considering this project when Councilmember Jardon is not present since it is in her ward. Councilmember Brekhus is opposed to the continuance since it will likely cause overly long agendas for later meetings. She is also sensitive to developer complaints that the city is not responsive and does not consider development applications in a timely manner. Mayor Schieve noted that Councilmember Jardon has not met with this developer and that this is an important step in considering the project. The vote to continue was unanimous except for Councilmember Brekhus. City Attorney, Karl Hall, indicated that there is no deadline imposed by the court for the city to reconsider the development. The e-mails and voice-mail messages received will be presented at the later meeting.