Ballardini Ranch Dev. Loses in Court

A Federal District Court judge dismissed the case brought by a developer (Evans Creek LLC of MN) and upheld Reno’s refusal to annex the 1,019 acre Ballardini Ranch property (9/14/2021).

The developer first submitted plans to develop the property near the southwest corner of McCarran Blvd in 2000. Annexation can occur by the city’s initiative within Reno’s “sphere of influence”, or it can be proposed by a developer. A property that is annexed is then the responsibility of the city to provide infrastructure and emergency services.

The developer brought a request for annexation before the Reno City Council on 5/27/2020. The annexation proposal by the developer was denied due to the following concerns.

  • It is a large area bordering the wildlands that is very fire prone. It has been burned during the Pinehaven Fires (2006, 2011) and the Caughlin Ranch fire of 2020. It is steep terrain with limited access for fire fighting.
  • It is a large property with only two roads for entry and exit. This poses a special risk for wildfire evacuation.
  • There are issues of water rights and water easements that are not resolved.
  • The developer plans are not complete. The number of homes to be built might be from 40 to 600.
  • The developer is proposing low density suburban development (5-40 acre lots). This is not a housing type that is most needed in Reno.

The developer filed suit against the city claiming that Reno had a history of annexing similar properties and that Evans Creek was being treated unfairly. Annexation is the city’s prerogative. It seems a stretch to claim that the city is legally obligated to annex a property it does not want. The judge ruled that the developer did not prove their case that they were discriminated against. It’s possible that the developer could file a similar suit in the future with better evidence. Reno has a history of submitting to most developer demands, so that such a case is plausible.

Reference: articles from ThisIsReno

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Detailed ruling and analysis by casetext.com

One thought on “Ballardini Ranch Dev. Loses in Court

  1. Good post; thanks. The developer was likely hoping to have the case assigned to a judge that wouldn’t dig into the merits of the pleadings and instead simply kick the can down the road and let the lawsuit proceed to discovery, which would cause the city to run up large legal bills while plaintiff’s contingency fee attorney wouldn’t be running up the tab. It’s refreshing to see a judge put some time into the case at this stage.

    One thing residents can keep in mind is that there is nothing stopping the developer from developing its property; it can still proceed to develop it under County guidelines (instead of the City’s). At least for now, Reno’s residents won’t be bearing the huge costs that annexation would impose.

    Like

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