Reno Planning Commission 4/20/2022

The Canyons

The The developer is requesting approval for grading for two water tanks for The Canyons and The Canyon’s Edge developments (developer presentation). The Planned Use Development zoning was approved last year. The plan has changed from a single water tank to using two tanks. There was also a presentation from Reno Planning Staff. The planning department recommended approval. There was no public comment in person or by e-mail. The motion was approved unanimously.

Gateway at Galena

The developer gave a presentation. The plan is for 361 condominiums with both integral and detached garages on 34 acres adjacent to the UNR Redfield Campus on the Mount Rose Highway at the intersection with Wedge Pkwy. The existing zoning is Mixed-Use Suburban. The Master Plan identified it as space for a possible expansion of the Redfield Campus. Their plan is for 11 units per acre which is less than the 30 units per acre typical for this zoning. The buildings will be 3 stories with the ground floor being mostly garages. The Reno Planning Staff had a presentation. The annexation request will go to the Reno City Council in May. Staff recommended approval. The motion was approved unanimously.

Meridian 120

The developer’s attorney came to the Planning Commission requesting that three conditions of approval be approved, amended, or deleted for the Meridian 120 South development. The attorney complained that residents were trying to delay work on the project with an appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court following a loss in district court. The developer is seeking changes to the tentative map approved in 2020. The attorney made a presentation . There was also a staff presentation.

The developer is asking for approval of Condition #28 to rezone 8.3 acres of industrial-commercial to open space. This zoning change will require a master-plan amendment and so will require the approval of the city council as well as the regional planning commission (TMRPA). Staff supports the zoning change and master plan amendment. The recommendation for approval passed unanimously.

The developer wanted the planning commission to drop condition #31 for emergency secondary access to I-80. This condition was applied by the city council. The developer claimed that this access was not necessary and impossible to satisfy. The condition was for the developer to explore the possibility of providing a secondary emergency access to I-80. The developer met with NDOT, and was told that connecting to I-80 was not possible. The development of the adjacent Santerra project makes secondary emergency access available in conjunction with Santerra.

  • Reno Fire Marshall (Palmer): agrees with staff that condition #31 is no longer needed. Developer proposal meets fire code using the Santerra access. Even if the total 3,000 units ($1,600 contribution for each unit) are built, it will not cover the cost of a new fire station, equipment and staffing. [Taxpayers will be subsidizing this development.]
  • The planning commission voted unanimously to recommend to the city council to drop this condition.

The developer is asking that condition #4 be amended for this project. This condition requires that the developer get the Mortensen-Garson Overlay District (MGOD) amended to increase the housing units above the 3,000-unit cap, or to negotiate with other developers working in the area to get additional units under the 3,000-unit cap. The developer wants to build triplex homes in the area zoned Arterial Commercial (AC), but this would exceed the 3,000-unit cap by 285 units. The suggested amendment would indicate that the AC-zoned parcel was exempt from the 3,000-unit cap.

The attorney claimed:

  • Other developers will not trade them units to stay under the 3,000-unit cap.
  • The MGOD cannot be amended at this time due to ongoing litigation.
  • The MGOD cap does not apply to residential units built in the area zoned Arterial Commercial. The cap was intended to apply only to areas zoned as residential. The Arterial Commercial zoning does not have a cap for residential density.
  • Zoning normally allows for up to a 10% density increase which would cover the additional 285 units based on the 3,000-unit cap.

The staff report did not support the claim that the AC-zoned parcel did not fall under the 3,000-unit cap.

Public Comment

Representatives of the Society for the Preservation of Verdi made a presentation. Speakers made the following points.

  • The developer’s argument is a smokescreen intended to exceed the MGOD limit of 3,000 units total.
  • This limit was affirmed by a recent court decision against the adjacent Stan Lucas development.
  • There is an appeal in the Meridian 120 South case before the NV Supreme Court regarding the unit cap.
  • Using the Arterial Commercial zoning for residential makes it subject to the density caps.
  • The AC zoning would only allow 100 units additional: it is not “unlimited” as claimed.
  • The MGOD overlay district takes precedence over Reno zoning.
  • Changes to the MGOD are on hold pending litigation. It might be subject to amendment after the litigation is concluded.
  • It would likely be convenient to residents to have commercial businesses on the frontage road as it is currently zoned.
  • The I-80 overpass and ramps are not to the current standard and will not support greatly expanded traffic.

Commissioner Discussion

The planning commission is making a recommendation to the city council which will have authority regarding the conditions.

  • Commissioner Johnson can’t make the findings for this level of density in this area. He certainly can’t support a proposed increase.
  • Commissioner Gower won’t support it: he does not think the “density bonus” of 10% applies to the MGOD as a whole. He thinks the 3,000 unit cap stands independent of zoning.

The motion passed 4-2 recommending the developer’s request to the city council.

Meeting Video

Booming Development 04/23/22

The development keeps the calendar full.

Sierra Reflections Development Agreement (Washoe County, Agenda), Tuesday, April 26, 2022 (first reading)

  • This is a zombie project first approved in 2008. It represents an extension of the luxury home development of St. James Village reaching into Pleasant Valley between the 580 freeway and Old 395. This is a huge development that will build 938 homes on 760 acres. It will dramatically change the character of Pleasant Valley and Steamboat Valley. This is an agreement to extend the deadline for the submission of the final map until June 2024. It’s how the county keeps zombie projects “on the books” with absurd extensions. The process indicates that the tentative map approval of 2008 should have expired in 2012. The developer should seek approval for a new plan conforming to the current requirements.

Reno/Tahoe Business Gateway news (Mogul, Washoe County), Tuesday, May 3, 2022

This detailed summary is courtesy of Carli Borchard.

“This property is now part of Washoe County, previously it was under the City of Reno Sphere of Influence. The project being proposed is also different, however, it will still produce too much traffic for the already impacted infrastructure, as well as make a major impact on this historic and scenic property. On April 7, 2022 the Washoe Board of Adjustment denied this project based on the inability to make 3 findings #1 Consistency; #2 Issuance Not Detrimental (traffic and improvements); #4 Detrimental to area/lots. The WSUP22-00006 Action Order attached has more details.

This is good news that the Special Use Permit for major grading has been unanimously denied. However, the applicant, S3 Development Co. (Blake Smith) will undoubtedly appeal the decision to the Washoe County Board of Commissioners. They have until Thursday, April 21 to file this appeal and then we will have more information regarding a hearing date.

Now – this is confusing: The courts have held that NRS 278.3195(4) only allows a petition for Judicial Review by a person who appealed a planning commission decision. To preserve the ability to file a petition for Judicial Review, the homeowners need to appeal the planning commission decision with which they agree. So, Mogul residents also plan to appeal.

The applicant is also requesting the zoning be changed to industrial rather than commercial. The meeting on this matter is tentatively set for May 3, 2022.”


Contact the Reno City Council with your concerns by e-mail or voice-mail here. Mayor Schieve and Councilmembers Weber and Duerr are running for re-election.

Contact the Washoe County Commissioners by e-mail or voice-mail here. County commissioners Lucey and Herman are up for re-election in November

Booming Development 4/19/2022

As the economy booms with the end of the pandemic (mostly) we’re seeing a boom in building and new development projects. The boom in real estate pricing is making all kinds of projects profitable, and the development interests are moving forward. The developers are seeking approvals, adjustments, extensions, and relief from requirements.

Coming up this week.

Meridian 120-South (Reno Planning Commission), Wednesday, April 20, 2022

This detailed summary is courtesy of Carli Borchard.

“The Meridian 120 South project, Villages 1 – 6, was approved in June, 2020. Along with that approval came certain “conditions” upon which the approval is contingent. The applicant is now requesting an amendment to one of these conditions, and has requested one of the conditions be deleted.

The applicant would like to amend Condition of Approval #4 so that 285 townhomes can be built. This specific condition was put on the project because by allowing that many townhomes the project would exceed the maximum density allowed within Phase 3 of the Mortensen Garson Overlay District (MGOD). It was never intended that more than 3,000 units would be allowed in this area, therefore, the MGOD specifies how many units can be built (by parcel) with a cap of UP TO 3,000 residential units. The south side of I-80 is allowed a total of 1,799 residential units. These 285 Townhomes (Villages 3 & 4) are in the area right along the freeway zoned Arterial Commercial. According to the City of Reno, townhouses are an allowed use under Arterial Commercial, however, these units would increase the intended density outlined in the MGOD and the Original Handbook. Additionally, allowing this developer to increase the density sets a precedent that may allow other developers with the same or similar zoning to increase their density. City Staff is recommending re-wording the condition, since the Text Amendment process was never finalized, but are still requiring the applicant to negotiate and provide documentation on a reallocation of units amongst other developers. The attached Staff Report (Agenda – Wednesday, April 20) gives MANY more details and history. [item 6.8]

The applicant is also requesting to delete Condition of Approval #31; a requirement to construct a second point of emergency access to I-80. The applicant has stated that NDOT will not allow access to the Freeway at any point of their project and are therefore unable to adhere to this requirement. Their main access will be the Garson Overpass (offering no improvements) along with utilizing the secondary access road through the Santerra Quilici Project to the West. City Staff is recommending this condition be deleted. It would seem reasonable to require documentation from NDOT that they have in fact reviewed this project and denied access to I-80.”

Gateway at Galena (Reno Planning Commission), Wednesday, April 20, 2022

The developer for this new project adjacent to the TMCC Redfield Campus is presenting their tentative map to the Reno Planning Commission. The plan is for 361 condominiums on 34 acres. While it is south of the Mount Rose Highway, it is within Reno’s “sphere of influence” giving the Reno Planning Commission jurisdiction. Reno is moving to annex the development.


Contact the Reno City Council with your concerns by e-mail or voice-mail here. Mayor Schieve and Councilmembers Weber and Duerr are running for re-election.

Contact the Washoe County Commissioners by e-mail or voice-mail here. County commissioners Lucey and Herman are up for re-election in November