Washoe County filed a final map for Ascente in July from Toll Brothers. It is only for 5 home lots at the end of Brushwood Way on the Ascente property near the end of Fawn Lane. There is no information on the other 220 homes. With this step completed, Toll Brothers can move forward with grading with no further permits or approvals.
A geotech report was included with the final map package to indicate where earthquake faults lie on the property. Homes must be located 50 feet from identified faults. This is a big issue as the Washoe County geologic map identifies several faults on this property and the existence of these faults can wipe out many homesites and reduce the profitability of the development. It therefore behooves the developer to “avoid” identifying these faults and therefore the need to amend their lot locations.
The report file is a combination of different files with many appendices. This is unwieldy. Here are links to the report by Lumos (engineering), Gasch (seismic measurements), and Saunders (consulting geologist). It’s as bad as you might fear. It was the Lumos manager who selected the sites for the exploration trenches and the sites for the refractive seismic lines when it should have been the geologists.
The principal overall problems with the geotech report are the following.
- The study was done based on an outdated map (1975) when a newer one (2011) was available that showed the locations of the fault systems in the area.
- The study does not show a fault that has been identified: The Galena Creek Fault that runs along the eastern base of the Steamboat Hills.
- A major fault appears to end at the property boundary. No effort was made to confirm that it does not traverse the property.
- The fault trenches were not located properly to identify suspected fault locations on the property.
- The fault trenches were not dug to industry standards and were not inspected or logged to industry practice.
- The results of a core sample that indicates a likely fault may have been misrepresented.
Geologists in the neighborhood inspected the trenches after hours to see what work was being done. One of the core samples was left out overnight by the drilling crew allowing inspection by a geologist. A letter was sent to the county engineer, Dwayne Smith, on 12/15/2017 by the geologists indicating the inadequacies of the work performed. There was no response to the detailed letter. A request was made to the county for the Lumos geotech report. It was not provided.
A more detailed review of the Lumos Geotech Report will appear in a later post.