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- The study was done based on an outdated map (1975) when a newer one (2011) was available that showed the locations of the fault systems in the area.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.
Thank you for always being on top of things.
Yes, definitely thank you. I’m finding the Washoe county website to be useless. When you get a chance, can you please post the direct link to the materials on the Washoe site so that I can start trolling the site also? Thanks!
I had to get the first final map and the geotech report through an official public document request using the Washoe-311 portal. I got them transferred through an FTP site. I expect I will have to do requests regularly to see the later final map documents. They will not notify me or send them when they are available.
Thank you Steve for your vigilance and for generating this information. The fault issue here reminded me of the situation at the ‘new’ school on Arrowcreek Pkwy and Thomas creek. And it might’ve been you who spoke to the same issue there several years ago. If yes, was there ever any ‘adjustment’ in the WCSD design or plans around earthquake danger?
You mentioned sending a letter to Dwayne Smith, Have you still not gotten any sort of reply?
I serve on a WC Board which hears certain types of building situations, was going to call Dwayne on another matter and could ask him the status if it’s still ‘open’.
Best and thank you again for this work on behalf of the community,
Brad, I didn’t speak about the new Arrowcreek School. I expect that any late adjustments to the design or plan were made between the builder and the staff. I don’t think there’s any requirement to announced such changes in public.
The letter was from Kristin Hemlein (geologist). There was never a response from Dwayne Smith or the WC staff.
Thanks for your interest. Steve
Thank you for your research, Steve.