Ascente Developments 11/26/22

It looks like the first construction work is underway on the Ascente property at the Fawn Lane entrance. The initial driveway onto the property now has large aggregate. A dump truck appears with a tractor presumably to fill the large depressions in the dirt road that connects the end of Fawn Lane with the end of Brushwood Way. The conditions placed on the developer by the county include a requirement that Brushwood Way not be used for construction access. The first Final Map approved for this development is close to the end of Brushwood Way, so the builder (Toll Brothers) will need to traverse their property so they would logically improve the road for all the construction equipment.

Additionally, the large boulders that builder had placed at the end of Brushwood Way have been removed. The fence with the padlocked gate remain. This is in violation of the requirement that residents be able to cross from Brushwood to Fawn in the case of an emergency evacuation.

Ascente Sold

The Ascente development was sold by Drakulich Properties (representing NNV-1 Properties, Michael Barnes) to DRP NV2 representing Toll Brothers. When the developer requested (August 2021) that the final map deadline be extended, he claimed that he had an agreement with Toll Brothers to buy the property. The sales price was indicated as “just under $17M”.

This project was approved by the Washoe Planning Commission in 2017 over the strenuous objections of the residents and despite numerous public-safety issues. Residents presented a detailed report on the many violations and hazards that this development represents. Residents appealed to the Washoe Board of County Commissioners who went on to deny the residents’ appeal (document). Issues of flooding, wildfire evacuation, and hazardous traffic were not addressed.

The developer’s earthquake fault map is highly suspect. The area is rife with faults, but none of them go near the development areas according to the documents submitted with the original development application. This is implausible. One known fault was not shown on their fault map. The developer did an unprofessional Geotech survey and did not publish the results. One of the core samples taken indicated fault activity in an area that would be developed. A geologist in the neighborhood sent a letter describing the problems with the developer’s procedures to the county engineer in March 2021. There has been no response.

The public has little say at this point. The plan was approved faults, hazards, and all. There will be no public review. It is now between the developer and county planners. If the planners can be convinced that the plan and further changes are somehow acceptable, the developer can move forward unimpeded. Residents can challenge individual permit applications by the developer. Given that the project was approved, this is not likely to be fruitful. There might be a legal case to be made over a fraudulent Geotech report with a fraudulent fault map. The county and the developer are under no obligation to announce the submission of the Geotech report or to publish it. In Washoe County, there is no process to challenge a fraudulent report.

The buyer bought a property with an approved tentative map which lays out in detail where the homes will be built. This plan is now 5 years old. If the new owner wants to make changes (other than at the detail level), they are required to submit a new tentative map for review and approval. The perspective of the Washoe Planning Commission has changed to be more skeptical of developers’ claims and assurances. A new plan would likely be more benign for existing residents.

A surveyor’s truck was spotted at the entrance to the property at the end of Fawn Lane on 6/22/22.

ThisIs Reno announcement (from developer)

Washoe Seeks Higher-Density Zoning 2/2/22

Washoe County is seeking public input on a new proposal to add “Low Density Suburban -2” zoning to the Southwest Area Plan which would allow 2 homes per acre. Presently, the county requires 1 acre residential lots (minimum) except for areas originally identified as “Medium Density Suburban” (3 homes per acre). This is a broad attempt at increasing residential density in the unincorporated county. This change is not needed to support area growth. The existing zoning will support growth beyond the next 20 years according to the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Authority. Higher density zoning will favor the development interests while undermining the quality of life of existing homeowners.

You can attend this meeting at 5:00 PM via Zoom

The contact in the county planning department is Julee Olander. You can send her an e-mail at or call her at 775.328.3627.

Here is my e-mail to Ms. Olander.

“Ms. Olander,
Please record and report my opposition to the proposal to amend the Southwest Area Plan to add a zoning designation of “Low Density Suburban 2”. I have the following concerns.

  • Higher density zoning will detract from the quality of life for existing residents and may affect property values.
  • The county has been irresponsible in the approval of developments to the detriment of the character of this area. Some of these developments undermine public safety to a scandalous degree. Adding a higher-density zoning category will only enable an expansion of the county’s malfeasance.
  • Under existing zoning, there are buildable lots to support more than 20 years of anticipated growth in Washoe County. The addition of the LDS-2 zoning category is not needed.

I ask you to relay my opposition to WMPA22-0004.

 Steve Wolgast"

There will be a second meeting on Thursday 2/3 noon - 1:00 PM with Washoe County Senior Planner, Eric Young, and planning consultants from the firm Logan and Simpson at the Washoe Lake State Park Equestrian Area.  
Washoe County 2040 
Envision Plan

Take 10 to Fight Rancho-IV

Please take 10 minutes to support your neighbors opposing this irresponsible new development on the Evans Ranch property. The Rancho-IV development was denied by the Reno Planning Commission, but it was appealed to the City Council by the developer. It will be heard on January 26, 2022. You can conveniently write your City Councilmember based on your ward, or you can write all of them since they all get a vote on the project. I would copy the City Clerk too. It is very effective to call as well. The agenda is not yet posted for this meeting to indicate the order of agenda items to know when this appeal will be considered. With the pandemic conditions changing, the meeting could be remote.

Rancho-IV concerns:

  • Road access is dangerously inadequate especially for evacuation in case of a wildfire.
  • This is a popular area for hiking and recreation.
  • This property is a wildlife corridor.
  • The property is steep: grading and filling will despoil the hillsides and the wetland area.
  • It is not consistent with the Reno master plan.

Contact your City Councilmember

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



Detailed ruling and analysis by

Creeping Ascente

There’s been no visible work on the Ascente property for the last two years, but there’s renewed activity. Rising home prices are likely making the development profitable for Symbio (Barnes and Tanguay). There is no news on their selling either lots or villages: it’s not clear who will build the new homes and who will sell them.

A final map was submitted to the Washoe County Planning Department recently. It was for only 5 home lots at the end of Brushwood Lane. This would be part of the “Sierra Village” at the end of Fawn Lane. The document package was rejected since it used Brushwood as its primary access. The tentative map approved by the county had a gated connection to Brushwood for emergency evacuation only. One might conclude that Barnes/Lumos were trying to “pull a fast one”. Given that they will not be able to use Brushwood for primary access, they may want to pick a different location. Watch for news.

As part of the Ascente final map process, J-U-B Engineers (surveying for Ascente) will do an aerial map of the property. For this purpose, they are locating marks that will be visible from the air and can be used to align the aerial images. One of their workers was caught painting a large “X” on a private driveway without asking the permission of the homeowner. This driveway had recently been resurfaced at a price of roughly $20k. The J-U-B crew was confronted by the homeowner. The supervisor claimed that he thought it was a public road and apologized for the intrusion. He further offered to paint over the mark after the aerial survey was complete. The homeowner told him he was not welcome to return. Vandalizing private property reflects the degenerate ethics of the entire Ascente operation.

If you see them in the neighborhood, you’ll know who they are and who they represent.

Daybreak and Mt. Rose Comm. Ctr. News

The Reno Planning Commission reviewed a request from the Daybreak developer to approve a tentative map for the development on 4/21/21. It is on the corner of the property near the intersection of South Meadows Parkway and Echo Valley Parkway. It is for 173 homes on 34 acres: Villages 18-B and 19-A. These are small lots: 3400 sqft to 4500 sqft. The market is claimed to be the “missing middle”. While part of Daybreak, this development will be called “Talus Valley”. The developer gave a presentation and then the staff gave one also. Brooklyn Oswald concluded with a recommendation to approve this application. The commissioners had no questions: there was no discussion. The application was approved unanimously.

The developer for the Mount Rose Commercial Center presented their plan to the city council. The developer is seeking approval to proceed with grading and moving the drainage-way which may be on a 24-hour basis. The lots subject to 24-hour work are on the south side of the site toward the geothermal power plant. The planning staff recommended approval. There was no public comment.

  • Building height up to 55 feet by zoning. This will probably be representative of any warehouse buildings.
  • Traffic studies have not been done. A traffic study will be required when each parcel is defined.

There was no discussion. The permit was approved unanimously.


MEETING VIDEO (Mt Rose, 1:43, Daybreak, 1:03)

Canyon’s Edge Town Hall 4/19/21

Councilmember Duerr hosted a town hall meeting on Zoom regarding the planned Canyons’ Edge development. It’s a small development of 8 homes at the foot of the steep rise above Damonte Ranch and The Palisades. It is the next step in peripheral sprawl from the recently approved Canyons development. The 80 acres will be divided into 8 10-acre lots. Only 14 acres will be developed. The other 66 acres are too steep (30% slope or more). In effect, the homes will be on small lots with nearly 10 acres of vertical back yard.

John Krmpotic of KLS Planning gave the presentation. He made two points to show the efforts made by the developer to address community concerns.

  • The developer would accommodate the wild horses with a path through the development and a water trough further up the hillside. This would be considered temporary for two years until Reno came up with a comprehensive plan to manage and support the wild horses.
  • The developer would zone the 66 acres as Open Space and would allow access by the public. The Open Space area would be under the control and management of Reno.

Krmpotic represented these as “concessions” to the neighbors. One resident pointed out that the accommodation of the wild horses was not a concession but rather a mitigation (addressing a problem caused by the development itself). Also, the 66 acres are too steep to build on. It’s not conceding much to make it Open Space.

The meeting lasted an hour and a half. Open issues remain.

  • What will the cumulative effects be when the Sunny Hills development is built on the adjoining properties to the North?
  • What will happen after two years? Will Reno be ready with their plan to support the wild horses when the developer starts building and blocks the horses’ access?
  • How will horses access the planned water trough which is on a steep hillside?
  • What does it mean for a homeowner to own Open Space? Legally, the homeowner could fence off all or part of their property whatever the zoning. The developer wants to sell the properties as 10-acre lots, but guarantees public access to 82% of it. This appears untenable.

The developer has submitted a Master Plan Amendment to change the zoning from UT-40 (one home per 40 acres) to one home per 10 acres. While it’s only a few homes, it follows the pattern of every developer seeking a zoning change to build at higher densities. They are also requesting a designation change from Tier-3 to Tier-2 by the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Authority for the 14 acres. Building is largely prohibited on Tier-3 areas. The developer does not yet have a date for the Reno Planning Commission to review the project. Dolan said that he had wanted to move forward earlier when he felt “he had strong staff support”. He didn’t expand on how that had changed.

Duerr made the point that the conditions about accommodating the wild horses should have been incorporated into the PUD for the Canyons development which was just recently approved. Dolan argued that this was not possible since that development had a different owner: his brother, Jack Dolan (Six Development). He went on to admit that Jack was also an investor in his company; Virginia 40’s. It sounds like good old Reno.

KLS Presentation

Lakeridge Tennis Club Saga 3/24/21

This is a guest post submitted by Jim Christoff

6000 Plumas Redevelopment, a.k.a. the Lakeridge Tennis Club Development

My previous blog found here describes the history of the now-vacant lot on S. McCarran near Lakeside that was previously occupied by the former Lakeridge Tennis Club. In brief, developer Reno Land purchased the Club and publicly assured concerned members and neighbors that they would save some of its recreational facilities including a pool and 6 tennis courts and only build about 150 apartments on part of the site. Reno Land then requested Reno’s City Council for a change in zoning to Commercial zoning so that it would be possible under the City’s codes to retain the recreational facilities side-by-side with apartments, stating that the change in zoning would allow them to return the Club “to its former glory”. However, soon after Commercial zoning was granted, the developer demolished the Club, returned to the city’s planning staff and obtained approval to cram 350 apartments into the 9.3 acre site. Nine individuals appealed, slamming the developer’s use of a bait and switch tactic likely intended to avoid objections to the zoning change. An independent Hearing Examiner appointed by the City found in favor of the appellants and overturned the site plans’ approval.

Naomi Duerr, Council Member for Ward 2, gave a presentation during City Council’s January 13, 2021 meeting to request a change in zoning to permit only lower density housing, noting that in her original motion to grant commercial zoning she specifically added that she would initiate rezoning if that original project was not pursued. Duerr outlined reasons why the zoning should be changed from Commercial to MF-14 (Multi-Family-14), which limits developments to 14 housing units to the acre. MF-14 zoning would still allow the developer to build a development to the same density they originally promised and overcome the concerns of most residents. Both planning staff and city attorney Karl Hall found no legal implications with Duerr’s rezoning initiative. However, Council elected to put the rezoning initiative on hold over concerns about violating the open meeting law.

On January 25, 2021, Lyon Living, former partners with Reno Land, submitted plans to the city for a project that was very similar to its original project, with only a slight reduction in the number of housing units (314 instead of 350) and changing its marketing approach from rental apartments to condominiums. However, Reno’s planning staff instead found that the application was “substantially changed” from the original application and recommended that the Planning Commission approve of plans, even though the appearance of the tall and closely-spaced buildings was exactly the same as submitted in the previous site plan rejected by the Hearing Examiner.

The Planning Commission received 134 written comments and voicemails from residents opposed to the project and none from anyone in favor. Strong objections were made over density that wouldn’t match the neighborhood, excessive building heights that are two stories higher than any nearby residences, the inevitable loss of large trees along McCarran that have served to screen the site for years and would now expose the buildings, lack of sufficient on-site parking, increased traffic levels along the already-congested stretch of McCarran, lack of sufficient open space between buildings, and stark building designs that are not compatible with the one and two story residential neighborhood. The Planning Commission noted that these expensive condos would not fulfill any low-income housing needs and admitted that the proposed density would far exceed anything in the area, but voted to approve the project regardless.

Concerned citizens are planning to appeal the Planning Commission’s decision to City Council for a hearing expected to occur in April or May. Stay tuned!