Ascente First Final Map

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  • The study was done based on an outdated map (1975) when a newer one (2011) was available that showed the locations of the fault systems in the area.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.

Reference:

Ascente Geotech Report

Geology Concerns for Ascente

Callahan Wildfire Evacuation

This is a guest post by Tom Daly.

When a wind-driven wildfire bears down on your neighborhood, you may only have a few minutes to safely evacuate. Wildfires over the last several years have often blocked the normal vehicular route residents use every day or may find those routes clogged with much more than routine traffic.

So, having a secondary evacuation route should be part of your planning. In the Mt. Rose corridor, housing developments were often planned and approved without those secondary routes or are constrained by closed and locked gates, which complicates the evacuation process.

More recently, the planned Ascente development south of Mt. Rose Highway and east of Callahan Road now owned by Toll Brothers, has exacerbated the problem by blocking the formerly unobstructed secondary access route for both the Fawn Lane neighborhood and the adjacent Callahan Ranch neighborhood. The Brushwood Way (Callahan Ranch) to Fawn Lane connection was blocked by Toll Brothers in July with boulders on the Brushwood Way end.

On Wednesday 7/20/2022 Assistant County Manager Solaro advised me than within two weeks those boulders on Brushwood Way would be replaced by a gate, openable in an emergency, to allow those residents to have their second evacuation route restored. What has happened since? No gate at Brushwood Way as of August 10th.

A second barrier, a temporary fence and gate, chained and padlocked, was later installed at the end of the paved portion of Fawn Lane. Now two barriers to escape for Fawn Lane and Callahan Ranch residents exist.

In a further conversation on Thursday 7.28.2022 with Assistant County Manager Dave Solaro, he advised me that those current and future gates will only be openable by the developer (Toll Bros staff), the Sheriff and his CERT group or TMFPD units. Good luck with that happening in the middle of the night with a wind-driven wildfire roaring down the mountain into those neighborhoods.

At my meeting on August 9th with County Manager Brown, he committed his Emergency Manager to bring forward a solution to this problem in the near term. Manager Brown also indicated that TMFPD Chief Moore is also working this problem. Let’s hope those solutions are implemented before the next wildfire.

Developers’ interests once again trump public safety.

Thomas Daly is a resident of Washoe County and his community is adjacent to the Ascente development.

Ascente Status 7/22/2022

There are new barriers up at the end of Fawn Lane in the form of a fence with a locked gate and boulders at the end of Brushwood Lane. These may be the first activities of the new Ascente owners: Toll Brothers. The route from the end of Brushwood to the end of Fawn is an emergency evacuation route. A concerned resident contacted the assistant county manager (Solaro) regarding this hazard. He said the barrier will be removed within 2 weeks. These barriers will impede pedestrians and cyclists along with motorized vehicles. This part of the property is to be the Sierra Village.

Fawn Lane Fence & Gate

Brushwood Lane

There is no obvious sign of activity in the part of the Ascente property facing Patti Lane (Donner Village).

The Washoe County Planning Department has been contacted to find out if the final map or geotech report (full, partial, or preliminary) have been submitted.

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)

Sierra Reflections Extension Denied 4/26/2022

The Washoe County Board of County Commissioners denied an extension for the developer to file a final map for the Sierra Reflections project until June 14, 2024. The tentative map for this project was approved in 2006 and expired in 2010. It has been repeatedly extended contrary to the intent of the development requirements. It is a “poster child” for the problems of zombie projects. Zombie projects are those that are extended past their deadlines. These projects may or may not “come back to life” many years later.

Tom Daly (a previous Washoe County Planning Commissioner and candidate for NV Assembly-26) wrote a compelling piece about the problems with this extension and the problem of zombie projects in general. Tom sent this to the county commissioners in advance of the meeting and presented it during public comment.

“As I am unable to attend this meeting and testify in person, I am requesting this ‘public comment’ be entered into the formal record for this meeting with copies distributed to each Commissioner.

For the record, I am Tom Daly from the Estates at Mt. Rose and, as a matter of full disclosure, a Republican candidate for Nevada Assembly District 26 in the 2022 primary election.

The proposal to extend the filing deadline for this development is an abuse of process by the developer, aided and abetted by the County Planning Department.  The proposed extension further discriminates against, and makes a mockery of, other developers who ‘play by the rules’ and meet the generous four-year period for filing a final map after approval of their tentative map.

  • Are there any commitments by Washoe County, the Washoe County School District (WCSD), the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC), the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (TMFPD) or REMSA to match their ability to provide more services to the massive increase in demand this project will impose?  I see none in the staff report.
  • The leadership of the Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue (TMF&R) has, on more than one occasion, testified that they lack sufficient resources to serve existing demands for service within their District. 
  • REMSA is so understaffed and equipped that they can no longer serve this area within the recommended 8-minute response time, adding more demands on Truckee Meadows Fire and Rescue (TMF&R) to pick up the slack.  TMF&R has no ambulance capability in the Pleasant Valley area from their two closest stations, #32 East Washoe and #33 Foothill.
  • Where is the traffic analysis to determine the impact on existing roads?
  • Where is the analysis of the impact on schools to determine future capacity or address the issue of schools now at or over capacity?

Given these negative impacts and the lack of information on same in the staff report, I would urge you to deny this request and require a re-submittal for a new tentative map.  Alternatively, and at a minimum, the Commission should add new ‘conditions of approval’ to ensure the final map for this development meets the current editions of the Development Code and the Area Plan.”

This item is a “first reading” and was listed under the “Consent Agenda” rather than “Public Comment”. If the first reading is not “introduced” the motion dies and the extension is denied.

The Washoe County planning manager made a presentation. This included a history of the multiple extensions to the deadline for the final map. The developer claims to be waiting for the required water and sewer capacity to be built for these 938 units.

Commissioner Lucey “I have problems with extending the deadline again for a project that does not know what it is going to be. ” “This is a very large project with a lot of needs that seems very ominous.” “The applicants should reexamine their project and reapply.” “This is not how development should go in our community.”

Commissioner Hartung “There are real problems with water resources in this area.” “Planning has changed. Requirements have changed. Egress [evacuation] has changed.”

Under Public Comment, residents made the following points.

  • Water for Pleasant Valley is already over-allocated.
  • The Planning Staff first reviewed the project in 2004. Much has changed since 2004.
  • This development is a “slippery slope” introducing urban densities in a rural area.
  • This development is not consistent with the Washoe County Master Plan. The Master Plan was changed in 2010, but this development has not been identified as consistent with the current Master Plan.
  • There are 19 parcels with average density of 14,000 sf lots. This is a far cry from this development that will have some condominiums on lots as small as 1,100 sf. Some home parcels are only 6,000 sf.

The developer made the argument that this development was negotiated in lieu of a big resort on the site and that it had been reviewed and approved repeatedly. He claimed that the delays were due to the slow progress on the sewer extension in the area. The development is moving forward with traffic and engineering studies. He asserted that the project fits the area, and that if they had to re-submit it, they would submit the same design.

Lucey commented that this may have seemed to be a great project when it was approved, but that was in 2006. The community and the area have changed since then. The project has not evolved.

Hartung said he’s not in favor of “clustering” [which allows high unit densities on a small fraction of a parcel]. He understands the utility, but does not like it. He wants the parcel-size requirements to be maintained.

No commissioner moved to “introduce” the proposal to extend the deadline. It therefore fails. The existing agreement will expire in June 2022.

AGENDA

MEETING VIDEO

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.”

REFERENCE

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.

REFERENCE

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

Higher Density Zoning Proposal Denied

The Washoe County Planning Commission unanimously denied the proposal from the Washoe County Planning Department to include a new higher-density zoning category in the Washoe County Master Plan for the Southwest Area Plan (WMPA22-0004) on Tuesday, March 1. Given that the planning department operates under the supervision of the county commissioners, it is likely that the county commissioners favor this change.

There were 15 residents in attendance (or remote) who expressed the following concerns during public comment. In addition, there were 27 e-mails sent to the commissioners in opposition.

  • The proposal does not include a consideration of the impact of the zoning change on traffic, schools, public safety, and sewer services. It does not consider the impact on the character of the neighborhoods.
  • This proposed change is to favor a specific development project at the top of Zolezzi Rd on a property donated to the Reno Christian Fellowship (12.55 acres).
  • Homeowners intentionally bought homes in areas with low-density zoning. The county should not change the zoning requirements after the residents have invested there.
  • Concern that the area will run out of water with increased density.
  • Schools will not be able to handle higher population densities.
  • The Master Plan is a strategic document and should not be changed without compelling justification.
  • Allowing this change would set a precedent that such a change could be incorporated in other parts of the county.
  • The existing area plan indicates that the area is mature and largely developed. The emphasis should be on maintaining the existing communities rather than allowing additional growth.
  • No study has been done that indicates this zoning change is needed.
  • There are many undeveloped properties that allow for growth with no zoning change.
  • Any changes should be incorporated in the new “Envision Washoe 2040” master plan.

Julie Olander made a presentation from the staff describing the change.

Planning Commissioner questions and discussion

  • Patricia Phillips: “Is there some kind of emergency that makes this necessary?” Olander “This did come out of the discussion of the Christian Fellowship Property request. That is what is motivating this change at this time.” Trevor Lloyd (planner) “This is a correction to the area plan to include LDS-2 that was not available at the time the Southwest Area Plan was written, but would have been included if it had been available.” Phillips would like to know where the lots are located that would be affected by this zoning change. She is concerned that higher density zoning near the Reno boundary could encourage Reno to extend their sphere-of-influence or to consider annexation. Olander “This is not a blanket permission. Any property to be rezoned would come before the Planning Commission for approval.” Phillips “Changing the density changes the character of the area. It sets a precedent. It does not conform to the existing plan.” “I’ve been on CAB’s and the Planning Commission since 2006, and I’ve seen a growing mistrust on the part of the public about what is pushed down their throats.”
  • Kate Nelson expressed concern that with the policy change you can get one parcel at a time applying for a zoning change. Such changes would not require a study of the road and school impacts. Olander countered that any zoning change still requires review and approval and that the impacts would be considered even if the changes were piecemeal. Olander went on to say that Medium Density Suburban zoning (3 homes per acre) is already available in the area. Nelson said that the wildfire evacuation last year left all the major roads completely choked indicating that they were already inadequate with the existing zoning.
  • Michael Flick asked why the minimum lot size for LDS-2 is 17,500 sqft when a half an acre is over 21,000 sqft. Lloyd answered that the density and lot sizes are not quite the same thing. The minimum lot size allows for some variation in lot sizes where some lots in a development will be slightly over the nominal size and some will be slightly under. The density defines the average lot size for the development.
  • Sarah Chvilicek “The staff report indicates that this is an amendment. It is not just a policy change.” “The change would affect the character.” Lloyd responded that the area plans were never intended to become regulatory documents at a detail level. Chvilicek is concerned that such zoning changes erode public trust in the process.
  • Larry Chesney “Because we have an ongoing revision of the master plan, I see no urgency here to move on this tonight. I can’t support it at all. I can’t make four of the findings. Something just isn’t right with this in my mind.” “Contrary to Lloyd’s statement about the area plans being too regulatory, I find that if it wasn’t for the area plans, all hell would break loose in this county worse than it has already from the development standpoint.”
  • Francine Donshick “I have some uncomfortable feelings about this myself.”
  • Larry Peyton “I don’t see the point of this since a zoning change would require approval of the Planning Commission anyway. They could apply now for a Special Use Permit to achieve the same result.” Lloyd said this was incorrect: an applicant could only apply for LDS (1 per acre) or MDS (3 per acre).

Commissioner Chesney moved to deny the master plan amendment. The vote was unanimous.

The following commissioners couldn’t make the following findings.

  • Chesney; 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Nelson; 1, 3, 4, 5
  • Chvilicek; 1, 3, 4, 5
  • Donshick; 1, 3, 4, 5
  • Nelson; 1, 3, 4, 5
  • Peyton; 2, 4, 5
  • Phillips; 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Flick; 1, 2, 4

Washoe County Planning Commission Findings

  • #1 Consistency with the Master Plan
  • #2 Compatible land uses
  • #3 Response to changing conditions
  • #4 Availability of facilities
  • #5 Desired pattern of growth

The meeting highlighted an absence of trust. This was referenced repeatedly by the commissioners. The residents don’t trust the county process to protect the character of their neighborhoods and maintain their quality of life. It was evident from the meeting that there was also a lack of trust between the planning commissioners and the planning staff members.

This decision by the planning commission is subject to appeal. Given that no applicant (eg developer) requested this change, it is not clear who might appeal it. Can the planning department appeal a planning commission decision regarding a policy change?

Agenda

News-4

Planning Commission Staff Report

Higher Density Zoning at Planning Comm. 3/1

The Washoe County Planning Commission will consider amending the zoning categories in the unincorporated county master plan to include a category for 2 homes per acre (LDS-2). Currently, 1-home-per-acre is the highest density zoning allowed for master plan amendments. This change favors developers for whom higher densities allow for greater profit. This runs counter to the original intent of the county’s area plans that specify a rural or pastoral setting outside the City of Reno where higher housing densities are expected. Many residents of the unincorporated county live there specifically because they don’t want the urban-density development. The proposal is originating from the Washoe County Planning Department under the direction of the Board of County Commissioners.

Residents can attend the meeting on Tuesday, 3/1/2022 at 6:00 PM via Zoom with this LINK.

Residents can also contact any of the planning commissioners to let them know their opinions. Comments will be tallied as “for” or “against”. Some of them may be read in the meeting. You are not limited to contacting only the planning commissioner for your district.

Planning Commission Meeting Agenda 3/1/2022

Zoning Proposal for LDS-2