Master Plan Considers Area Growth: Industrial Development On The Horizon

Image: Bob Conrad.
Image: Bob Conrad.

The City of Reno and Reno Planning Commission met today to get an update on the area’s master plan.

Matt Prosser, vice president of Economic & Planning Systems, presented to the council data about Reno’s housing and employment demands in order to inform land-use and planning decisions.

Reno’s population over 65 is expected to increase by 66 percent in the coming decades, which mirrors national trends, Prosser said.

But, “Reno is generally younger,” he added. “There’s a diversity of people living in the city of Reno (leading to a need for different choices of housing stock).”

More than 70 percent of new residents are coming coming from California, primarily the Los Angeles area.

“New residents are not just students,” Prosser explained.

Housing and rent prices have been rising since 2006, after a notable dip during the recession, and employment growth is driving home prices and rents higher while home construction is expected to continue.

“Employment has been outpacing housing production,” he said. “There’s more renter households than national trends.”

Affordability was another area covered, and Reno residents are limited in their housing choices because of their lower incomes.

“About a third of people (in Reno) can buy a home,” Prosser said. “You have a very bifurcated housing market in term of residences. Less people are able to afford a single family (home) with a yard.”

A diversity of housing types — single-family homes, condos, apartments — are needed to match income levels and population growth.

According to the Economic & Planning Systems data, Reno is ripe for industrial development — the North Valleys were noted as an area that can accommodate both residential and industrial growth — a point that Prosser asked the council and commission to consider.

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Contrary with the idea of Reno emerging as a tech hub, Reno is ripe for industrial growth. A large increase of industrial jobs is expected, which will require double the amount of land designated for industrial use.

“What we found is a doubling of industrial land needs based on recent trends,” Prosser presented. “If these recent trends continue, there will be huge demands for industrial lands going forward.”

But that’s something the city and its citizens need to decide.

The council and commission voted to approve the consultant’s information. The next step is to gauge community interest in where Reno wants to go in the future.

The city will be seeking that feedback through focus groups, community meetings and surveys.

About Bob Conrad 927 Articles
Bob Conrad is co-founder of ThisisReno. He manages ThisisReno and Conrad Communications, LLC, his marketing communications consulting company. He also works part time for the University of Nevada, Reno.