The Reno City Council voted 6-0 Wednesday to lease to a developer a portion of West Street Plaza as part of the developer’s plans to rehabilitate the adjacent Truckee Lane Building. Councilman Paul McKenzie was absent.
Despite past harsh questioning from council members and downtown advocates, Las Vegas-based Siegel Group has been requesting the city lease it a 3,000 square foot strip of West Street Plaza that abuts the east side of the 68-year-old building. Siegel purchased the 4-story building, located in the 200 block of West First Street, in 2013.
Siegel has proposed landscape improvements, excavating, grading, resurfacing and building to allow new retail activity. It plans to rehabilitate the apartment units, business facilities and establish new retail frontage on the east end of the building. Construction would take about six months.
Installing and maintaining a security camera overlooking West Street Plaza and keeping the area free of garbage and graffiti are also planned.
The lease would be for 20 years with the option for an additional 10 years. An appraisal showed the lease value would range from about $5,800 to $7,000 annually.
Recent public concerns were related to some of Siegel’s other properties, mainly Siegel Suites El Cortez, 239 W. Second St., and Siegel Suites, 1225 Victorian Avenue, Sparks. High numbers of police calls, not background checking tenants and allowing minimal leases were among criticisms.
The City Council in February agreed to give Siegel representatives time to get more feedback from the Regional Alliance for Downtown, Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board, Riverwalk Merchants Association and the Recreation and Parks Commission.
“Tell me what changes have been made and what you’re committing to do today?” Councilwoman Neoma Jardon asked Siegel officials.
Siegel representatives said concerns in the community included many things related to code enforcement, such as furniture outside that wasn’t hauled away and problems with signage. They said they’re in the process of addressing such issues with property managers and plan on hiring a full time employee to oversee properties regionally.
“The lack of a local go-to person on a full time basis…what’s the timeline for hiring this individual?” Jardon asked.
Siegel officials assured council members a person would be in place within 60 days.
The Jungle, formerly known as Java Jungle and Jungle Vino, is located in the Truckee Lane Building and has a ground lease with the Reno Redevelopment Agency for its patio. Scott Lawrence, who represents Siegel, said that lease would become part of the new project.
“In order to excavate the dirt, we will have to build a retaining wall, so we are not sure whether the patio will get slightly bigger or slightly smaller in its configuration,” Lawrence told the Recreation and Parks Commission earlier this month. “The plan is to take approximately 2,500 square feet and take the demonstration garden down to the same grade as West Street Plaza. In order to do that, we will have to construct retaining walls.”
Other Council Highlights
The following highlights are from the City of Reno.
Council approves amendments to City’s University of Nevada Regional Center Plan (F.1)
Council unanimously approved to adopt a Resolution to amend the City of Reno’s University of Nevada Regional Center (UNRC) Plan (view the draft plan here). Amendments include designation of a Gateway District, policy modifications, changes to subland use designations and graphics, and identification of proposed future amendments to plan area boundaries. The motion included modifications suggested by the Historical Resources and Recreation and Parks Commissions, such as the City not transferring ownership of Evans Park to the University of Nevada, Reno.
The purpose of this update is to more closely align City policy and land uses with the University of Nevada, Reno’s 2015-2024 University Campus Master Plan (UCMP), and further City Council’s priority of fostering a university town. Generally, it encourages university-related growth to expand south into the downtown area.
Council directed staff to provide quarterly updates on the UNRC Plan, bring back a future presentation on the City’s historical resources plan, collect traffic study information in collaboration with entities such as RTC, and continue to get input from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).
Council directs staff to work with Secundo Vita to gather more information on West 2nd Street District Development (P.4)
There was a presentation regarding Secundo Vita, LLC’s proposed West 2nd Street District Development. The large development project in downtown Reno could be comprised of approximately 17 acres with proposed residential, retail, office, hotel, and parking components with a total estimated project budget of $1.281 billion.
In a 4-to-2 vote, staff was directed to come back at the next Redevelopment meeting (May 25, 2016) with more information from the project team to help move staff through the due diligence period and better inform the City’s decision of whether or not to move forward with drafting a Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA).
Council refers Title 14 Plumbing and Electrical code amendments for second reading and adoption (I.2 & I.3)
Council unanimously approved an Ordinance Introduction to amend Reno Municipal Code Title 14 pertaining to “Uniform Plumbing Code” and “National Electrical Code” and referred it for a second reading and adoption. Changes to the electrical and plumbing codes now require certifications for apprentice and journeymen electricians and plumbers for commercial projects. Read the updated Resolution for specifics on the code changes. Council directed staff to include a grandfathering provision and a “punch list” from staff to keep updated on the effects of the ordinance to the building community.
Council also unanimously approved to accept a Business Impact Statement for the aforementioned amendment of Title 14 and ruled that the adoption of the ordinance as amended does not impose a direct and significant economic burden upon a business nor directly restrict the formation or expansion of a business.
C.1 – Councilmember Neoma Jardon read a Proclamation recognizing May as Nevada Wildfire Awareness Month.
C.2 – Councilmember Jenny Brekhus read a Proclamation recognizing April as National Architecture Month with the American Institute of Architects Northern Nevada (AIANN).
E.2 – Reno Tennis Center Repairs
Council unanimously approved to accept a $84,150 donation from the Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation for court repairs at the Reno Tennis Center, located at 2601 Plumas Street.
E.3 – U.S. Olympic Committee Grant
Council unanimously approved a $13,000 grant from the U.S. Olympic Committee for the U.S. Paralympics Cycling Series to host a two-day competition to include races for current hand cyclists with spinal cord injuries (SCI) and learn-to-ride clinics to attract new athletes to the sport.
Reno Access Advisory Committee Funds
H.1 – Council unanimously approved to adopt a Resolution donating $4,280 of Reno Access Advisory Committee funds to Tour De Nez Outreach to defray expenses associated with the Para-Cycling races at the Tour De Nez competition to be held in Reno in June 2016.
H.2 – Council unanimously approved to adopt a Resolution donating $1,760 of Reno Access Advisory Committee funds to the 1Touch Project for a free eight hour hands-on adapted self defense training for people with disabilities.
H.3 – Council unanimously approved to adopt a Resolution donating $390 of Reno Access Advisory Committee funds to the Northern Nevada Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for sponsorship of the Walk and Talk 2016.
J.1 & J.2 – Adult Business Moratorium
Council unanimously approved to adopt a Resolution extending the current 12-month moratorium on the acceptance, processing, and approving of all adult business-related licenses, permits, including adult interactive cabarets and adult bookstores. The moratorium will be extended up until January 31, 2017 (sooner if an adult business ordinance goes into effect before that date).
Community input will be implemented into the language of the future ordinance update. Public stakeholder workshops, which will include adult business owners and property owners, are scheduled to take place in May 2016. Review the staff presentation (in particular Slide 15) for more information, including staff recommendations of possible policy proposals.
J.4 – Smarter Region Vision Statement
At-Large Reno City Councilmember David Bobzien, Washoe County Commissioner Bob Lucey, and Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Regent Jason Geddes presented the new Smarter Region economic development brand vision statement. Council unanimously approved to accept the following statement: “We are pioneers, innovators and risk takers. We embrace those with the determination to get business done today while setting their sights on the possibilities of a bold, new tomorrow.”
The brand vision statement will be used by the following entities to align economic development strategies, outreach, and messaging: The Chamber, City of Reno, City of Sparks, Desert Research Institute, Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN), Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, Truckee Meadows Community College, Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency, Washoe County, Washoe County School District, and the University of Nevada, Reno.
View the presentation and visit washoecounty.us for background information on the Smarter Region Project.
J.6 – Citizen Recognition Program
Council unanimously approved staff’s presentation regarding the pilot Citizen Recognition Program. The program will officially begin in July 2016.
K.1 – Citizen Appointments to Boards and Commissions
K.1.1 – Council unanimously approved appointment of Christopher Bawden and reappointment of Donna Clontz to the Senior Citizen Advisory Committee.
K.1.2 – Council unanimously approved appointment of James Johns to the Financial Advisory Board.
L Mayor and Council
Council unanimously approved the following item regarding Council Donation Funds, which will go to:
L.4 – The City of Reno Office of Communications and Community Engagement budget to offset costs associated with a City of Reno Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Charitable License Plate marketing campaign.
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.