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Council Mulls Affordable Housing on City Properties

By Bob Conrad

proposed-siteThe Reno City Council is being asked to move fast on the potential development of affordable housing on city-owned properties.

While Mayor Hillary Schieve is urging quick action to create more affordable housing options in Reno, questions remain on how to proceed.

Council was presented with five potential properties mostly near downtown to consider for the developments.

Paul McKenzie criticized all five properties.

“We have a huge inventory of property,” he said. “Maybe the problem we’ve got is that we’re not looking at the full inventory we’ve got but that we’re looking at what’s convenient. I can’t get excited about any of these properties. I would hope that staff would…bring us properties that aren’t unencumbered (and) developable.”

Schieve reminded councilmembers about Reno’s housing shortage.

“This is super critical,” she said. “I want to make sure that council is not putting us in a box. We should have this conversation at every single council meeting.”

McKenzie questioned whether the city has the budget to move existing fire equipment and police evidence from two of the properties considered.

Acting City Manager Bill Thomas said no money is available now but that the city is looking to see if there are private interests in potentially developing the properties.

Ideas mentioned included tiny homes, a container park and vertical housing options. Staff will continue to explore the issue.

The properties are shown in the map below.

Other Council Highlights (provided by the City of Reno):

Council approves Reno Fire Department & Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District Cooperative Agreement & Annual Operating Plan (E.3)

Council unanimously approved a revised Cooperative Agreement and Annual Operating Plan for Automatic and Mutual Aid between the City of Reno, on behalf of the Reno Fire Department, and the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (TMFPD) through June 30, 2019. This replaces the previous versions adopted by Council on Sept. 21, 2015. The Washoe County Board of Fire Commissioners approved the new agreement on Oct. 18, 2016.

The Agreement and Plan outline common expectations, operating protocols, reimbursement rates and shared responsibilities, and mutual and automatic aid parameters governing the manner in which assistance will be provided in the event of fires involving the two entities. This will continue the practice implemented effective Oct. 1, 2015 by which the City of Reno and TMFPD agreed to send the closest fire-fighting vehicle to a structure or brush fire, regardless of jurisdictional boundaries.

Council appoints Vice Mayor and National League of Cities representative

K.1.1 – Council unanimously approved the election of Neoma Jardon as Vice Mayor. Pursuant to the Reno City Charter, Council must elect a Vice Mayor annually at the first regular City Council meeting in November.

K.1.2 – Council unanimously approved appointment of David Bobzien, and Legislative Relations & Government Affairs Manager Scott Gilles as alternate, to represent the City of Reno on the National League of Cities.

E.1.d – Privileged Business License – Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Council unanimously approved a Privileged Business License for a Medical Marijuana Dispensary for Blum Reno, located at 1085 S. Virginia St.

E.4 – State Historic Preservation Office Grant

Council unanimously approved a $15,000 grant from the State Historic Preservation Office to be used for contract services to create an analysis of historic properties in the University of Nevada, Reno area. This project will consist of contracting the services of a qualified architectural historian to collect data about the neighborhoods surrounding the university.

H.1 – Senior Citizen Advisory Committee Funds

Council unanimously approved to adopt a Resolution donating $1,000 of Senior Citizen Advisory Committee funds to Homer J’s Senior Dog Sanctuary to defray expenses for dog therapy at nursing homes and other care facilities.

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