By Carla O’Day
The Reno City Council on Wednesday upheld a decision by planning commissioners to deny a map application to a developer in the North Valleys. The developer had petitioned the council to have the commission’s decision overturned.
The appeal of the October vote by the Reno City Planning Commission was sought by Will Roberts of Lansing-Arcus LLC. Tentative plans show the Prado Ranch subdivision with 130 single family residential lots on 36.3 acres north of the Lemmon Drive-Patrician Way junction. The remaining 41 acres would be undeveloped.
The land is owned by North Valleys Investment Group LLC and was annexed into Reno almost a year ago. Previously it was planned to have about 250 homes if it remained in Washoe County.
Planning commissioners expressed concern about the project’s lack of information, particularly with regards to sewer capacity, flood management, roadway expansion and capacity of area schools. Lemmon Valley Elementary School is at 107 percent capacity this year.
“The main concerns were with traffic volumes at the intersection of Lemmon Drive and the future Lear Boulevard, and there was concerns with how the project on Lemmon Drive intersected with the timing of the Regional Transportation Commission’s proposed improvements on Lemmon Drive,” said Jeff Borchardt, city associate planner.
In its appeal, Roberts indicated a traffic study showed the project would add an average of 1,285 daily trips, allowing roads to continue operating at acceptable levels.
He also stated the following:
- Reno and Washoe County are scheduled to have a joint sewer master plan that, if implemented, would increase capacity at the Lemmon Valley Treatment Plant as soon as next year by diverting flows to the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility. If there’s no capacity, the developer would build a new sanitary sewer lift station and force main within the Lear Boulevard alignment to bring discharge to the Reno Stead Sanitary Sewer Treatment Plant.
- Portions of the project fall within a floodplain and would require the site be raised above 4,923.7 feet elevation, requiring mitigation to offset the fill through excavation. Mitigation would also be required for the increased runoff resulting from impermeable surfaces and the company would meet local standards for mitigation by creating excavation of open space areas that will offset the fill and impervious runoff.
- The Washoe County School District, not the city, is responsible for managing overcrowding. The developer is working with the school district to mitigate issues related to the Prado Ranch master plan, but matters of school capacity aren’t the responsibility of developers.
Borchardt said 2,272 dwellings are already in the works in the area, with a potential for more. A school district representative told council members that Lemmon Valley won’t see a new school until the 2020s.
Lemmon Valley resident Rick Snow encouraged council members to affirm the vote by planning commissioners.
“Until Lear Boulevard is put into place, there’s only going to be one entrance and exit into that subdivision,” Snow said. “So, that will put everything onto Patrician Drive next to the school. We already have a traffic situation there, so that’s going to have to be addressed.”
Council members expressed concern about conflicting reports about sewer capacity and how the same developer has several other projects in the area, which makes things hard to analyze on a larger scale.
City staff noted that Prado Ranch could submit a different application in conjunction with another planned unit development or change its existing application. Planning commissioners already approved Prado Ranch’s special use permit for small lot development.
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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.