Developers of the North Valleys development, StoneGate, have rescinded their offer to donate $50,000 toward building tiny homes as transitional housing for Reno’s homeless.
“To avoid becoming an unnecessary distraction to the Reno City Council and out of an abundance of caution, my partners and I have decided to re-direct our pledge to the tiny homes initiative to other worthy philanthropic projects aimed at solving the growing homelessness and housing shortage challenges in the City of Reno,” developer Don Pattalock wrote yesterday to Reno City Council members.
The developers said that they are working with Volunteers of America, which runs Reno’s homeless shelters, “for the most productive use of the funds.”
The announcement comes in the wake of a letter sent by Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus to Councilwoman Neoma Jardon. Brekhus requested that Jardon abstain from voting on StoneGate because of the donation announcement.
“The very appearance that a quid pro quo arrangement of a significant monetary commitment, even to a worthwhile civic cause, in return for a public official’s support for a
development request is not acceptable,” Brekhus wrote in a letter to Jardon.
But Jardon was cleared by City Attorney Karl Hall of any conflict of interest.
“Even though there is no conflict, as confirmed by the City Attorney, StoneGate has chosen to redirect their $50k away from the tiny homes for the homeless project,” Jardon said. “It is unfortunate that Brekhus called into question the intent of this contribution toward a very worthy initiative.
“And the homeless are ultimately the ones to suffer. The generosity of many in our community should not be called into question, but rather celebrated.”
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.