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Home > Featured > Plan for Verdi-area Homes Questioned by Neighbors

Plan for Verdi-area Homes Questioned by Neighbors

By John Seelmeyer
mortensen ranch location
Google Earth image.

A large residential development proposed on the north side of Interstate 80 just east of Verdi is drawing questions from Somersett residents who don’t like possible construction in an area currently designated as open space.

The plan under review by the planning staff of the City of Reno would allow construction of 676 three- and four-bedroom homes on lots that would average 7,500 square feet.

The property known as Mortensen Ranch is owned by Stan Lucas, a businessman in Long Beach, Calif. He’s working on the project with Fred Altmann, a longtime homebuilder and developer in Reno.

They envision that homes at Mortensen Ranch would be priced from $465,000 to $495,000.

No date has yet been established by city officials for a public hearing on the plan, but residents of the neighboring Somersett community say it appears the plan would allow construction of more than 100 homes in areas that have been previously designated as open space.

“Residents from the Del Webb community are questioning the legality of having a development plan which appears to be in conflict with the city’s zoning map…”

“Residents from the Del Webb community are questioning the legality of having a development plan which appears to be in conflict with the city’s zoning map, as well as a road adjacent to existing homes on Trail Creek. This road leads to proposed homes on a significant ridge line,” said Ken McNeil, one of the neighbors. 

(The Del Webb community, Sierra Canyon, is in Somersett immediately east of Mortensen Ranch.)

The city’s planning staff, too, wants more explanation from the developers about their plans to use land designated as open space for home sites.

In the plan submitted to the city, 709 acres of the property — mostly on higher and steeper slopes — would remain open space after development of home sites on the remaining 246 acres.

The plan calls for construction of a trailhead with parking and a three-acre park, although city officials have said they want to see more detail about the proposed trails system. Access would remain open for a four-wheel-drive trail across the northeast corner of the property.

Summit Engineering Corp. of Reno, which has handled civil engineering for the property, notes in the application with the city that many of the new homes would face south. That would encourage the installation of solar-energy systems.

The engineers also note that the relatively small lots will reduce the resources needed for landscape maintenance.

The project is estimated to generate more than 6,000 vehicle trips each weekday, and the engineers say improvements to handle increased traffic may be needed in the area of Somersett Ridge Parkway and I-80.

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