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County agrees to settle lawsuit surrounding development in Lemmon Valley


The site of the Lakes at Lemmon Valley subdivision. Image: Google Earth

Terms of a negotiated settlement in regard to a planned subdivision in Lemmon Valley were approved Tuesday by Washoe County commissioners, who opposed the development and noted the judge had no background in planning.

The case surrounds Lakes at Lemmon Valley LLC’s plans to create a 98-single-family home subdivision on 34 acres near the intersection of Military Road and Lemmon Drive.

County commissioners denied the development in November 2018 due to access issues that include right-in/right-out, U-turn inefficiency, and bus access difficulties. Right in/right-outs are types of three-way intersections that permit only right turns.

Lakes at Lemmon Valley then took the county to court and District Judge Barry Breslow sided with the developer, saying such issues don’t justify the denial of the planning application. Washoe County then appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court last summer.

A settlement conference was held at the Supreme Court last month, with Commissioners Jeanne Herman and Bob Lucey in attendance.

Terms of the settlement include withdrawal and dismissal of the county’s appeal, prohibiting units from being sold in the subdivision prior to December 2021 and requiring the developer put in a median device approved by the Regional Transportation Commission. Lakes at Lemmon Valley must also waive all claims for damages that arise out of litigation and both parties would bear their own legal fees.

Some Lemmon Valley residents showed up to oppose the court settlement, noting the area lacks infrastructure to support new development.

“This commission voted to oppose this and the judge is the one who overthrew our decision,” Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler said. “The decision was made by a judge with no planning experience.”


May 2018 – The Washoe County Planning Commission denied the Lakes at Lemmon Valley’s application because it found requirements for access to the development weren’t satisfied according to code.

November 2018 – The Lakes then appealed to the Board of County Commissioners, which sided with planning commissioners.

December 2018 – The Lakes filed a petition for judicial review in Second Judicial District Court and oral arguments were heard in July.

July 2019 – Oral arguments were heard July 11. On July 19, the court issued an order requiring the county to approve the tentative map.

August 2019 – Washoe County commissioners direct the District Attorney to file an appeal.

December 2019 – Washoe County commissioners accept terms of negotiated settlement, which include withdrawing their appeal.

Carla O'Day
Carla O'Day
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.