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Reno Council denies appeal on Verdi-area project


Led by a strongly displeased Neoma Jardon, the Reno City Council shot down an appeal from the developer who hopes to build 676 homes on 955 acres near Verdi, just west of Somersett.

Jardon, who represents the Verdi and Somersett areas, said developers of the Mortensen Ranch project appear to have willfully misled Somersett residents about their plans as recently as last summer.

Back then, residents were told that 470 homes were planned.  The number of homesites then jumped by more than 30 percent — up to 676 — when developers filed for city approval.

Coucil member Neoma Jardon.

“This project, and the way it has been handled, is the poster child for how not to do it,” Jardon said.

Veteran Reno developer Fred Altmann, who has joined with property owner Stan Lucas of Long Beach, Calif., on the project, said the lower figure represented only a tentative proposal for preliminary discussion.

Jardon complained, too, that she’s heard threats from the developers that they plan legal action after their proposal was denied by the Reno Planning Commission. The unanimous City Council vote a few days ago affirmed the Planning Commission’s denial. 

Legal threats, Jardon said, bring to an end her willingness to negotiate a plan for Mortensen Ranch that meets the needs of nearby residents as well as those of the developers. She said development of homes at Mortensen Ranch is a certainty — a reality that Somersett residents accept.

Nearby residents were strongly opposed, however, to the recent plan by Altmann and Lucas. Their concerns included increased traffic, loss of open space, deep cuts in hillsides to allow road construction and pressures on fire and police protection.

The City Council vote sends the developers back to the drawing board to prepare new plans for the land.

John Seelmeyer
John Seelmeyer
John Seelmeyer is a business writer and editor in Reno. In his 40-year career, he has edited publications in Nevada, Colorado and California and written several thousand published articles about business and finance.