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Developer who wanted to build 600 homes on Ballardini Ranch faces setback in court

By Bob Conrad
Evans Creek LLC property -- recently burned by the Pinehaven Fire -- adjacent to McCarran Boulevard in southwest Reno. Image: Bob Conrad / This Is Reno.

A hillside at Manzanita and McCarran Boulevard won’t be seeing up to 600 homes on it any time soon after a federal judge partially dismissed the case filed by a developer against the City of Reno.

The Reno City Council denied an annexation attempt by the developer in part because the hillside is prone to fire. 

Three major fires have ripped through the area: the Pinehaven Fire of 2020, the Caughlin Fire in 2011 and the Pine Haven Fire in 2006.

“If we annexed it at some future date, then it would become our responsibility as a city to serve that area,” Councilmember Devon Reese said last year.

The developer said local government and citizens are conspiring against the company.

“By refusing to annex the subject property based on a handful of pretextual reasons—an extraordinary event which rarely, if ever, occurs—the City eviscerated any chance Evans Creek had to develop its land for commercial use and drove its economic value—literally—into the ground,” Evans Creek attorney’s alleged.

U.S. District Court Judge Miranda Du’s ruling on the case leaves open the possibility for future legal action. 

“While the City argues that its decision to deny the Application was rationally related to legitimate government interests, Plaintiff argues the proper question is whether the City’s decision to treat it differently from other similarly situated property owners was rationally related to a legitimate government interest,” she ruled on Tuesday. “Plaintiff does not provide any factual support for how the City subjected Plaintiff to unique treatment that it did not require of other property owners whose applications were granted.

“As pleaded, the Complaint lacks factual support to plausibly allege that Plaintiff is similarly situated to all other property owners in Washoe County who applied for annexation,” Du added.

Reno’s motion to dismiss the case was only partially granted by Du. Evans Creek can file an amended complaint within 30 days.

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