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City to consider giving Jacobs Entertainment alleyway to build condos

By Bob Conrad

Downtown alleyway abandonments are on the agenda for the Reno City Council meeting Wednesday. Jacobs Entertainment wants two alleyways owned by the city for its development in west downtown.

Development plans are murky or they do not exist. But the Colorado-based company’s gobbling up of properties to create the so-called Neon Line District in the area continues.

“The Jacob’s Entertainment land holding companies own or have options to purchase the majority of the block bound by Ralston Street and Arlington Avenue and West Second Street and the railroad right-of-way,” city staff noted in the meeting’s agenda. “The abandonment request facilitates redevelopment of a downtown city block. The applicant has submitted an application for a tentative map to establish 64 residential condominium units on the corner of Arlington Avenue and West Second Street.”

That’s for one alleyway. The second alleyway is between Fifth and Fourth Streets at Ralston Street. The reason for the second alleyway abandonment was not specified.

“Abandonments create private property and are subject to property tax. An approved abandonment would remove the streets and alley from the City’s funding and maintenance responsibilities,” city staff noted.

Jacobs Entertainment’s lack of details about its development was noted in public comment expressing opposition to one of the land giveaways.

“Without any certainty of what eventually Jacobs will build on the parcels adjoining the alley (their representative could not say for sure what will be built), I feel it is premature to be asking for this abandonment at this time,” one commenter wrote. “For example, if a residential structure is built, who is to say where cars will access an interior garage and, thus, how the abandonment of the alley will affect the flow of traffic.”

A public meeting co-hosted by the city and Jacobs is scheduled for Monday, January 10, 2022. 

A private clean-up crew was hired by NDOT to remove a homeless camp near Interstate 80 on June 2, 2020. Image: Eric Marks
A private clean-up crew was hired by NDOT to remove a homeless camp near Interstate 80 on June 2, 2020. Image: Eric Marks / This Is Reno

$100,000 proposed to cleanup homeless encampments with NDOT

The city is also seeking up to $100,000 from the state for homeless camp cleanups. An agenda item list for “outreach and maintenance collaboration” to address what city staff say are increasing complaints about encampments on state property.

“Reno Direct has … seen an escalation in citizen service requests related to NDOT properties,” staff noted. “In 2020, 38 service requests were received compared to 162 service requests in 2021, a 326% increase year-to-year.”

NDOT approached the city to address the encampments.

“This agreement will permit the [city of Reno’s] Clean and Safe team to lead efforts that swiftly address public health and safety concerns due to encampment activity,” staff noted. “NDOT will continue to use their contracted maintenance service provider, GreyMar Environmental Inc., and the Nevada State Police will take the lead on enforcement efforts, as needed.”

City staff time will be reimbursed each month for their work coordinate with state resources for a year.

The Reno city council meets Wednesday at 10 a.m.

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