The City of Reno, more than three weeks after its self-imposed deadline, distributed answers to many of the questions community members asked during the Neon Line community meeting Jan. 10.
The two-and-a-half hour meeting was held in response to numerous requests from community members, and City Council Member Naomi Duerr, who have expressed frustration over the lack of opportunities for public input on the project. More than 400 people registered to participate in the virtual town hall.
More than 200 questions were on the list covering affordable housing, the city’s development agreement with Jacobs Entertainment, sustainability, transportation and code enforcement, among others.
Nearly a quarter of the questions were flagged as “commentary” or deemed unanswerable, and just over 10% were directed at someone other than the city – specifically, Jacobs Entertainment – and were left unanswered.
A spokesperson for Jacobs Entertainment said she didn’t believe the developer’s representatives had been given a chance to respond to the questions on the list before it was sent out. They’re working on a “plan of action,” she said.
Some questions city officials answered by indicating that Jacobs Entertainment would be responsible for the decisions.
For example, among the more than 30 questions about affordability and housing, many people wanted to know how many affordable units would be included in the development and how much rents might be.
“At this time, the City is not aware of the exact pricing structures for affordability or the total amounts of affordable housing that would actually be built,” city officials responded.
Jacobs says it plans to build 3,000 units over the next 20 years, but those plans are dependent on the market and financial considerations.
Other questions aimed at Jacobs included when construction will begin, when will units be completed and why the developer hasn’t been more forthcoming about plans for the area.
Many of the details community members have repeatedly asked for were not included in the final list of answers provided.
One participant had asked, “Show me a development plan. What does this look like in 20 years?” to which the city responded, “Jacobs Entertainment has not provided us specifics, rather just a vision for the district.”
More information on the proposed Neon Line District, including recordings of the Jan. 10 community meeting and the full lists of questions and answers is available here.
Kristen Hackbarth is a freelance editor and communications professional with 20 years’ experience working in communications in northern Nevada. Kristen graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in photography and minor in journalism and has a Master of Science in Management and Leadership. In her free time, she is a volunteer backpacking guide along the Tahoe Rim Trail, an avid home cook and baker, cyclist, wife and stepmom.