By Bob Conrad
Attorneys for the City of Reno last week responded to a lawsuit filed in June by the SPCA of Nevada and said the city hasn’t done anything wrong in its approval of a development next door to the animal shelter.
The non-profit organization, which promotes animal welfare and pet adoptions, has its facility off of Dandini Boulevard. Reno Iron Works wants to build a 40,000-square-foot factory next door.
SPCA executive director Jill Dobbs said the city in May approved the Reno Iron Works facility without proper noticing and community input on the potential impacts.
The nonprofit alleged “a large metal fabricating facility next to the SPCA-NN is incompatible with SPCA-NN’s existing use of their property and will negatively impact SPCA-NN’s ability to provide quality care and rehabilitate vulnerable pets,” among other claims.
SPCA sued the city and Reno Iron Works the next month. The case is in Washoe County Second Judicial District Court.
“SPCA-NN did not actually receive the required notice of the Planning Commission meeting, which precluded us from full participation at the March 2 meeting to oppose the project or to research and formulate a more appropriate and thorough opposition statement to the project,” Dobbs wrote in a sworn declaration. “SPCA-NN did not receive the courtesy notice [from the city].”
The city, through Deputy City Attorney Holly Parker, denied any wrongdoing.
“SPCA cannot ignore the extensive evidence presented in the record and considered by City Council during the hearings regarding the impact of the project on SPCA and the animals it shelters,” Parker wrote. “SPCA concedes it received actual notice of the Planning Commission meeting and that its Executive Director, Jill Dobbs, appeared at the meeting and provided public comment regarding how the proposed project would impact SPCA.”
The city further argued the property is zoned for industrial use. Reno Iron Works is being defended by attorney William Peterson.
“It is impossible to argue that compatibility was not considered when, in fact, one of the Councilmen who voted against the project…stated that the use was suitable for the surrounding area,” he wrote.
SPCA alleged animals at its facility will be subject to noise and increased stress as a result of the Reno Iron Works factory.
“No analysis of what the SPCA-NN does or the impacts on its operations and property is provided in the City Staff’s report, despite the fact that SPCA-NN is one of only two neighboring properties to RIW’s proposed facility,” the lawsuit notes.
Council members in April told both parties to work together on a solution.
Reno Iron Works offered to SPCA $100,000 to build a sound wall and to limit the amount of truck traffic to and from its facility. SPCA found a property east of Sparks it suggested for Reno Iron Works’ factory.
The parties failed to find common ground.
“Both parties worked hard to reach an agreement and keep this out of the council chambers again, but unfortunately we are just too far apart,” Dobbs said in May.
SPCA’s attorney filed a motion in June to prevent the court’s Judge Kathleen Drakulich from hearing the case.
“Petitioner SPCA-NN is informed and believes that the Honorable Kathleen Drakulich is the aunt of J.D. Drakulich. J.D. Drakulich, as a member of the Reno Planning Commission, heard evidence, deliberated, and voted upon the matter being presented for review in SPCA-NN’s June 6, 2022 Petition for Judicial Review,” SPCA’s attorney Luke Busby wrote.
(Disclosure: Busby is representing This Is Reno in two public records lawsuits against the city of Reno. He did not comment on this case.)
The city’s planning commission approved the facility, but SPCA appealed the decision to the Reno City Council. The council denied the appeal in May.
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Business news briefs
Tabnie Dozier, journalist and storyteller, announced this week the launch of Tabnie Dozier Enterprises LLC (TDE LLC). She’s leaving behind local news, as a reporter for KOLO Channel 8, and is establishing a presence with Essence Magazine, Today’s Woman Magazine and is spearheading creative direction for Elite Mindset Performance, founded by retired NFL running back Raymont Harris. From written blogs, creative copy materials and press releases to visual video storytelling, mentoring and Mistress of Ceremony (MC) bookings for fundraising and for-profit events, TDE LLC strives to advocate for one’s passion, tell success stories and lead with audacity to live a life without the “what if’s.” Visit tabniedozier.com.
Four get awards at Nevada Cancer Coalition summit. The Nevada Cancer Coalition recently awarded leaders in cancer control. The awardees, which included three individuals and one organization, were recognized for leadership and dedication in supporting cancer prevention, early detection and survivorship efforts in the state. Ivonne Veloza, a case manager at Northern Nevada HOPES, received the Unsung Hero award. Veloza’s work over the past year included finding permanent housing and other support for a Reno man diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. “This year’s award honorees are people and organizations who demonstrate that collaboration can yield results,” Cari Herington, NCC’s executive director, said.
Small Business Administration awards Nevada $500,000. The Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The grant will help provide small businesses with information and tools to support export-related activities, such as participating in foreign trade missions, marketing sales trips, the designing of international marketing campaigns and attending training workshops. “GOED assists Nevada small businesses in capitalizing on tremendous international economic opportunities and unlocking prospects by connecting the state with the world,” said Dijana Mitrovic with GOED.
Department of Labor awards Nevada an equity grant. The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation last week announced the U.S. Department of Labor has approved $4,562,000 for an Unemployment Insurance Equity Grant. The money will provide better access to UI benefits for those who may experience significant barriers to access and those who have been historically underserved, marginalized and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality. “Ensuring equitable access to our unemployment system is a priority to DETR. This grant will help us dedicate greater focus and invest even more on fair and equal access to our services,” said Elisa Cafferata, DETR’s director.
Nevada Gold Mines supports DRI’s robotics education programs. The Nevada Robotics program, launched in 2018, introduces Nevada teachers to the engineering and robotics skills needed to build and program automated and remote-controlled robots with groups of students. Nevada’s educators are able to increase STEM education in classrooms with hands-on robotics training, thanks in part to Nevada Gold Mines, according to the Desert Research Institute. More than 1,200 educators have been trained in educational robotics. “Robotics is an amazing way to spark a lifelong interest in STEM, teamwork, and creative problem solving for students of all ages,” said Christine Keener, chief operating officer, Barrick North America.
Sierra Pacific Federal Credit Union today announced the appointment of Leslie Ramsdell as vice president. Ramsdell has more than 21 years of experience with the credit union having most recently served as director of operations. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Leslie throughout my entire tenure here at Sierra Pacific, and I am pleased to announce her appointment as vice president of our organization,” said CEO Jim Hunting. “She has played an integral part in Sierra Pacific’s growth and will be instrumental as we continue to expand and improve.”
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR.