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Barber: Jacobs pushes the boundaries (again)

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Planning Commission to review their latest request on Feb. 1

Once again we’ve been deluged with snow, and with it, some treacherous low temperatures and conditions. Please stay safe out there and look out for each other.

My last post, Casinos in Context, referred, among other things, to the frustratingly incremental nature by which Jacobs Entertainment has been seeking approvals for various parcels and permits without revealing any overall plan for the enormous amount of real estate they’ve purchased on the west side of downtown Reno. As I’ve stated, it’s a strategy that makes it impossible to accurately gauge the cumulative impact of each individual action, and it just keeps happening, over and over again. 

This week brings yet another request from Jacobs to the Planning Commission, which meets this coming Wednesday, February 1. Item 5.4 on the agenda (view here) is the Jacobs Glow Plaza and Festival Area Amendment, an item that has prompted the nonprofit organization Scenic Nevada to issue a rare alert. If you’re not aware, Scenic Nevada works “to protect the scenic beauty of Nevada’s majestic landscape as well as the scenic character of our communities. This includes billboard and sign control, protecting and supporting scenic byways, advocating for undergrounding power lines, and minimizing the impact of cell towers.” They are truly the community experts on the City’s signage code and you can sign up for their alerts here

The request that prompted this alert (please read it in its entirety here) would amend the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) approved last May for the Glow Plaza and Festival Area by adding the entire Sands parcel to that CUP. The stated intent is to allow the Sands to advertise the Glow Plaza on the massive new digital signagethat will soon be installed on the Sands building. The two planned locations for that signage appear in light blue below. The ground-floor site is a “reader board” in approximately the same location as the old Mel’s Diner marquee. The second is on the side of the hotel tower facing north toward St. Mary’s and Interstate 80—it’s about eight stories high.

The permit for the massive new digital signs was approved by staff last fall (casinos are allowed such signage by right) and the City made the parameters for that signage clear, stating, “Please note the digital displays can only advertise onsite activity.”

So here we are, months later, with Jacobs seeking to redefine the events on the Glow Plaza as “onsite activity” for the Sands by literally adding the Sands to the Glow Plaza’s permitting boundary. Added conditions to the requested amendment clarify that the Sands will not share the other permitted uses approved for the Glow Plaza or vice versa, making this, on the surface at least, solely about signage. (You can view all the conditions here, including the proposed new conditions 24 and 25.)

Read more at The Barber Brief: https://thebarberbrief.substack.com/p/jacobs-pushes-the-boundaries-again

The Barber Brief is an independent, free e-newsletter and blog written by Dr. Alicia Barber on the Substack platform. It is reposted by This Is Reno with her permission.

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