The longstanding, and long-debated, Truckee Meadows Public Lands Management Act is up again for public input.
The bill has been presented to the public on and off for years, most recently by Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson who last year told This Is Reno he wanted to see the bill introduced into Congress by the end of last year.
That did not happen.
The bill was also discussed just before COVID-19 hit the United States. More than 100 people turned out to the Reno-Sparks Convention Center to provide feedback on the bill, and most of them were opposed to it.
Washoe County today pushed out an announcement for the public to weigh in on new maps and possible land transfers proposed as part of the bill.
People can visit the Washoe County complex building A from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 24, to provide feedback.
Conservation groups have been opposed to the bill, saying it’s a land grab for developers.
About 15,000 acres are proposed for sale and development. The lands bill website indicates tribes will gain more than 20,000 acres of land under the bill.
“The land would be sold for no less than fair market value. The development of the land would also need to comply with all current zoning and planning requirements, including review by the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency and the jurisdiction that the land is being developed in,” the lands bill website maintains.
The website further states one of the goals of the lands bill is to address housing demand and affordability.
“This proposal will increase the permanent conservation of land in Washoe County by permanently designating: 223,109 acres as Wilderness Areas, 456,292 acres as National Conservation Areas, 36,405 acres as a Special Management Area, and 3,881 acres as a Cultural Heritage Area to be co-managed by local Tribes and the Bureau of Land Management,” the website reads.
Lawson said getting the bill, which is being pushed by U.S. Jacky Rosen (D), passed is urgent.
“We’re out of land in Sparks. It’s just that simple. We don’t have a place to grow except to grow up an that gets expensive,” Lawson said.