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Help Washoe Valley

From a member of the Washoe Valley Working Group:

“As it says in the flyer,  the East Washoe Valley working group & the West Washoe Homeowners Association have hired a private attorney, Tom Hall, to represent Washoe Valley citizens’ interests in  two lawsuits regarding the TMSA application for municipal sewer and water that could, & probably would, lead to high density development in Washoe Valley.  Tom is well versed in water and land issues.  One lawsuit concerns the Weston property, 1 full section above Little Washoe Lake behind the power lines at the top of the hill going east.  The rest is explained in the flyer.  If you donate it would be wise to put “for the WV legal defense fund” at the bottom so you can deduct it on your taxes and would be used only for that fund.  Thank you!”


South Valleys Area Plan Update

The South Valleys Area Plan was approved by the
Regional Planning Governing Board
on May 14, 2009

•    Strong vision and mission statements to maintain the rural character
of Washoe Valley
•    One house per five acres for East Washoe Valley including
Ophir Lake Properties (no specific plan for Mr. Weston)
•    One house per ten acres for West Washoe Valley with encouragement for ongoing agricultural land use
•    Defined commercial area boundaries with limited expansion
•    Compatible Allowed Uses for the commercial area
•    Language that shows the support Washoe County and the
Regional Planning Commission for a scenic byway
A fourteen mile Washoe Valley State Scenic Byway has been approved by the Nevada Department of Transportation.
Please check washoevalley.org for updates.
Goal not met:       The South Valleys Area Plan does not keep the TMSA out of Washoe Valley. Mr. Weston has a TMSA request for public water and sewer for his entire 640 acres.  Negotiations are in progress to limit his TMSA access to the north of the hydrographic basin line (currently being surveyed) on the property.  The TMSA request will be heard before the end of this year.
Please check washoevalley.org for updates.
Thank you to Commissioner David Humke; Washoe County Community Development; East and West Washoe Valley CAB members; the Washoe Valley Working Group members; and to the dedication and spirit of the entire Washoe Valley community.
Special thanks to washoevalley.org for keeping us informed.

Freeway Progressing

Just got our newsletter about the freeway extension. It’s a good reminder to check out their cool website at


SVAP Passed By County

According to emails we’ve received, the South Valley’s Area Plan was passed by the County Commissioners at their last meeting on April 8th. Don’t know the particulars but we hear the Washoe Valley Working Group folks put on a great presentation. Word is that the Regional Planning Board will consider it again in May.

If anyone involved would like to send in some info on the status of the SVAP, we’d be glad to share it.

East WV CAB Followup

Sarah Tone, County Outreach Coordinator for the Citizen’s Advisory Board (CAB) process, sent these clarifications on march’s CAB meeting:

Regarding the South Valley ’s Area Plan, Washoe County is filing a letter of objection with the Regional Planning Commission (RPC). The letter will outline the reasons for conformance to the regional plan. The RPC approved the finding of conformance by a 5-4 vote; however, the action requires a 2/3 majority. Thus it was a technical denial. It is arguable that the reasons given for the denial was based on information not related or included in the South Valley ’s Area Plan and also not technically sound.  If the item is not approved at the RPC, staff will appeal the decision to the Regional Planning Governing Board. We understand that this is frustrating for all who have spent countless hours working on this plan. We will continue to keep you up to date on important meetings and events.

§         There is no cap on the total number of septic systems in Washoe Valley .

SVAP Passes – In A Good Way!

County Commissioners tonight finally passed the South Valleys Area Plan- the guide for development in Washoe Valley for the coming years. Members of the East and West CAB’s, the “Washoe Valley Working Group” and others worked for years with the county planning commission to craft a plan that will retain the historic, environmental, scenic and rural character of our unique valley.

The insatiable Reno/Sparks sprawl has been halted at the entrance of the valley and we can continue to enjoy the quality of life that has been lost in other areas of the county and region. Recently a billboard in Reno bragged “The New Meaning of Ranch” over a photo of a sea of rooftops in Double Diamond Ranch. Thankfully, “ranch” in Washoe Valley will still mean horses, livestock, pastures and room to roam.

We will be posting more details on the plan as passed in the near future.

Some comments emailed to the editor:

“Tonight the Board of County Commissioners approved the South Valleys Area Plan including the Washoe Valley section with no more than the maximum allowed density for the Weston property.  The Board approved Option C, MDR ( 1 unit per 5 acres).  This rural land use designation does NOT require Washoe County services, TMSA.  It does NOT threaten our rural way-of-life.  Development Constraints & other important considerations will limit the number of units to the appropriate number.

MANY, MANY THANKS to all who attended, e-mailed, wrote, phoned and in other ways supported our wonderful Washoe Valley and our rural lifestyle.  The four long years the Washoe Valley Working Group and others have spent developing an acceptable plan for our Valley have not been wasted.  It could not have happened without your input and support.

My appreciation and heartfelt thanks to every one of you.

Carol Christensen
Washoe Valley Working Group


“Hi Rick!
I’m happily informing the whole Washoe Valley that the South Valley’s Area Plan has passed tonight at the Board of County Commissioners meeting with Option C (112 potential lots, 90 likely lots considering slope & roads) being adopted instead of Option A as Weston wanted (176 potential lots, 141 likely lots).  Option A required TMSA (Truckee Meadows Services Area) on the Pleasant Valley side.  Option C is only septic & wells, 1 house per 5 acres throughout his property, and NO TMSA!  Our Valley is saved from our rural character being destroyed!  No options for denser developments!  The East & West Washoe Valleys and working groups are SO HAPPY!
When you see Bill & Marilyn Naylor, Carol Christensen, Monica Frank,
bob Rusk, or Susan Juetten, please thank them from the bottoms of your hearts.  They were the main individuals crafting & perfecting this plan.  Others who worked hard on it also to thank are Dave Harrison, Gary Houk, Tom Callicrate, and Jane Countryman.
Thank you Commissioner Humke for proposing the SVAP with Option C!  Washoe Valley citizens, the Washoe Working groups, and CAB’s all thank you SO MUCH for standing behind the valley & supporting us!
Thank you all Washoe Valley residents for coming to the meeting!  You made a great impact on the Commissioners!  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you
Respectfully submitted,
Ann York, East Washoe Valley CAB member”

Gourley Dam Update

The Gourley Dam at Joy Lake was discussed at the last Galena/Steamboat CAB and this is the transcript from that meeting. Residents are concerned about why some are required to get building permits and apparently others are not. Also, the potential of a dambreak is a concern of downstream residents.

Scroll down or search for “dam” for more dam information!

Gourley Dam discussion at the CAB:

Special Use Permit SB08-015 (Ted H. and Julie R. Gourley Trust) – Stacie Huggins, Wood Rodgers, Inc
presented the request to legalize the previous grading, excavation, and disturbance of approximately 154,355
square feet (±3.54 acres) on three (3) adjoining parcels as authorized in Article 810 of the Washoe County
Development Code. The subject properties are located south and west of St. James Village; approximately ½
mile from the intersection of Pine Wild Road and Joy Lake Road. The subject parcels total approximately ±46.22-
acres and are designated General Rural (GR) in the Forest Area Plan, and are situated in the E ½ and SE ¼ of
Section 15, T17N, R19E, MDM, Washoe County, Nevada. The properties are located in the Galena-Steamboat
Citizen Advisory Board boundary and Washoe County Commission District No. 2. (APNs 046-190-12, 049-190-
13 and 046-190-14) Staff Representative: Trevor Lloyd, Senior Planner, 775.328.3620 Applicant/Property
Owner:Ted Gourley, Gourley Family Trust was available to address questions and concerns. Professional
Consultant, Melissa Lindell Wood Rodgers, Inc. was not in attendance. Tentatively scheduled for the Board of
Adjustment on December 4, 2008. MOTION: Ron Penrose moved to recommend denial of SB08-015 Gourley
Trust and direct staff to review this project for structural integrity and dam safety, jurisdictional permitting
authority, legitimacy of water rights, legal review by County legal staff regarding sanctions, pollution control
permits, flood controls and review of public comments. John McLelland seconded the motion. Mr. Penrose
added the request that staff provide a report and action plan to the CAB in on steps for public safety. John
McLelland seconded the addition. The motion carried with Dennis Wilson voting in opposition.
Comments and Concerns
• In response to concerns raised, Ms. Huggins assured the CAB and community that the excavation was done
to County Code although it was done without a permit.
• In response to questions raised, Sarah Tone stated that the staff report will not be written until the CAB has
reviewed the application and formed an opinion.
• Questions were raised whether the applicant was provided with a field inspection report. Mr. Gourley stated
that he hired NorTech.
• Ron Penrose asked that the report be forwarded to Washoe County staff. Ms. Huggins stated that Wood
Rodgers has the compaction report.
• In response to questions raised, Mr. Gourley stated that he did not contact Washoe County Air Quality
regarding dust controls.
• Robert Parker stated concern regarding the integrity of the dam. Mr. Parker stated that the State of Nevada
would inspect the dam. Mr. Parker stated that the water rights are for 14 acre feet per year. Mr. Parker also
stated concern that the area of the lake that has no circulation could present a health hazard. Mr. Parker
stated concern that the project was done without any permits or notification to the public. Mr. Parker
cautioned that since the applicant did not get the required permits for the project whether he would comply
with any restrictions that would be placed on the property.
• Roy King stated concern that the lake has doubled in size and the applicant cut down trees without a permit.
Mr. King stated that per aerial views of the stated diseased trees that were cut down, they did not look
• Ginger Pierce raised questions regarding the integrity of the dam should there be a seismic event.
• John McLelland stated opposition to the applicant doing the project without permits and inspections.
• Robert Parker stated that Washoe City is below the dam would be in danger of floods.
• Robert Parker provided letters from Dr. Joel G. and Ms. Sandra D. Verner, St. James Village, Terry Dolan
and John Marian for the record.
• Kip Seckington, St. James Village HOA read his statement into the record. Mr. S asked the CAB to
recommend denial of the SUP until such time that… and post a sufficient bond.
• Donna Peterson, home owner, board member and Neighborhood Watch/Emergency Coordinator in St.
James’s Village read her statement into the record. asked the CAB to recommend denial of the SUP until
such time that… and post a sufficient bond.
• Rick Riley, President HOA Jeffrey Pines stated that he contacted Washoe County on several occasions and
was told that the project would be looked into but that was never confirmed. Mr. Riley stated concern that a
dam collapse would be hazardous to adjacent residential properties. Mr. Riley noted that there has not been
any erosion controls and flood waters would channel into Joy Creek destroying bridges, roadways and private
property. Mr. Riley asked that the CAB recommend that the Special Use Permit be denied and that Washoe
County require that the lake be drained immediately prior to winter weather conditions.
• Paul Grace, President of Galena Pines Association asked how many acre feet the dam would hold before
water spills over the top. Mr. Grace reminded the audience of a retention basin in the Callahan Ranch area
that flooded several residential properties during a storm event.
• Jeff Quinn, St. James’s Village asked why Mr. Gourley why he proceeded with the project without permits and
what is in place at Washoe County to reprimand or fine violations.
• Mr. Gourley stated that there is a spillway on the dam and there is a maximum of 13 acre feet capacity. Mr.
Gourley stated that if the dam broke, it would only lose approximately 1 or 2 acre feet.
• Lynn Mundt stated that the concerns of residents be forwarded to Washoe County and there should be no
approvals given until property owners are assured that the project meets all specifications. Ms. Mundt stated
that a debris flow has been more damaging than just water flows.
• Concerns were raised regarding site work that has been done on the subject parcel along Brown’s Creek.
Mr. Goruley stated that the work done at the north end of the property has been permitted.
• Concerns were raised regarding the apparent practice of developers to violate the law be not obtaining
permits and ask for ‘forgiveness’ after the fact. Sarah Tone reviewed the process and also confirmed that
violators can be fined and possible serve jail time.
• In response to questions raised, Mr. Gourley stated that the primary reason for the lake is to be available to
fight wildfire.
• Concerns were raised regarding the amount of malfeasance of engineering firms who do not advise clients
that they need permits and also the lack of
Greg Bishoff, builder in St. James’s Village discussed the permit requirements and also the process for work
that has been done without a permit.
• Ms. Huggins was asked for the date that Wood Rodgers was hired to work on this project.
• Dennis Wilson recommended that the Attorney General be asked to deal with the legalities of the project and
would the Special Use Permit have been issues before this project was started. Mr. Wilson also stated that
there should be a form of penalization for completing this project without permits.
• Robert Penrose asked that the excavated dirt on-site be looked at by the Health Department for compliance
with dust controls.

Residents Urged To Attend SVAP Meeting

Jeff over at MtRoseScenicCorridor.com has been doing a great job getting the word out on current development events just over the hill to the north along the Mt Rose Highway. Topics include the “Forest Area PLan”, sprawl, an unpermitted dam that could endanger Washoe Valley, and developers who are delinquent on their taxes among other concerns. Those interested in the fate of Washoe Valley would do well to follow the concerns of our neighbors to the north as many issues we have are common to other areas of the county.

Jeff communicates via an email newsletter and to get on the list, email him at savemtrose@earthlink.net.

Our East Washoe Valley CAB chair sent the following information to Jeff regarding the South Valleys Area Plan (SVAP) status which we will reprint here:

BCC sent the SVAP back to staff to be re-drafted to meet certain conditions;
To meet with the SVAP working group and to work out an option for Weston that was between 15 and 176 units.
To state that there would be no TMSA moved into Washoe Valley
To make a statement that explained the RGB’s emphasis on northward growth and not southward
The planning staff came back with several options including the W/Gs (Washoe Valley Working Group) preference for an MDR zoning which is in keeping with the Rural Development Areas (Washoe Valley) guidlines.
The Planning Commission after hearing the options (and the viewpoints of Adrian Fruend)
chose the option with the most density, no buffer to prevent the incursion of the TMSA (we had hoped at least to make sure that no parcel extended into the Washoe Valley hydrographic basin with the intent of defeating the contiguity necessary to add more TMSA)
This option is actually somewhat vague as to what number of units can actually be accomplished but generally opts for 176 and would require TMSA.
Staff made no reference to the other two items except that Director Fruend emphasised that in his opinion the TMSA would be coming to Washoe Valley anyway and that it would not be a bad thing (ignoring the fact that it would then open the doors for further development)
After the ruling Chairman Weber gave a long condemnation of the W/G and the Washoe Valley residents for continuing to challenge the process and their rulings.
It is my understanding that though in it’s previous form the BCC (Board of County Commissioners) could not alter the PC’s (Planning Commission’s) recommentations, in it’s current form they can chose to alter the staff and PC’s recommendations regarding density should they desire.
Therefore it is important that all concerned citizens express their views, by whatever means possible ie: letters, emails, speaking at the BCC meeting on the 9th or just showing up there.
I’d be happy to answer whatever further questions you may have.
Thank you very much
Dave Harrison

SVAP To Be Approved

The South Valleys Area Plan as it applies to Washoe Valley is expected to be approved by the county commissioners at their December 9th meeting at the county facility on 9th Street in Reno. We hear the local folks working with the county on “getting it right” wish for a large public turnout at this meeting but we have not heard the particulars yet. We will keep you posted. The meeting will start at 5:30 pm.

Water Measure Fails in Washoe Valley

According to this article in the RGJ, the water intiative that passed overwhelmingly, 73 to 27 percent in the election, was rejected by the majority of voters in two precincts, Washoe Valley and Spanish Springs. This surprises me, what with the concerns for the health to our valley tied so closely to water. The article goes on to say that “Washoe County Officials” will meet in January to discuss the implications of the new measure.