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Development Meeting March 1st

Take your date out to dinner in Reno and also attend this meeting on the encroachment of Reno City Limits on Washoe Valley.

They haven’t posted an agenda for the meeting yet but I will post it (if) and when they do. If anyone has any other info, send it to washoevalley@gmail.com and I will post it.

Here’s some info Jill Mueller submitted on Nextdoor:

I don’t know if any of you made it to Wednesday’s meeting at the South Valleys Library where we heard Bob Lucey, our Commissioner here in Washoe Valley speak about what’s happening in Pleasant Valley, but I did. It was an eye opener!

In a nutshell, the City of Reno, by law, without allowing people in the area to have a voice, can annex land for sale with just a corner of it touching the City of Reno limits. And this is just what they are doing in Pleasant Valley all around the Hot Springs, so that they can rezone it for a land developer from California to buy it and plant houses and apartments.

There is also a law around the end of the city limits called a Sphere of Influence. That’s somthing like a 150′ leeway to help them add more later on.

City status has with it attached, sewers, city water, sidewalks and street lights, and most definently a way of life that is totally different from what we love here in Washoe Valley. Could even mean rezoning out here and no more horses.

I hope you can see that the saying: “Give them an inch and they will take a mile” would ultimately effect us too.

I believe we ALL need to stand up for our rural lifestyle here and SUPPORT THOSE PEOPLE IN PLEASANT VALLEY. our neighbors.

What we can do NOW is:
1. Call all our Senators and Assemblymen and tell them to look at the annexation law and change it so we have a voice in rural Nevada. and
2. Plan to just come to the Reno City Hall on March 1 at 6 PM to show support of the Pleasant Valley home owners. Bring Reno friends too if they believe in having Rural Nevada.

Commissioner Bob Lucey: Cell 775-501-0001, email blucey@washoecounty.us

Billboard and Lighted Sign Threat

Editor’s Note: We got this too late for the stated meeting but we want residents to be aware of this issue and let your supervisor’s know this is not acceptable for Washoe Valley.

County Shifts Position; Adds Potential for New billboards

What: Open house to review county’s new draft sign code
Where: Washoe County Complex, 1001 East Ninth Street, Reno
When: Thursday, November 6; 5 to 7 p.m.

Scenic Nevada is opposing the draft sign code being previewed by the public Thursday.

The draft would allow new billboards and digital billboards within the unincorporated county areas, which Scenic Nevada strongly opposes, including a special digital sign for one local business.

The changes are a monumental shift from the current code, which prohibits all new billboards including digitals. The draft was developed by county staff, with direction from county commissioners and feedback from a stakeholders’ group that included Scenic Nevada. Throughout the sessions, begun a year ago, we consistently objected to proposed regulations, allowing new billboards.

The public is invited to the open house and staff will be on hand to answer questions. Comment cards also will be available or email Trevor Lloyd at tlloyd@washoecounty.us

Billboards will have a new name
If approved, the county will call all signs on polls “freestanding” signs, even billboards. Anyone who gets a permit for one can choose to advertise their own business on the sign or sell advertising space, just like a billboard. Business owners could lease space to a billboard company on their property to erect a sign and run changeable ads.

The changes were driven largely by staff’s desire to simplify the sign code and create a “content neutral” approach, requested by county counsel to avoid court challenges by those claiming free speech violations. Billboards most often advertise the goods or services not sold on the property, while on-premise signs advertise the business on the property. Staff won’t be looking at the sign content to determine if it’s a billboard or a business sign.

Under the draft, only one freestanding sign is allowed for each parcel, and this, plus the smaller size could limit their use as billboards.

But, adding digital signs to the mix, which could electronically flash rotating ads every 20 seconds, increases the possibility that business signs could be used as digital billboards.

Also the regulations for freestanding signs are more relaxed than billboard regulations. For instance, freestanding signs can be spaced 75 feet apart under the draft rules. Billboards must be spaced 1,000 feet apart under the current code.

Big Signs for Big Business
At first staff said the signs would range in size from a mere four square feet in residential areas to 200 square feet for larger recreational, industrial and commercial businesses. Digital signs would be allowed but could only be half the size of what is permitted at the business and no bigger than 120 square feet. Digitals also require a public hearing and approval of a special use permit. Digital signs on parcels that have residential and agricultural uses are prohibited. Originally, the larger, conventionally-sized billboards, ranging from 300 to 672 square feet, also were prohibited.
That changed when staff eliminated billboard regulations in July and then in August when County Commissioners Vaughn Hartung and Kitty Jung asked for larger signs for “regional” types of land uses. Staff added new regulations, allowing signs of unlimited size for regional recreation, travel and tourism venues, with a special use permit from the county.
The commission’s new direction for bigger signs would allow local businessman Norm Dianda to erect a conventionally-sized digital billboard. Before the commission’s request, the draft code could have permitted a digital billboard for Mr. Dianda, but it would have been limited in size and had to be located at the venue.

Now, the draft code says applicants who want a sign over 300 square feet and who operate a big recreational or tourist venue can apply to the county commission. Mr. Dianda owns the Wild West Motorsports Park in the county’s East Truckee Canyon area, which qualifies him to apply.
The Wild West venue is blocked by hillsides and can’t be seen by motorists on Interstate 80. Incredibly, staff added a regulation that a larger sign could be permitted either on the “regional” property or one adjacent, if it is next to a highway, and zoned industrial or commercial. Mr. Dianda also owns the industrial property adjacent to the Wild West venue and next to I80. Under the draft code, Mr Dianda could win approvals for the first conventionally-sized digital billboard in the unincorporated County area.
Impacts on McCarran Ranch Project
The Wild West Motorsports Park is located on the north side of I80 across from the restored McCarran Ranch Project. The Nature Conservancy spent $25 million to restore the natural meanders to the Truckee River, removing noxious weeds and planting native vegetation, “revitalizing a broken river for people and nature.” It includes a nine-mile public bike path and a bird and wildlife sanctuary. Mr. Dianda’s sign could operate, 24/7, flashing bright ads in the dark night sky, depended on by nearby wildlife and migrating birds.
Possible Court Challenges

Scenic Nevada believes the code changes will open the door to court challenges, ironically, something county counsel wanted to avoid. The county risks jeopardizing the sign code, if a new digital billboard is permitted for one applicant who fits the “regional” use type and rejected for another who does not. Anyone refused a permit for a billboard under the draft regulations likely will sue the county alleging first amendment, due process and equal protection violations.

It’s unlikely the litigious billboard industry will stand for being shut out of the most lucrative advertising locations in the county; I80 and the newly constructed I580. The industry was knocking at the door at the beginning of the process almost a year ago, when the county agreed to update the sign code. But, county commissioners said then they didn’t want new billboards, new locations or digital billboards. Commissioners had said the bright flashing signs would dim the dark night sky, were unsightly and a distraction to drivers.

Scenic Nevada’s Requests

Scenic Nevada this week asked the county for the following:

To reinstate both sections of the code providing needed regulations for billboards and on-premise business signs, which were tossed in favor of the new draft, Article 505.
Add reasonable changes developed over the past year and included in a chart to regulate business digital and non-digital signs.
Eliminate all the special interest regulations regarding “regional” uses.
Prohibit new billboards, relocations and digital billboards.
Staff said changes likely will be made to the draft as it continues through the public process. The county will hold another stakeholders meeting and a second open house; then get county planning commission recommendations before the draft heads to the county commissioners for final approval.

Garden Group Plans Pot Luck

Hi Gardeners –

Well, the weather sure changed last night. Now we’re actually into fall – maybe even winter. I hope you were able to save what was still in your gardens. What an amazing fall we’ve had.

The Fall Potluck is scheduled for Saturday evening, November 12 at 6:30 pm. Betty and Ron Hicks have graciously offered their home for the potluck. Please invite all your friends and neighbors and gardener-wanna-bees to come and just see how much fun we have. Bring a dish to share with everyone and come and just enjoy the company.

If there are valley residents who have hesitated coming to the Garden Group because they don’t have time for gardening or just don’t feel like they know enough, this would be a great time to introduce them to fellow gardeners and what is possible here. The 4 years Bill and I have been gardening here has been a process of trial-and-error and finding out what can work. And each garden is different based on what the gardener does also. We don’t have control over the weather, but much is possible with a little effort.

I’m attaching the flyer for the potluck. Please print out and share with your neighbors. I look forward to seeing you all there.

BTW, I received the minutes from the last CAB meeting for East Washoe Valley. They are sent out from Washoe County offices. If you want me to send you the email I received so that you may also be on their email list (and it also has the minutes attached), let me know and I’ll forward to you.

Warm regards,


Donna Murphy-Sharp

photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33173530@N03/

Washoe Valley Wind Controversy

KOLO8 had this on their site:
“”I’ve seen a lot of accidents those big trucks just go right over,” a Washoe Valley resident said.

The Nevada Department of Transportation held a meeting Monday to get input on where truck traffic should be diverted once the highway is moved from the valley to the hillside.

Currently, wind forces trucks to be diverted from the highway through the valley, but alternate valley routes aren’t without problems.

“It’s a solid stream of traffic and you can’t get out of your driveway and you can’t get off of the side streets.”

NDOT is considering once most traffic is moved to the hillside, whether trucks could stay on the main route through the Washoe Valley instead of being detoured.

But some at the meeting said when the wind is severe, high-profile vehicles shouldn’t be allowed on any roads.

“You’ve got to make it clear to the truckers they’re not using the freeways and not using the roads when there’s a major wind going on,” a resident said.

But Wendy Mickle, who works for a bus company, said the journey through the valley can be made safely.

“Our drivers are all mountain trained… a lot of them live in the area.”

The highway will be moved in a year to the hillside.”

My question is: what “hillside” and how is traffic going to be diverted there?

March EWV CAB Meeting Report

Neither the Washoe County Sheriff’s Dpt. nor the Reno Fire Dpt. were there, so no report.
Suzie Rogers, the Public Safety Officer reported her dpt. is the office you get when you call 911.  If it’s a fire or safety issue, they transfer the call to the South Dispatch Office, 832-4110. She informed us that if they receive either a 1 or a 9 call with a delay after, it defaults to 911. They must respond to all those calls thinking it could be an emergency.  Unfortunately sometimes an elder or young person tries to call and hangs up and starts over, which causes problems.
NVEnergy personnel was supposed to be present to address power outage concerns.  Unfortunately they were not, so that’s continued until next month.  Patty who lives at the end of the line on Ormsby Lane in the Lyon area expressed concerns about an annoying external noise source, a rather loud humming which goes off & on.  She says it’s getting louder and more unpleasant and really bothers her & her dog.  Patty has contacted them twice.
Someone asked about the status of the Lowden property on Eastlake.  Sarah Tone said if they sell one lot or more, owners would have to submit a tentative subdivision map, which has not been done yet.  That would have to go through the CAB.  The map on the signs is not official.
Dave Harrison reported on the Scenic By-ways Committee, saying it is tentatively approved, but probably will not be finalized for a year or two.
NDOW was not present, but informed Dave Harrison, who reported they were going to do a burn in Scripps this month , but could not get the dozers in time.  The goal was to burn out the invasive weeds, mostly whitetop, which had gotten out of control.  It may be done in April.
Sarah Tone, Outreach coordinator for Washoe County, informed about the budget, saying if had to be cut 47 million, 6% of the cuts in safety, and 36 -40% in libraries, museums, art, etc.  There will be a meeting at the end of April, ways to reduce CAB costs.  This will go into effect July 1st.  They now have a new email set-up for the public with worksheets and comment forms.  Sarah said don’t respond to this email.
The South Valleys Area Plan, Dave Harrison, the chair, reported it could go back to the Regional Governing Board again at the county’s request.  Ann York said she was there, and it was voted down 6, who favored, and 5 against.  It took 2/3 majority to pass, so it didn’t pass.  The main reason was because of the wells & septics, some feeling it would not be good for the general public or general planning since some wells are going dry and some others have nitrates.
Ann York said her & Valerie Wiliams have served their 6 year terms on the CAB, so in June there will be 2 vacancies in the CAB.  She stated that this valley needs all the help it can get.
Meeting ended.
Submited by Ann York, CAB member

East Washoe Valley CAB Needs YOU!

The East Washoe Valley Citizen’s Advisory Board will be losing two members by June and need two members of the community to volunteer to one night a month. Members of the CAB meet for a couple hours in the evening to facilitate communication between citizens and Washoe County on local concerns and issues.


SVAP Volunteers To Host Party

svapparty The members of the Washoe Valley Working Group are inviting the residents of Washoe Valley to their get-together at the Postal Cafe located at 3115 Eastlake Blvd on January 3rd at 5:30 pm. The group and other volunteers want to thank the local community for their help in the successful passage of a favorable plan by the county commissioners. Many local residents went out of their way to attend the many county commissioners meetings over the last several years to convince the commissioners that Washoe Valley residents are active and determined in their love of the existing Washoe Valley lifestyle.

It should be noted that although the SVAP has been approved by the county commissioners, the final step is approval by the Regional Planning  Commission.

Let’s go and celebrate our community victory!

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.

Wind Generation Workshop

A correspondent went to the county’s wind power workshop and this is her take on the meeting:

I attended that workshop to specifically ask:
1-  Previously in the past about 5 years ago we were told Wind machines were not very efficient in our high wind area.  When the wind is too strong, the power source drops dramatically.
2-  Would wind or solar structures be more effective in Washoe Valley?
I received a political answer.  Your specific wind has to be measured on your property to find out which is better, or if wind machines are effective here.  I also heard strong winds can damage or blow away the working parts of a windmill, which is not covered after 3-5 years, however long your warantee is.
You can receive a rebate for the machine, but the installer has to be on an “approved list” of installers, or you don’t receive one.  The county has guidelines one must follow. Go to NRS>278.580 & Washoe County Development Code 326 to see about guidelines.
They all said you have to do your homework to see what’s right for you & your property.
Good website to go to are:  windgenerations.com, solargenerations.com.

It has been my observation living in east Washoe Valley that we have severe wind for a day and then dead calm for the next two weeks as a pretty consistent pattern. We have a reputation for wind here but there are places where it is breezy most every day. Maybe solar is better for our area-ed.