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Washoe County SVAP page This page has not been updated in a year but does
give some information.
Existing South Valleys Area Plan This is the actual document in PDF format.
Washoe County North Valleys Area Plan This plan update is just ahead of ours
in completion and you can check it out to see what to expect.
South Valley's Area Plan Draft This is the text of the proposed plan.
I am writing regarding your consideration of the South Valley Area Plan update
for Washoe Valley. I am a current member of the East Washoe Valley CAB. I am a
life-long Washoe County resident, long term Washoe Valley home owner, and newly
involved with the CAB and the citizens of this valley. I am privileged to serve
my fellow citizens and the Commission. I am also blessed to be able to raise my
family in the bucolic splendor of Washoe Valley.
However, I must express my dismay and extreme concern for the current state of
affairs related to the South Valley Area Plan, specifically the options for the
Weston property, or as Community Development has taken to calling it, the "Ophir
Road Properties." I'm sure you are well aware of the history of this latest plan
amendment. I will not recount it's history here. But let me draw your attention
to the Planning Commission's consideration of the SVAP on July 15. To the
surprise of all, the Planning Commission approved option #2, which would allow
334 homes on the Weston property. This was the most dense development of all the
options put forth by Community Development staff and includes Low Density
Suburban and Medium Density Rural zoning. Option #1 would maintain the Weston
property zoning at General Rural. This option was rejected despite it's
endorsement by both Washoe Valley CABs and virtually all of the public comment
that evening (except for Mr. Weston's lobbyist). Option #3 would allow a mix of
zonings and up to 176 houses. I believe this option was offered by CD staff as a
potential compromise position. But it too was rejected by the Planning
At this meeting, Mr. Weston's hired gun portrayed the citizens of this valley as
"No Growth" extremist. I believe it was the concerted efforts of Mr. Weston's
lobbyist which prompted the Planning Commission to vote the way they did that
night. I found this characterization of the CABs and the citizens of this valley
to be offensive and entirely without merit. Mr. Weston chose not to actively
participate in the various community meetings held on the SVAP since Washoe
Valley was separated from the rest of the Plan. His lobbyist certainly never
But I have. And what I have seen is a whole community committed to preserving
the rich natural and recreational resources, historic assets, and general rural
character of Washoe Valley. And they are all committed to the ideal of equity
and fairness. The citizens of Washoe Valley are not opposed to all development.
They are not opposed to the rights of land owners in the valley to develop their
land, so long as it done under the same rules as everyone else in Washoe Valley.
That would mean a maximum density of 1 home per 5 acres under current rules. The
CABs have been opposed to any revisions to the Plan which seeks to single out
any one landowner for special privileges above and beyond those enjoyed by other
landowners in the valley.
The extreme density levels of option #2, as approved by the Planning Commission,
represent special privilege for one landowner. It does not represent fairness,
equity, nor the consensus view of the citizens of Washoe Valley. Approval of
this option would irrevocably unleash a serious assault upon the water
resources, recreational opportunities, and scenic beauty of Washoe Valley. And
this at a time when building has slowed dramatically in the county. There is no
demonstrable need for this development in the current economic environment. It
is a guarantee of future municipal services in Washoe Valley and will lead to
even further dense development. This option stands in stark opposition to the
rest of the South Valley Area Plan for Washoe Valley. It defies all of the
Plan's primary goals. Washoe Valley is a unique resource for the County. It is
unparallelled for a combination of accessibility, myriad outdoor recreational
opportunities, and sublime scenic splendor. It is not just the citizens
fortunate enough to call Washoe Valley home who benefit from this asset. It is
all the citizens of Washoe County who benefit from preserving this priceless
I ask you to consider this perspective before voting on the South Valley Area
Plan update on September 9th. Please do not be swayed by the best persuasion Mr.
Weston can buy. Reject the rantings of his hired gun for what they are - an
attempt to secure personal privileges at the public expense. Please show the
citizens that all their hard work and efforts were not in vain. Show them that
equity and the public interest are more than abstractions. Please reject all the
options for the Weston property (ie. Ophir Road Properties) and approve the Plan
without them. It is a good plan and the citizens here overwhelmingly support it.
Stand up for all the citizens of Washoe County and continue to preserve Washoe
Valley for them and for posterity.
Thank you for your consideration.
Patrick Cates, Member
East Washoe Valley Citizens Advisory Board
SVAP Meeting Sept. 9
For more info and background see our SVAP Page
KEEP WASHOE VALLEY RURAL
*YOU ARE URGED TO ATTEND*
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS MEETING
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 9, 5:30PM
Washoe County Offices, Wells and 9th Street, Bldg. A
! Washoe County Commissioners consider approval of the South Valley Area Plan
for Washoe Valley.
! 334 Homes are considered for the Weston/Ophir Road Section at Washoe Hill in
an Appendix to the plan.
The Washoe Valley CABS and Working Group SUPPORT:
! REMOVAL OF THE WESTON/OPHIR ROAD APPENDIX FROM CONSIDERATION
! APPROVAL OF THE SOUTH VALLEY AREA PLAN AFTER THE REMOVAL OF THE WESTON/OPHIR
The Planning Commission approved Option 2 with 334 homes and suburban zoning for
the Weston/Ophir Section which will bring Truckee Meadows municipal services
into the Washoe Valley planning area. Option 3 includes 176 homes also requiring
municipal services. Option 1 with fifteen 40 acre parcels is the only conforming
option offered for consideration. Go to www.co.washoe.nv.us to view the plan,
maps and email the commissioners.
E-MAIL NOW, CALL the Commissioners at 775-328-2005 NOW, and ATTEND!!!
Washoe County Commissioners, 1001 E. 9th St., P.O. Box 11130, Reno, NV
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
We will ask Commissioners Humke, Galloway, Jung, Larkin and Weber to please:
> REJECT the Planning Commission recommendation for 334 homes and Truckee
Meadows Municipal services for all portions of the Weston section,
> REJECT zoning requiring Truckee Meadows Municipal Services in the Washoe
Valley planning area,
> REMOVE the proposed appendix options for the Weston/Ophir Road Section and
> APPROVE the Washoe Valley Portion of the South Valley Area Plan without the
Weston/Ophir Road Appendix Options.
Options 2 (334 homes) and 3 (176 homes) do not conform to the Truckee Meadows
Regional Plan, the State Engineer 5 Acre limitation for Washoe Valley, the
Master Plan or the South Valley Area Plan. The entire Weston/Ophir Section is
included as part of Washoe Valley Rural planning area in every Washoe County
policy and map. No Weston development should be included in the already approved
Pleasant Valley area plan."
We are counting on the Board of County Commissioners to do the right thing.
The Washoe Valley Working Group Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 849-1078.
For More information go to WashoeValley.org
Update August 12, 2008
The East Washoe Valley Working Group has been working diligently in conjunction
with the East Washoe Valley CAB (Citizens Advisory Board) to preserve & protect
Washoe Valley as much as possible & keep it as a rural community. The South
Valleys Area Plan has to be updated every 5 years. We've been working on this
for over the last 3 years. The SVAP was put into it's final draft by both East &
West Washoe Valley CAB's at a long session May 28th, 2008 at Bartley Ranch which
lasted until 10:00 PM. Washoe County Planning Commission was also invited to
this session, 2 attending. On July 15th the draft was presented to the Washoe
County Planning Commission meeting by the SVAP Senior Planner Sandra Monsalve.
Questions were raised & addressed by planners at that time. The final SVAP draft
was approved with minor corrections, which is good for our valley. Unfortunately
the Ophir Road properties (Weston's 636.11 acres) were also voted upon with 3
Alternative 1- Remain as it is in it's existing zoning, General Rural (1 house
per 40 acres)= Maximum of 15 homes.
Alternative 2- Medium Density Rural (1 house per 5 acres)in the Washoe Valley
hydrographic Basin= Max 75 homes, & Low Density Suburban in the Pleasant Valley
Hydrographic Basin= Max. 259 homes, a total of 334 homes.
Alternative 3- Medium Density Rural on approx. 59% of west portion of the
property in the Washoe Valley Hydrographic Basin= Max 41 homes, & General Rural
on approx. 41% of the east portion, Max 5 homes. In the Pleasant Valley
Hydrographic Basin, zoning mixed between High Density Rural (1 house per 2.5
acres)= Max 27, & Low Density Suburban= Max 103, a total of 176 homes.
Both Washoe Valley CAB’s & Working Groups favored Alternative 1. Of course the
Planning Commission approved Alternative 3, which the Ophir Road Property owners
favored. We fought like H---, but unfortunately lost on this one. This SVAP
update goes to the Washoe County Board of Commissioners for final approval on
August 26th at 6:30 PM at the County complex at 9th & Wells in Reno.
The whole SVAP update can be accessed at WWW.Washoecounty.us, to Departments, to
Community Development, to Comprehensive Plan, to South Valleys. This does not
include the Ophir Properties. To access those you have to go to WWW.Washoe
County.us, to Boards & Commissions, to Planning Commission, to Agendas, to July
15 with staff reports. It’s a huge file.
Submitted by resident Ed York.
August 12, 2008
Great summary of the SVAP update!! One correction however,
the Planning Commission actually endorsed Alternative 2 of the 3 Ophir Rd.
Property Alternatives. Unfortunately we did get bumped form the August 26th. BCC
meeting to September 9th. (not my doing) but are definitely set on going to the
Board on Sept. 9th. At that meeting the Board can either approve the Plan in
whole, in part, or send it back to the Planning Commission. I don’t know how
it’s going to go, it should be an interesting meeting to say the least! If you
have any questions, please feel free to email me or call. Thanks again.
Sandra L. Monsalve, AICP, Senior Planner
Washoe County Community Development
1001 E. Ninth Street, Bldg. A
Reno, NV 89520
Update December 11, 2007
Area Plan Update – Dave Harrison reported that they met with staff to work on a
timeline for discussion of
the issues. The next discussion will be on Land Use Tables. Bill Naylor stated
that there has been
discussion about a possible land swap with Bureau of Land Management and the
Weston land. Dave
Harrison stated that Adrian Freund, Director, Department of Community
Development has stated that he
would discuss this issue with Mr. Lowden and Mr. Weston. Source: December 11,
2007 East WV CAB
Update October 9, 2007
From the minutes of the East WV CAB Meeting:
5. Area Plan Update – Dave Harrison reported
that Adrian Freund, Director, Department of Community Development
will be meeting with Bob Rusk to discuss the Weston/Lowden property.
Bob Rusk has met with Mr. Weston and has not reached any agreement
at this time.
County Commission Meeting Wrap-Up
Last night's meeting of the Washoe County
Board of County Commissioners was a positive move forward for Washoe Valley
residents. At 5:30 the commissioners took up the topic of the South Valleys Area
Plan once more in front of a packed house. Previously, the commissioners sent
the flawed plan back to the regional planning commission to address residents
discontent with several points. The planning commission sent it back to the
commissioners with no changes. The members of the Washoe
Valley Working Group, a liaison group of local citizens who have been advising
the county on the needs of the community over the last 3 years of the process,
refined their appeals for last nights meeting. In their public testimony, the
EWVCAB, WWVCAB, Washoe Valley Landowners Assoc. and West Washoe Valley Assoc.
all agreed in the main "sticking points" of the the plan. The speakers, and the
majority of the individuals that spoke were in opposition to the enlargement of
the Old Washoe City commercial area, inclusion of Washoe Valley into the TMSA
(which would give tacit approval to mass housing developments) and the creation
of any "specific plans".
Specific plans, the county planning staff
argues, gives the county a way to steer a parcel into a particular kind of
development before any plans have been submitted by the developer. Residents
argued that specific plans give developers tacit approval to develop before they
have even proved, through the availability of water, utilities, roads, etc. that
their development is even viable, or at the least, in the best interests of the
community. They argue that developers should use the current system of applying
for a "comprehensive plan amendment" like everyone else.
This controversy has less to do about
individual landowners and their property rights than it has to do with Washoe
County procedures and policies. After all, the owners of the Weston/Lowden
development are our neighbors and like most of us, want to maximize their
property value. What we need from the county is a system that is fair,
predictable and the same for everybody. It is a rare family such as the Greils
in the southwest corner of the valley that have entered some of their land into
a conservation easement to keep it from being developed in the future.
In the end, once again, the commissioners
and the county planning staff acknowledged the valley residents involvement in
the process-those members that have worked for 3 years, meeting nearly every
Thursday and those who have supported their efforts through meeting attendance,
phone calls and emails to the county. The county commissioners voted to
bifurcate the SVAP and approve the section for Steamboat-Pleasant Valley and
send the Washoe Valley portion back to the planners for repair.
This from a correspondent: "I found out
at the SV Working Group meeting last night that the Specific Plan part of the
plan referring to the Weston/Lowden property is gone, but the instructions were
for valley residents east and west to work with the planning dept. and come up
with mutually acceptable solutions to the big issues – Weston/Lowden (& others
like them), and no new commercial areas."
Stay tuned for further developments!
August 29, 2007
edited Sept. 8, 2007
SVAP/Commissioners Meeting Tuesday
Residents Urged To Attend
Last time, because of our protests, the County Commissioners
sent the SVAP back to the Regional Planning Commission (see the wrap-up
where they rubber stamped the original document "No Change" and sent it back to
the Commissioners for their approval this coming Tuesday, the 28th at
5:30 PM at the County offices on E. 9th, Reno. The meeting will be held in
Building B, Conference Room A.
That failure was due, in part, because of our success in having
such a large turnout. That created many different points that the Commission had
to boil down into a "short list" of concerns for the planning commission to
consider. Somehow, many minor concerns got placed on the list, diluting the
impact of the larger points.
This time around, lets all try to concentrate on these larger
points to show that the community is united against this plan. If we can
convince them to halt the process, address these points, perhaps other issues
can be looked at also.
The Main Topics To Speak On (2 minute limit)
No inclusion into the Truckee Meadows Service Area (TMSA)
that would, in effect, authorize production line housing in Washoe Valley.
No expansion of the Old Washoe City Commercial District and
limit density where it exists.
No Specific Plan in the SVAP for the Weston/Lowden
Development as any more than the currently approved 14 homes on the Weston
property can only be facilitated with TMSA services.
Here's a note on the meeting from our county community
On the August 28 Board of County
Commissioners meeting, staff is recommending that item 14 (Request to amend the
boundaries of the Washoe County Truckee Meadows Service Area) be heard after
item 22 (Public Hearing of the South Valley`s Area Plan). Item 22
is 5:30p.m. time certain,
which means item 22, will be heard on or after 5:30p.m. To review the agenda
please visit the Board of County Commissioners webpage
August 25, 2007
Make That August 28th!
In all the excitement around here, the meeting date for the SVAP
agenda got screwed up and I didn't double check my sources and now we know that
our item will be brought up at the August 28th meeting of the county
commissioners. We apologize!
July 22, 2007
Comment on this article
Hold Yer Horses!
Due to a meeting set to start at 10am with our agenda item set
to start at 5:30pm, the county commissioners are continuing the SVAP agenda item
to Saturday, July 28. It was decided there were just too many items for one
meeting. I don't know what that will do to our attendance, being on a Saturday,
it may mean that we can have a bigger showing of community concern. Spread the
word and see you then.
July 22, 2007
Attend The Commissioners Meeting
Hold Yer Horses! (see above)
Yes, the theme of last May's meeting was "Last Chance". Well, we
get one more chance this Tuesday, July 24th. Due to the large and effective
turnout at that meeting the Commissioners referred the matter back to the
planning commission with the instructions "fix it". Although, what was presented
to the planning commission last week was a lame list of seemingly random points
that the public spoke on in opposition to the South Valleys Area Plan and the
instructions were to "review" the issues, not to change the SVAP in regard to
the issues. So predictably, the planning staff just reviewed the issues,
asserted their views and methods were correct and the planning commission
supported them by voting for "no change" in the SVAP.
That lapse needs to be addressed in the upcoming meeting of the
commissioners where they again, like in May, will hear public testimony and vote
on whether to send it back for changes or give final approval of it.
Please review the information on the SVAP page regarding the May
22nd meeting and stress that these items must be changed, not just dicussed.
Meeting: County Commissioners, July 24th, starts at 10am but our
item is scheduled at 5:30 but they can change the time at will (sneaky). Where:
County offices at 1001 E 9th, Reno in building B this time (Health and Welfare
building on the Wells Ave. side although the gate there might be locked by 5:30
so go in the 9th street gate.) conference room.
If you can't make the meeting, send them an
July 18, 2007
Report on Meeting of July 11, 2007
(The following is from my notes and recollection filtered
through the noise of the yappy family behind me. It may not be accurate and does
not replace you going to the meeting yourself.)
The meeting was held in the Health Dept conference room and was
attended by 7 members of the planning commission and a fair-sized crowd of
citizens. Thankfully, the SVAP was the first item on the agenda. First, the
public gave testimony and our familiar and able usual speakers spoke on the 10
points specific to Washoe Valley (testimony was limited to the 10 points below).
Ginger Pierce of Pleasant Valley stated that the sewer extension for Sierra
Reflections development at the top of Washoe Hill will be only a 12 inch pipe
and therefore will never be adequate for anything else. Later, Eric Young of the
Planning Staff stated that this was true and that the only way to increase the
capacity was to replace the whole thing from Reno and that would never be
affordable for the scale of development Washoe Valley is capable of.
A major topic of comment is the parcel shown below that the
planners want to convert from residential to commercial as they think a business
beside the road might be less obtrusive than 5 houses on the hills. They are
also negotiating with the owners to acquire the portion of the property to the
west that includes Pagni canyon and the V&T RR route for open space. Residents
express fear that the whole parcel could then be developed with commercial
structures of every type. Eric Young, the lead planner, assured the audience
that commercial in Old Washoe City had to conform to strict guidelines and plan
review which made some in the audience chuckle. It was mentioned that NDOT was
freaked out about the public stopping on the freeway to access the Pagni Canyon
historical site now and how was it going to work with a business?
Richard Williamson, representative for Mr. Serpa, large
landowner in the valley, protested the county's presumption to try to regulate
water development as well as land development. Mr Young later discussed this
question and assured the audience and the planning commission that the previous
state supreme court ruling against Mr. Serpa and subsequent talks with the Dept.
Of Water Resources and state legal staff does, in fact, give the county
authority to regulate water (and water rights) importation or exportation from
Jane Countryman of the west side CAB said that the TMSA is a
tool for development and that allowing the TMSA into the Weston/Lowden property
would make all the valley eligible to be in the TMSA. She also warned that we do
not have as much water as it appears in drought years and that additional
large-scale development could hurt the viability of all water supplies in the
Jeff Lowden, of the Weston/Lowden development thanked the
planning staff for all their wonderful work over the last couple of years and
said they wanted to do a Caughlin Ranch type of development but they have
compromised many times and are down to 140 clustered units and still the
community is not satisfied. Eric Young stated later that the "special status of
Weston /Lowden actually places more restrictions on the parcel than if the owner
did the normal thing and went to the planning commission for a "plan amendment"
later to allow a subdivision. Both the public speakers and the staff noted, at
different times, that sewer and water restrictions and slopes will probably work
to limit the development of the parcel.
Debi Sheltra of the West side CAB noted that there is no need to
expand or otherwise encourage the commercial area in Old Washoe City as there is
plentiful shopping and services directly to the north and south of the valley.
In fact, the current commercial area is struggling and so why make it bigger?
Staff said later that the vision of 14 residential units per acre above retail
shops probably would never happen due to the need for on-site sewer and water.
Eric Holland of the Citizens for Responsible Growth in Reno asked why the county
was proposing expanding the commercial area in Old Washoe City when the urban
residents of Reno can't even get a supermarket in downtown.
Another big question was all the discrepancies with the rules
according to the Regional Plan. The staff said that would not be answered until
the Regional Planning Agency reviewed the plan but that most of the same was
done in the recent North Valleys plan and it passed.
At several items on the list the planning commission and staff
voiced frustration that these were points they thought were settled at the very
beginning of the process and that the residents were bringing up dead issues.
Mr. Young admitted that there seems to be a general distrust that all the
promises made in the plan are made in thin air and developers could change them
at their will later. I don't recall him really rebutting that assertion but he
did say , in another statement, that planning documents are dynamic instruments
subject to change. He also said the TMSA in the valley is for the expressed
purpose of Weston/Lowden and would only be extended for health or safety
Mr Young was very sincere-sounding about his concern over the
Pacific Flyway and Washoe Valleys role in that international responsibility. A
member of the planning commission questioned the county's responsibility to an
international treaty and Mr. Young said he didn't know legally but it was the
right thing to do and that the SVAP protected the flyway. It wasn't answered
though, if the 140 families at the W/L development would see Little Washoe Lake
and Scripps Wildlife Refuge as their adjacent "city park".
I had a little chuckle myself at the irony as I noticed a
wealthy developer from Incline Village had arrived at 6:30 for his agenda item
and was still squirming in his chair at 9:30 for his turn. I know his builder so
I went over to say goodbye when I left and he said, "So, now that you've got
yours, you don't want anybody else in the valley?" I just said, "Yes." I teased
him back by saying that "Ranches used to mean cows, but now we have Caughlin
Ranch, Double Diamond Ranch and Damonte Ranch". He chuckled and nodded his
acknowledgement as I think, as a custom home builder, he doesn't think much of
tract home developments either.
In the end, the staff and the planning commission decided that
none of the concerns were valid and chose to keep the SVAP unchanged. They will
send it back to the County Commissioners on July 24th where we will be able,
once again, to voice our concerns.
I admit the account is kinda sketchy as I'm headed out the door,
so if any other attendees want to expand on it, correct it or comment, send it
July 12, 2007
July 11, 2007
Washoe Valley Working Groups Answers
to the 11 Points to be covered in Tonights Meeting
Use this as a guide to your comments
1). Special treatment for the
Weston/Lowden properties in the Specific Plan.
Special treatment for the Weston/Lowden property is NOT a misconception, as
stated in Staff's discussion. For example, SV.6.1 (s) establishes special
consideration and regulatory relief for water supply and wastewater treatment on
the Weston/Lowden property, which introduces a precedent that can relax the very
laws and regulations that now protect the public health and welfare.
The Weston/Lowden property borders private parcels with domestic wells; it
borders Washoe Lake State Park. People now enjoy water sports in little Washoe
Lake, where water quality is protected by state law; NAC 445A.126. Little
Washoe Lake is also the outlet of Steamboat Creek which flows to the Truckee
River and beyond.
Clean, safe water is our right, and should stay protected by the federal, state,
and local laws and regulations in place to protect the public health and
welfare. The SVAP as a legal document must not be allowed to give regulatory
relief regarding water supply and wastewater treatment.
The Planning Commission will probably be told by Staff, as it was at the Feb 20
meeting, that special consideration & regulatory relief means more stringent
regulation. If indeed that is what this policy is supposed to mean, then the
wording should be changed to say exactly that.
2). Municipal sewer and water systems coming into Washoe Valley through the
Washoe Valley is not in the Truckee Meadows Service Area and is not identified
as a Future Service Area. The Regional Plan defines Rural Development Area as
an area lying outside the Truckee Meadows Service Area and Map 2, identifies
Washoe Valley as a Rural Development Area.
Goal1, Policy 1.1.5 states; “Master Plans of Local Governments must not allow
additional development within the RDA that requires the provision of municipal
Premature introduction of the TMSA into Washoe Valley does not conform to the
Regional Plan and could cause all of Washoe Valley to lose it’s current and
historical designation of Rural Development Area.
3). Expansion of commercial zoning “across from a wildlife protection area”
and bordering Eastlake Boulevard.
This statement refers two areas of commercial expansion. The first is the
entire Old Washoe City area to the west of little Washoe Lake. This area
borders the Winter’s Ranch Open Space which serves as a buffer for Scripps
Wildlife Management Area and provides important wildlife habitat and nesting
grounds. SVAP Goal 8, identifies this entire expanded area as the Old Washoe
City Historic Commercial District shown on the Character Management Plan map,
where it is identified as a mixed-use area.
The expansion of Old Washoe City into an area of mixed-use commercial and
multifamily residential will greatly increase population and traffic, and will
prematurely increase recreational use of our recently acquired Winter’s Ranch
Open Space, before wildlife studies and inventories have been completed, and
management plans have been established.
The second area referred to, is the commercial expansion north of little Washoe
Lake, from the outlet of Steamboat Creek all the way to the top of Washoe Hill.
This commercial expansion introduces commercial expansion along Sierra
Reflections development to the Eastlake intersection. The most dangerous
intersection in Washoe Valley. There is no safe place to enter or exit the
proposed commercial property, which is on the downhill side of the divided
highway where accidents occur on a regular basis causing huge traffic jams.
This commercial parcel also creates an island of commercial east of Steamboat
Creek, because WC Parks is planning a public trail along the creek as an access
point to public lands dedicated by Sierra Reflections.
4). Multifamily dwellings at 14 units per acre within the Neighborhood
SVAP Goal 9 establishes Mixed-use development and Policy 9.1.(a) allows
residential densities of up to 14 units per acre in Historic Washoe City.
This concept of Mixed-use development, allowing 14 units per acre in Washoe
Valley, a Rural Development Area, does not conform with the Regional Plan and
will most likely require the TMSA. In fact, the Regional Plan defines Downtown
Centers as Mixed-use areas; defines Regional Centers as Mixed-use areas; defines
Transit Oriented Development Areas as Mixed-use areas all of them within the
TMSA. Regional also states; “Mixed-use development will be directed to centers
and transit corridors.”, and those Centers and Corridors are identified on Map 4
of the Regional Plan, none which are close to Washoe Valley.
The TMRP Goal 1, Policy 1.1.5 states, “the Regional Plan defines properties
outside the Truckee Meadows Service Area as The Rural Development Area (RDA) -
Map 2. The Rural Development Area consists of dispersed residential, employment
and other uses that do not require the provision of municipal services. To be
in conformance with the Regional Plan, Master Plans of Local Governments must
not allow additional development within the RDA that requires the provision of
municipal service, and must not allow new divisions of land that would create a
parcel less than 5 acres in size.”
Staff may suggest that Washoe Valley is a secondary corridor, but the current
Regional Plan only address Transit Oriented Corridors.
5). No fixed number of units be approved under the Area Plan.
Refers to the Weston/Lowden Specific Plan; Policy SV.6.1 states that the
following are “minimum review standards ”, yet SV.6.1 (c) states establishes a
maximum of 140 residential units. The SVAP can easily be amended to increase
the number of units. If the TMSA is approved for this property it will not be
possible to limit the number of units to 140.
In 2005 Weston and Lowden presented their CPA for 480 units to the residents of
WV. So we have good reason to believe that the 140 units is only a starting
point. Once the TMSA is approved, an amendment for 480 or possibly more units
Assignment of a specific number of units falsely elevates the value of this
property, which will prove misleading to future owners, should the property be
Washoe Valley has a required minimum lot size of 5 acres per unit in density &
intensity. Rather than specifying an arbitrary number in the Specific Plan,
with no consideration of development constraints, this policy should state: the
number of units will not exceed that allowed within the Washoe Valley Rural
Development Area and Development Constraints area as identified in the TMRP. We
want our area plan to conform to the Regional Plan.
6). Densities be computed using land that was not development constrained.
The Specific Plan does not consider development constraints on the Weston/Lowden
property. The property is not a blank slate, it already has improvements and
development. Historic Ophir road bisects the property providing public access
to public lands; there is a large home on a 65 acre parcel. In addition, this
is a steep hill of volcanic bedrock and shallow soils; rock outcrops,
ridgelines, slope, flood zones, drainages, and wildlife migration routes will
need to be considered. The property is also bordered by Federal and State
lands; Washoe Lakes State Park and Scripps Wildlife management area are
downslope on the western boundary. All these things must be considered.
Areas that are unbuildable, need to be subtracted from the total area before the
densities are computed.
7). Minimum one-acre lots before approving any development (i.e.,
The Specific Plan awards a minimum lot size of one half acre on a percent of
units. In Staff’s discussion of item 2, it has already been stated that the
Regional Plan does not allow the county to cluster in areas outside the TMSA.
Regional restricts development to a 5 acre minimum in density and intensity.
Even so, in discussions with Mr. Weston, the East Washoe Valley working group
compromised and agreed to allow some lots of 1 acre on the W/L property, instead
of ½ acre lots. Anything smaller than 1 acre is unheard of in Washoe Valley,
and would not be appropriate in a Rural Development Area. This would have to be
done without bringing in the TMSA.
The Regional Plan is very specific in stating its intent for a Rural Development
Area, that no new development must be allowed that will require the TMSA.
8). Permanent protection of all development constrained land.
The Weston/Lowden property is located at the entrance to Washoe Valley, and is a
steep hill rising to the east of Little Washoe Lake. It is directly across
Eastlake Blvd from Washoe Lake State Park, and Scripps Wildlife Management
Area. Public lands border this property on all four sides; 100 % to the east
and west, and 30 - 50 % to the north and south. Due to it’s location, contours,
and proximity to recreation areas, it is of important scenic value to the entire
valley. At the very least, Washoe Valley landowners and residents would like a
guarantee that all of the development constrained lands be granted permanent
protection, regardless of ownership.
10). Investigation of whether the Area Plan must be consistent with a
national flyway zone in Washoe Valley.
The Pacific Flyway is protected through an international agreement to protect
migrating birds. Protection of waterways, lakes, wetlands, agricultural lands
and habitat used as stopovers on the long migration routes is of utmost
importance, as is nesting and habitat areas for those birds using Washoe Valley
as a breeding destination.
There are many regulatory and advisory groups such as the Fish & Wildlife
Service Migratory Bird Regulations Committee and Flyway Council. If you
consider the huge variety of species involved, song birds, swans, ducks, geese,
hawks, eagles, cranes that use the international flyways, you will see the
complexity and great expense that goes into protection of the Pacific Flyway.
Federal & state regulations led to NDOT’s establishment of artificial wetlands
at the south end of Washoe Lake to mitigate the loss of wetlands in Washoe
County. Washoe Valley was chosen as the natural and safe location for these
artificial wetlands and because migratory birds depend on this valley.
All around us wetlands, small lakes, agricultural lands, creeks and streams are
being lost to development. There is a heron rookery in Scripps where different
species of heron nest and find food in the meadows of the Winter’s Ranch Open
Space. Regulations and protection of Washoe Valley’s lakes, wetlands, and wet
meadows from degradation due to misuse by recreationalists, inappropriate
development along buffer zones, erosion of surrounding hillsides due to
development, all these things and more are factors important to the protection
of the Pacific Flyway.
An international agreement needs more than lip service to fulfill it’s goals.
July 8, 2007
Staff Report for Planning Commission
Meeting of July 11 Review
Concerning the Weston/Lowden
by the editor
The property owners are requesting that the Truckee Meadows
Service Area (TMSA) be extended to include the parcels commonly known as the
Weston/Lowden development at the corners of 395/Eastlake/Skinner. The planning
staff says this is necessary to allow for small lot "clustering" of homes as the
Regional Plan will only allow 5 acre lots in this area and is recommending to
the planning commission that this be approved. Part of the rationale for
approving this is that the land is adjacent to the existing TMSA border. If this
is the criteria for extending the TMSA then there does not seem to be any limit
to where the TMSA can be extended to. If this is approved, New Washoe City will
be adjacent to the TMSA and thus subject to inclusion. This opens the door for
municipal services and therefore high density development and possible future
July 8, 2007
Staff Report for Planning Commission
Meeting of July 11 Review
Concerning the SVAP
by the editor
In May the County Commissioners referred the matter of the SVAP
back to the planning commission in response to the many concerns of the
residents expressed at their meeting. They did this in the form of 11 concerns
they garnered from the public testimony. I don't know what criteria they used to
choose these concerns from the many expressed- there seems to be several major
ones that are missing. Be that as it may, here is my review of the staff's
responses to the Commission in their
I think the basic problem here is that residents think that
the development of this land and how it is to be developed is still up for
debate and the planning staff thinks that it definitely will be developed
somehow. Their argument is that since it will be developed, the SVAP is the
best way to regulate the way in which it will be developed. That is, the way
the planning dept. staff sees as their vision for development.
The Truckee Meadows Service Area (TMSA) is a planning tool
for designating where municipal utilities can be extended. This is seen by
residents as being a "first step" in bringing suburban development into the
valley as developers can say "Hey, you've approved high density services, so
that must mean you approve high density development". The staff argues that
the SVAP is bullet-proof in not allowing high density housing and that
extending the TMSA will give them a tool to require "clustering". Clustering
is the theory that the illusion of a rural atmosphere can be maintained if a
development is confined to adjacent small lots leaving the rest of the
surrounding parcel in open space. People that like to recreate tend to like
open space and people that don't like people recreating near their homes
don't like open space. Either way, I think that decision should be up to the
residents of the valley, not planners from back east.
Whether or not the SVAP really is "bullet-proof" is open to
debate and the fear is that once the TMSA is extended it can never be rolled
back and we will be stuck.
Apparently, this is the area across from the Eastlake/395
intersection on the north side of the valley and to the west. I think they
mean where Pagni Canyon continues to the north along which the historic V&T
Railroad track ran. The staff says that this really isn't next to the lake
or wildlife area being across the highway. Also, they argue that homes there
in the hills would be much more visible than commercial buildings along the
highway. I think that any development in that corridor would be a great loss
visually and historically. It is tough for me to imagine custom homes
looking worse than roadside commercial also. And where is the push to expand
the boundaries of Old Washoe City anyway? The commercial area looks pretty
sparse and "unprofitable" now.
Here the staff agrees with me and calls it a "slide into
economic and physical deterioration" there in Old Washoe City. Their remedy,
in addition to making the slide area bigger as noted above, is to allow some
residential mixed with commercial to make the area more of an economically
viable "village" (my term). The resident objections I have heard is that
this passage in the plan also allows for casinos, convention centers and
other businesses that attract high crime housing.
Staff says that neither the SVAP or the specific Lowden plan
provide for any unit number. Although the Lowden plan has an upper limit of
140 units. Will the Lowden development be able to plead poverty and get more
approved? Staff says that the actual number of units in the SVAP will be
subject to the conditions in the SVAP and the requirements of the
These questions and answers concern the relatively small lot
sizes that would be allowed with some lots to facilitate the clustered
development the planners advocate. In the response, the planners say that
these are necessary to maintain open space and take into account the slopes
in the area. The larger question remains about the use of clustering.
The planners assert that open space in clustered
developments would be preserved through deed restrictions or other
This stems from the fear that the SVAP either would not
protect Washoe Valley's water resources or would in some way facilitate the
future exportation of water to outside the valley. The planning staff
asserts that they have checked with the state water resources department and
their legal advisor and that they feel that there is a basis for prohibiting
the exportation of water from the valley in the future.
The planners assert that the SVAP recognizes and addresses
the need to protect the wetlands in Washoe Valley for this purpose.
From one of our hard-working volunteers:
"The East Washoe Valley CAB & Working Group would
like to thank you TREMENDOUSLY for all your Washoe Valley support we
needed last night (Tuesday-ed) at the Washoe County Board of
Commissioners meeting! You were all respectful & listened intently. We
could FEEL your support, & so could the Commissioners!
You were great!
The citizens working the most intently on the Plan were Bill Naylor,
Monica Frank, Carol Christenson, Susan Juetten, Bob Rusk, & Jane
Countryman. We also would like to thank Rick, the editor, for his
fantastic signs on both ends of Eastlake.
When you see them, please thank them for all their hard work."
I, as editor of your community website, would also like
to thank everyone who has contributed information, corrections and other
content to the site to help keep us Washoe Valley residents informed on
The SVAP issue has not gone away and certainly the
threat of runaway development never will either. Other issues like the
new nuisance ordinance, annexation threats and the potential sell-off of
surrounding BLM land will continue to be topics that will affect us and
and which we will be following. Keep participating and be a part of your
May 24, 2007
Comment on this article
Huge Turnout at
Told "Fix It" By Commissioners
Approximately 300+ residents made the trip into Reno
despite the rush hour traffic to attend the County
Commission Meeting with the South Valleys Area Plan on the agenda as a
public hearing. During the public comment portion of the meeting, before
official testimony on the SVAP agenda item, a 30 year resident spoke as
he said he could not attend the later item. He praised the residents for
being diligent in advising the county and for attending the meeting. He
concluded by saying the only fault he could see in the residents is
electing the current batch of commissioners. Applause and laughter went
up and Mr. Larkin, the chairman of the Board of Commissioners chastised
the crowd in a stern tone that any applause or laughter would result in
the public being expelled from the chamber. Being humbled, we waited for
a recess to be completed and the meeting to continue.
Upon the taking up of the SVAP agenda item, the head of
the Planning Dept. spoke of the many acres of open space now existing in
Washoe Valley, 37,000 acres by his count ( is he counting all public
lands up to the extent of the hydrologic valley- up to all the ridgetops?)
He also went on to say that there are only 1990 lots of 5 acres or less
available for development in Washoe Valley. I think his point was that
we should be happy with all that we have.
The commissioners, Humke and Sferrazza, in particular
noted that they had been alerted by residents that the SVAP draft
version that the county was circulating was not the one approved by the
planning commission and that could lead to confusion. They indicated
they would probably ask for the hearing be rescheduled to a later date.
It was decided that a 60 day continuance may be appropriate. They were
to decide on that at the end of the meeting.
testimony began with those who signed up to speak. Many were from the
working group, the CABS and others who are always working for the valley
and others who are ordinary citizens concerned about their quality of
life, the beauty of the valley and the future of the valleys wildlife.
Many residents gave testimony starting with
representatives of four groups: the East and West WV CAB boards, the
West Washoe Homeowners and the WV Landowners Assoc. All were in
agreement that the plan is flawed and incomplete and needs more work.
The main concerns were:
The Weston/Lowden Development: The subdivision
itself was protested as being out of character with the valley and
also the precedence it would set. It is feared that if this
particular landowner gets special treatment and privileges than any
landowner can expect the same thing making an area plan and zoning
The commercial zone in Old Washoe City: The planners
tried to explain that the area actually has less commercial
potential in the new plan than the old. But residents pointed out
that according to the county map with the SVAP, the physical area is
actually expanded. Others questioned the inclusion of multi-unit
dwellings and the long list of acceptable businesses allowed under
the proposed plan.
Other residents involved with the process cited the
planning depts slipshod work and lack of interest in residents input
while others pleaded for preserving the valleys rural, scenic and
The attorney for Mr. Serpa, large landowner and
developer in Washoe Valley, stated that it was his opinion that the SVAP
had no right to try to regulate water issues in the valley as that is
superseded by the state's water agreements with landowners through the
water rights process.
Mr. Lowden spoke saying he was a regular guy and liked
the rural lifestyle also and looked forward to taking the matter up at
the next meeting.
I left before the commissioners ended the meeting but
this correspondent has the final notes:
"What a fantastic turnout we had at the Commission
meeting last night. The public comments were great. The crowd
respectful. Commissioner Humke supported us, as did Galloway and
Sferrazza. Commissioner Larkin said some nice things and with Weber
joining in, the vote was unanimous to send the SVAP back to the Planning
Commission with direction to fix the plan.
It was just wonderful to see so many people turn out to support Washoe
Valley. I was told a huge stack of fliers were mailed in, and lots &
lots of e-mails and letters of support were received.
Thank you all for doing such a fantastic job for Washoe Valley."
See the RGJ.com article on the hearing
May 23, 2007
Comment on this article
"They are a bunch of
Chicken Littles down there,"
Weston Lowden Attorney
Characterizes Washoe Valley Residents
Developers to Citizens:
The attorney for the proposed Weston/Lowden development
in northeast Washoe Valley asserts that Washoe Valley Residents fears of
continued Reno urban sprawl are unfounded. What he bases this opinion on
in contrast to history is not revealed in this
RGJ article. It does show the contempt that government and
development forces have for residents/voters/taxpayers.
Faced with the lessons learned from rampant development
in every direction from Reno, Washoe Valley residents are apparently
foolish to fear that it could happen to them. We are told to trust in
government and the better judgment of big money.
"They're sticking their heads in the sand, saying no
growth, no growth," Mollath said. "They are going to get municipal water
and sewer whether they like it or not. They can have their rural
lifestyles. But the only ones who are going to be able to live there are
Oddly enough some think a rural lifestyle is foolish and
that everyone's ultimate goal should be to live in a phony environment
of concrete and asphalt with the citizens picking up the bill for
maintenance and services while the developers walk away with the
profits. Lip service is paid to "rural lifestyles", "history", "scenic
values", "open space" but the real intent is to maximize the profit for
the development driven economy of Reno.
They may be right, showing up at Tuesdays meeting may be
an exercise in futility against our development-drug crazed government
but it is our duty as citizens to assume we are still in charge and make
the effort to influence our government, community and lifestyles.
May 21, 2007
Comment on this article
Washoe Valley Voices
I'm sorry, but it's too late by about 30 years to "stay
rural'. The Valley has changed dramatically in the last 50 years that
I've been here and it's going to change even more as long as money takes
an interest in it. I see that as being as unavoidable as all the
(relatively) new neighbors that I have.
I would propose that Washoe and Pleasant Valleys provide a "green zone"
both visually and emotionally that will be otherwise be lacking along
the drive from the Stead area to Gardnerville unless somebody starts
pushing for a Zero Growth belt. I would challenge developers and
planners alike to consider, not only the future of this area, but near
future property values.
I'm led to believe that property values in Boulder, Colorado skyrocketed
when they passed 'zero growth'. With unrestricted growth in both Reno
and Carson City it will not be long before the two grow together. I'd
think that it would be very short sighted of everyone concerned if that
were allowed to happen.
In the interest of allowing all you newbies to present a common front,
I'll pass on attending tonight's meeting.
Dear Mr Sferrazza,
I am asking and counting on you as a neighbor and
our commissioner to help us keep our rural lifestyle as well as the
home of many animals from being developed and destroyed. You will
be asked tonight to vote yay or nay to a developer that wants strip
much of the beauty and history from Washoe Valley and build just for
the sake of building.
A couple reasons not to vote for this developers plan from my heart
Water and the lack of it. For most of my life I have lived in
Nevada and loved almost every minute of it. It has been talked
about for many years that we are a desert and that water is a
precious resource, but then why do we just keep building knowing
that it will someday be stretched too thin and be like Gold?
Wild Animals that we should be able to see and tell our kids about
will soon have no where to live and be driven from their homes. I
don't want to try to explain to my kids that we once had wild horses
and deer and beautiful birds but we chased them away.
Last.... This not California or Chicago or even Las Vegas. Not
everyone wants to live in a paved, over lit traffic laden town or
neighborhood where there is a large store on every corner and people
scrambling to get somewhere. Some of us bought in Washoe Valley
because we were looking to get away from that and we would like to
maintain the way of life we have. We are not hillbillies we are
adults that work hard for what we have and a sense of community.
Please help us to maintain our way of life and represent us with a
vote against the development in Washoe Valley tonight.
Thank you for your service and time.
I APPRECIATE YOUR COMMENTS AND YOU WILL CONSIDER THEM WHEN WE
VOTE ON THIS ISSUE.
THANKS FOR YOUR INPUT,
I heard it said that
the residents of Washoe
do not understand their intent. So they have changed their stance.
But what’s going on
in the back of their heads?
We just went through
a development plan cycle. When are people going to learn that planners
plan! When you’re a planner you can not leave anything alone, otherwise
your not planning, i.e. doing your job.
The big mistake with
working with planners is that people become complacent. They want to be
nice with people and expect that planners will work with you and see
things your way. Well, after the last planning commission meeting,
people may have learned that it’s not a two way street.
I remember one of the
first meetings with the ‘planner’. He told the small group of people
that they would start with a small group of homes and we’d get use to
it. The people I was with had other ideas of what needed to be done. In
the end none of the real action items suggested by those in hearing
range were enacted, but we did get all his plans and then some. With a
little fancy frills along the ridge tops.
Then at the last
meeting, I remember one of the panel members saying that they could not
tell the developer what to do with their property. Well I think they
could, that’s what building codes are all about, but at that point I
knew that all hope was lost.
The only way people
are going to stop the rush of development and
Reno to over come all obstacles, is to vote out
all the commissioners that side with the developers. Of course the
people will not. They vote for the names they know and those are the
names that have the biggest and most signs in every neighborhood come
election time. Guess where all that money comes from for all those big
signs? Yep, it’s the people who meet separately with them, in their
offices, when they ask for that favor back which helped them get
Just before the last
election, there was a list published someplace, which someone had
complied, showing the votes of those running for office who voted with
the developers. Mr. Humke's name stood out in that list.
Now I think I heard him say we don’t understand.
The bottom line is that he doesn’t
understand what we have in Washoe
is special for Nevada.
But in the end, the only way we have a
slight chance of saving
is to vote them out of office. But of course that will never happen,
since the developers will have bought all their friends big signs that
will get them reelected. And those that vote against them will have the
uphill battle against well funded and lawyer backed builder friends.
We’ll show up at
tomorrows meeting and fill the room. We’ll voice our concerns and
wishes. Perhaps they will nod or smile, but in the end. Late some night,
after all have left the meeting room. They will vote to give their
developer friends, what they want to make them a few million $’s more
and the voters will reelect them again next year.
Then last of all,
we’ll get stuck with the bills.
It May Concern,
residents of Washoe Valley and long time residents of Nevada, we
wish to say that we stand to keep this Valley and its immediate
surrounding area's free from the greedy and ignorant developers and
land grabbers that want to destroy everything in their path and we
hope that starting now you take a hard look at what your doing to
our area around here for you are destroying some of the nicest land
in Nevada with you development. I also think that the Commissioners
of this county and the Reno City Council need to look at what they
have done and are doing with all of this also. They are supposed to
represent us as elected officials and do what is wanted by the
people that put them in office. So If you don't like listening to
the residents of this valley and other area's of this county then
you need to let some that will. We demand that this area be left
alone and no more development is allowed now or never. Go out to
the baron desert and build you ugly developments. I also feel that
your south meadows is an I-SOAR to look at and what a mess. This is
Nevada not California nor Chicago nor New York. So leave it that
way and take those ideas back there and keep them there.
I wanted to comment on
Adrien Freund's message. He says the Supporters of Scripps letter
misrepresents the area plan. Well, I wrote that letter and will vouch
for the accuracy of my statements. A list of references has been sent
to the Commissioners that demonstrates exactly where that information
can be found, such as the Regional Plan. You probably are aware, but I
wanted to point out that the term density is different than actual lot
size. Density is the area divided by 5 acres (or whatever size). The
Weston/Lowden property will have half acre lots, and 20% of the lots
will be 1 acre or less. This is not allowed in the Regional Plan and
other documents that are speaking of actual lot size. They say no
sub-division of land less than 5 acres in Washoe Valley. In addition
the 5 acre minimum was upheld in the Serpa vs. Washoe County Supreme
Court case in (I think it was 1995).
We have currently resided at 395 Flicker Circle for the past 29
years back of property on Jumbo Creek.
My wife and myself would like to address our concerns on developing
on 5 acre parcels or less.
Our first concern is the water issue, with only one aquifer that
feeds the entire valley, we had to deepen our well in 1993, and we
fear many would lose their existing wells, since the depth of many
of these wells is 100 feet or less, we ourselves could not afford to
Our second concern is traffic, more traffic than what we deal with
now, especially going from Reno and trying to turn onto Eastlake
Blvd. Going southbound on U.S. 395 always backs up especially around
Our third concern is the wildlife habitat, if there is any left in
the area's being proposed for development. The new freeway
extension, if it ever get's done will probably wipe out any habitat,
and nobody seems to be concerned where the water will come from,
just build, build, and more building.
Are you trying to annex our area for the city, so we can pay
additional taxes? and take away our quiet life?
May 19, 2007
Commissioner Humke and County Planning
I may not be able to attend the May 22nd meeting and I wanted to let you know I
want to retain the rural flavor of Washoe Valley
and do not want the area plan that dozens of residents objected to every step
along the way -- approved.
The sky is blue here and the birds are singing. We'd like to keep it that
way and allow development on 5 acre or 1 acre
parcels as currently zoned. Thank you.
Thank-you for your e-mail. It will be included in the agenda for the May 22nd meeting; so all commissioners will be
made aware of your concerns. Included below is a response to some of the concerns by residents about the South
Valleys Area Plan from Adrian Freund, director of Washoe County's community development department. While this
does not necessarily reflect my official opinion, it may provide you with some useful information.
The South Valleys Area Plan is being completely misrepresented in the e-mails that are circulating in the Washoe Valley Area.
The plan seeks to clearly articulate the rural heritage and character of the area, and contains a series of goals and policies specifically
designed to ensure that Washoe Valley retains its place as a scenic corridor between Reno and Carson City. The conservation of
the area's natural resources, including habitat and water, can be considered a foundation of the plan.
The plan does not allow the types of uses mentioned in a letter recently circulated by the supporters of the Scripps WMA.
In addition, the plan does not allow the small lot development that now exists in much of East Washoe Valley and in Washoe
City (minimum lot sizes on septic tanks are now 5 acres). The plan generally limits new residential development to individuals
that own legal lots and can construct a residence by right. The Weston property will have densities of less than one unit per 5
acres and will go through an extensive public hearing process before any development is approved. That property is now zoned
General Rural and entitled to one residence per 40 acres. The property will be required to conform to the Regional Plan.
I encourage you to obtain a copy of the proposed plan so you can see the extensive treatment given to the concerns you articulate.
I would encourage your neighbors to do the same so that they can be fully informed on the plan.
You can obtain a copy of the plan by stopping by the office and picking up a paper copy, or you can download a copy at:
If you have any further concerns please contact staff planner Eric Young at 775-328-3613 or
email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> .
Adrian P. Freund, AICP, Director
Washoe County Community Development
Note: The following three articles are
related to the County Commissioners Meeting of May 22nd, 2007 and will provide a
good review of the issues. Read the articles below them for the history of the
May 18, 2007
Letter to the County Commissioners
Washoe County Board of County Commissioners
May 22, 2007 meeting
Regarding the South Valley Area Plan:
We are sending this important information to you in the hope
that you will have time to look it over and better understand our position
before the May 22nd meeting.
EXPLANATORY INITIAL POINTS
There are a few important points that must initially be made.
Washoe Valley is defined in the current 2002 Truckee
Meadows Regional Plan & the latest update of the 2007 TMRP as a Rural
Development Area (RDA).
WV is designated a Rural Development Area on the TMRP
WV is the only part of the SVAP that is a Rural
Development Area (RDA).
WV is outside the Truckee Meadows Service Area and
receives limited services.
WV is outside the Future Service Area & Reno’s Sphere
The negotiated Settlement Agreement required a land use
change from tourist commercial to residential for Sierra Reflections
development, (located just north of Washoe Valley). The required WC TMSA
extension runs south to Pleasant Valley’s Pagni Lane and has capacity only for
Sierra Reflections and those landowners in Steamboat & Pleasant Valley who
request services. Staff from WC Water Resources & Sierra Reflections
representative, Kenneth Krater, have repeatedly and publicly informed the EWV &
WWV CABs that the TMSA for Sierra Reflections does NOT have the capacity for
On Feb. 20, 2007 Mike Harper told the Washoe County Planning Commission, “Sierra
Reflections is a non-conforming use”. As such, it must not be used to set a
precedent to introduce the TMSA into Washoe Valley.
Before the Settlement Agreement, Reno=s
SOI included parts of the SVAP, specifically Steamboat & Pleasant Valley and
ended at the top of Washoe Hill, the entrance to Washoe Valley. As a result of
the Settlement Agreement, Reno agreed to roll back the SOI from Washoe Hill to
Rhodes Road in northern Steamboat for which we, the residents of Washoe Valley,
are very grateful to the WC Commissioners.
At the Feb. 20th meeting of the WC Planning Commission,
Steamboat resident John Rhodes spoke on behalf of himself, his family and the
property they own at Rhodes Road, and spoke in favor of the SVAP. The issue we,
the SVAP working group, would like to clarify and emphasize is that the
Steamboat area, is identified as an Unincorporated Area within the TMSA, which
differs greatly from Washoe Valley, a Rural Development Area outside the TMSA.
Mr. Rhodes spoke specifically of the family property in Steamboat, and did not
address Washoe Valley=s
very different situation as a Rural Development Area.
SVAP NON-CONFORMANCE ISSUES
There are three main points on the enclosed SVAP
NON-CONFORMANCE ISSUES which include examples of multiple problems within
the Washoe Valley sections of the SVAP; therefore we would like those and all
other non-conforming sections of the SVAP changed to conform with the intent and
the policies found in the Truckee Meadows Regional Plan.
We would request the Board of County Commissioners to direct
the following changes as they apply to Washoe Valley;
The SVAP must be in full compliance with the TMRP, meaning Washoe
Valley will be given;
no increase in land use of more than 1 unit per 5 acres in either
density or intensity;
no residential, commercial and other uses that will require municipal
services, i.e. the TMSA, or water/wastewater facilities;
no proposed subdivisions that will require municipal services,
water/wastewater facilities or TMSA;
no Mixed-use District of compact commercial & urban/suburban
no lots of less than 5 acres in density or intensity & no municipal
services for the Weston/Lowden Specific Plan; and
no TMSA or water/sewer facilities within Washoe Valley;
In addition, we request,
compliance with the WC Development Code as it relates
to land uses proposed for the Old Washoe City Historic Mixed-use
no Neighborhood Commercial/Office Regulatory Zone for
the Old Washoe City Historic Mixed-use Commercial District; and
the opportunity for the land-owners and citizens of
Washoe Valley to (once again) choose appropriate commercial and
residential land uses for our rural area. (The SVAP working group=s
original choices have mysteriously disappeared.)
I apologize for the large amount of information in this
back-up packet, but we witnessed many inaccuracies and lies of omission in
staff’s public testimony before the WC Planning Commission, Feb. 20th meeting.
Therefore we feel it necessary for you to have access to the true situation, and
Our rural areas, once lost are lost forever.
May 18, 2007
SVAP NON-CONFORMANCE ISSUES
with TM Regional Plan, WC Development Code, and Nevada State
Three main points on the issue of non-conformance of the SVAP with; (a) the
2002 Truckee Meadows Regional Plan; (b) the proposed 2007 TMRP, Draft H; (c) the
Washoe County Development Code; and (d) the Nevada State Water Engineer.
(1) Rural Development Area TMSA-Municipal Services
The South Valleys Area Plan is not in conformance with the TMRP in at least
the following areas. The TMRP map designates Washoe Valley a Rural Development
Area (RDA), and defines the Rural Development Areas (RDA) as outside the TMSA
and receiving limited public services.
In order to conform to the TMRP and or to protect water quality & quantity,
must not allow additional development that requires the provision of
must not allow new divisions of land that create a parcel of less
than 5 acres, and
must prohibit amendments that increase the density or intensity to
parcels less than 5 acres.
(See Documentation # 1through #9)
(2 ) Mixed-use TMSA-Municipal Services
Mixed-use is used In the TMRP 13 times, 12 in reference to downtown, regional
centers, and transit corridors, and 1 time in unincorporated WC within the TMSA,
(unincorporated WC is Steamboat and Pleasant Valley, Washoe Valley is a RDA).
Mixed-use development creates a more compact pattern of moderate and
high-density residential and employment centers.
It is used in along the Transit Oriented Development Corridors shown
on Map 4, Centers and Corridors.
The majority of mixed-use development is in the cities downtown
Increased densities of 14 units per acre and inappropriate land uses;
condominiums, duplexes, mixed-use (apartments over shops) in the Old
Washoe City area could double the population of Washoe Valley, require
municipal services, and could jeopardize existing domestic wells. If the
same uses expand to the entire Mixed-use District, the population could
increase by far more.
(See Documentation #10 through #24)
(3) Specific Plan Water and Sewer Facilities
Specific Plans in the South Truckee Meadows Area Plan and the
Spanish Springs Area Plan are used for Industrial Parks, not to increase
residential density for one landowner s property.
The Specific Plan for the Weston Lowden is not in compliance with the TMRP.
The proposed subdivision of 140 units will have half acre lots,
Washoe Valley a Rural Development Area requires a 5 acre minimum parcel
Densities awarded did not take into account Development Constraint
Areas within the boundaries of the proposed development.
The Specific Plan does not address major infrastructure systems that
will be required.
Municipal services will be required to serve 140 units. Well and
septic systems are not a viable solution for the property.
The owners do not own sufficient water rights.
The property is in east WV, and in order to protect the quality and
quantity of water for domestic wells and the lakes in east Washoe
Valley, water rights cannot be transferred from west to east. There are
no water rights available in east WV, and those water rights available
in west WV cannot be transferred to the eastside, but the water could be
piped across the valley. Both the cost of water rights in Washoe Valley
and the expense of a pipeline to the Weston/Lowden property, across
private land and Hwy 395, and uphill from the proposed development for
water pressure would be an extremely expensive proposition. This
proposed subdivision is not financially feasible for 140 units, it would
need much higher density.
In 2005, Mr. Weston planned 480 units on his property, 2005 CPA for Weston/Lowden.(See
Documentation #25 through #33)
IN ADDITION, the following examples of Goals & Policies in the SVAP update
are not in conformance with TMRP intent or policies.
To be in conformance with the 2002 TMRP & the 2007 TMRP update; Washoe County
must not allow parcels of less than 5 acres, and must prohibit amendments that
increase the density and intensity to less than 5 acres in the Washoe Valley
area, yet SVAP policies;
Increase density to 14 units per acre in the neighborhood commercial
areas of old Washoe City, and
Allow clustering of 1 unit per half acre for the Specific Plan in
Allow parcels of less than 5 acres when a new water source or more
efficient water and wastewater systems is available in east WV,
Allow a minimum parcel size of 1 unit per 4 acres in west WV.
Washoe County must not allow development that requires municipal service in
the Washoe Valley area, yet SVAP policies;
Allow water and waste water facilities for the Specific Plan in east
Allow community water and sewer service old Washoe City,
Allow land uses in the Mixed-use area of old Washoe City that will
require municipal services of water and sewer. The mix of land uses
includes large shopping malls, schools, hotels with convention
facilities, movie theaters, RV parks, gun clubs, condominiums,
apartments, heliports, airports, and jails. (all this and more could
be allowed within an area of little more than one square mile).
(See Documentation #34 through #41)
May 18, 2007
Documentation for the Letter To the Commissioners
for Three SVAP Non-conformance Issues, and SVAP Goals &
Complete documentation of Non-Conformance Issues (color coded), from the
2002 & 2007 TMRPs,
the WC Development Code,
the South Valleys Area Plan update,
and other sources.
(1) Rural Development Area/TMSA-Municipal Services
15534. “The Rural Development Area (RDA): The RDA is outside the
Truckee Meadows Service Areas, and contains dispersed development and
employment on large parcels of land. The RDA will only receive limited
public services and facilities.”
(TMRP: Planning Principle #1: pg II.B.3)
15535. TMRP Map 2 designates Washoe Valley a RDA.
(TMRP, Map 2: Rural Development Area.)
15536. “Rural Development Area: Area within the region lying
outside the Truckee Meadows Service Areas.”
(TMRP: Glossary: pg III.B.10)
15537. “Cities: Main economic drivers; service providers. Home to
downtowns and the preponderance of residential, nonresidential, and
mixed-use development. County: Service provider. Home to cities and
rural area. May include unincorporated communities, which are primarily
Institutional Rolls chart, pg I.13)
15538. “The Rural Development Area (RDA) consists of dispersed
residential, employment and other uses that do not require the provision of
municipal services. To be in conformance with the Regional Plan, Master
Plans of Local Governments must not allow additional development within the
RDA that requires the provision of municipal service, and must not allow new
divisions of land that would create a parcel less than 5 acres in size.”
(TMRP: Goal 1, Policy 1.1.5, pg
15539. “To be found in conformance with the Regional Plan, and in
accordance with the water quality protection policies of the Washoe County
District Health Department (WCDHD) and the State Engineer, Master Plans of
Local Governments must prohibit amendments to zoning that increase the
density or intensity to allow division of parcels to less than 5 acres in
size within the rural development area (RDA).”
(TMRP: Goal 2.4, Policy 2.4.3, pg II.C.6,
(WC District Health,
NV State Water Engineer)
15540. “Proposed parcel maps and tentative subdivision maps in the East
Lake area of the Washoe Valley Hydrographic Basin shall not create parcels
of less than five acres until a new imported surface or groundwater
water source from a different hydrographic basin is available and approved
by the County.” (WC Dev’l Code:
Section 110.210.05 (a)(1), pg 210.1)
15541. The source of the WC Water Resources map is the Nevada State Water
Engineer which identifies the East Washoe Valley 5 acre parcel
limitation boundary. (WC Dev’l
Code: Section 110.210.05.1, Water Resources Map, pg 210.2,
NV State Water Engineer map,)
15542. “RDAs: outside the TMSA, and contains dispersed development
and employment on large parcels of land. The RDA receives only limited
public service and facilities. Ranches; agriculture; forestry; scattered
residences, business and commercial services; and certain industrial and
recreational uses not compatible with urban or suburban development
characterize the rural area.”
(TMRP: Goal 1, Policy 1.1.8 pg II.B.10, TMRP, Map 3, Development Constraints
Area, TM Regional Planning Agency - Fact Sheet)
(2) Mixed-use/TMSA-Municipal Services
15543. “Commercial and mixed-use development will be directed to
centers and transit corridors.”
(TMRP: Planning Principals - Centers and Corridors, pg II.B.6)
15544. “Downtown Centers: Mixed-use areas that contain
developments, services and facilities that provide the primary social,
cultural, civic and economic focal points of the region. The Downtown
Centers will contain high-density residential developments and will have the
highest level and range of activities in the region including shopping,
recreation, dining and entertainment, gaming and accommodation, employment
and education, cultural or community events and public services and
facilities. Downtown Centers will be multi-modal and/or transit hubs and be
sited along automobile or transit corridors.”
(TMRP: Glossary, pg III.B.3)
15545. “Regional Centers: Mixed-use areas that contain development
and services that provide regional benefit. Regional Centers will have a
primary specialized focus and will be substantially self-contained. Regional
Centers may contain high-density residential developments and will have a
high level and range of activities including shopping, recreation, dining
and entertainment, gaming and accommodation, employment and education,
cultural or community events and public services and facilities. Regional
Centers will include a high level of pedestrian activity. Regional Centers
will be multi-modal and/or transit hubs and be sited along automobile or
transit corridors.” (TMRP:
Glossary, pg III.B.8)
15546. “Create a more compact mixed pattern of residential units
and employment locations, served by a region-wide multi-modal transportation
system, to reduce levels of travel demand, facilitate efficient service
provision, and promote a jobs/housing balance;“
(TMRP: Planning Principal 1, pg II.B.1)
15547. “Transit-oriented development (TOD): Moderate and high-density
housing concentrated in mixed-use developments located along transit
routes. The location, design, and mix of uses in a TOD emphasize
pedestrian-oriented environments and encourages the use of public
transportation.” (TMRP: Glossary,
15548. “Downtown Centers, Regional Centers and TOD Corridors will be
mixed-use, visually attractive and will entice both local residents and
visitors to the area, day and night. These Centers and TOD Corridors will
promote multi-modal transportation and may support a range of activities
including shopping, recreation, dining and entertainment, gaming and
accommodation, employment, cultural or community events, as well as
providing high density residential opportunities.”
(TMRP: Centers & Corridors, pg 6)
15549. “Mixed-use and commercial areas will be directed to
downtown & regional centers located along transit-oriented development (TOD)
corridors, Map 4. (TMRP: pgs
15550. Centers and TOD Corridors: Require mixed uses through
amendments of zoning code and development of Best Practices development
guidelines for centers and corridors;”
(TMRP: Centers & Corridors, Policy
15551. In the TMRP mixed use is mentioned 13 times, 12 in
reference to downtown, regional centers, and transit corridors, and once in
unincorporated WC within the TMSA. (Unincorporated WC includes Steamboat
& Pleasant Valley, not the Washoe Valley RDA.)
(TMRP: pgs II.B.3, 6, 17, 18, & 22)
15552. “The preponderance of residential, nonresidential, and
mixed-use development will be in the Cities downtown areas.”
(TMRP: pg I.13)
15553. Regional Centers, Map 4,areas defined as “mixed-use areas
that contain development and services that provide regional benefit.”
(TMRP: pg III.B.8)
15554. Transit-oriented development (TOD), Map 4, is defined as “moderate
and high-density housing concentrated in mixed-use developments
located along transit routes.”
(TMRP: pg III.B.11)
15555. “Downtown Centers: Mixed-use areas that contain
developments, services and facilities that provide the primary social,
cultural, civic and economic focal points of the region. The Downtown
Centers will contain high-density residential developments and will have the
highest level and range of activities in the region - including shopping,
recreation, dining and entertainment, gaming and accommodation, employment
and education, cultural or community events and public services and
facilities. Downtown Centers will be multi-modal and/or transit hubs and be
sited along automobile or transit corridors.”
(TMRP: Glossary, pg III.B.3)
15556. “The Regional Plan provides direction and standards for how and
where development occurs in the Truckee Meadows and nearby areas in Washoe
County.” “TMSAs: the zone within which municipal services and
infrastructure will be provided. The TMSA promotes a more compact form of
future development. It includes the high-intensity core areas and existing
and planned urban and suburban uses. The Regional Plan seeks to limit the
spread of the urban footprint and direct a portion of development of homes
and jobs toward the traditional core of the region - it’s downtowns,
regional centers, and transportation corridors.” “This strategy will
redirect some growth that might otherwise occur at the urban fringe make a
more efficient use of land, natural resources and community services; save
money on infrastructure, reduce dependence on the private automobile;
promote multi-modal transportation choices; protect air quality; conserve
energy; preserve open space; and create more affordable communities.”
(TMRP: Goal 1, Policy 1.1.8 pg II.B.10,
TMRP, Map 3, Development Constraints Area, TM Regional Planning Agency -
15557. “Mixed-use development and redevelopment in certain
portions of the Old Washoe City Historic Commercial District Management Area
are encouraged. In order to facilitate a more efficient and
community-oriented land use pattern, to influence average daily trips on
local roadways, to ensure the social and economic viability of this
important area, and to provide for necessary community services, the
following bonuses and design standards may be applied: a. In NC regulatory
zones, in conjunction with a primary use allowed under that designation,
uses allowed under a residential regulatory zone can be established at
densities not to exceed 14 units per acre. b. Mixed-use developments
must be proposed as a unified project. c. Mixed-use developments must
integrate architectural and pedestrian features, landscaping and buffering
so as to create a unified design. d. Development proposals in the OWCHCD
should provide for future or demonstrate current pedestrian integration with
neighboring parcels.” (SVAP: Policy
8.1, pg 24)
(3) Specific Plan/Water & Sewer Facilities
15558. Specific Plan: The minimum residential lot size is
half an acre. Twenty percent of the total residential lots may be
less than 1 acre. (SVAP:
East Washoe Valley, Goal 5, SV.5.1 (g), pg 19)
15559. Specific Plan: Any necessary public infrastructure such
as water or waste water facilities shall be located, landscaped
and designed in a manner such that the impact on any existing
residential development is minimized.
(SVAP: East Washoe Valley, Goal 5,
SV.5.1 (j), pg 19)
15560. Specific Plan: W//L property has insufficient water
rights. The property is located on a hill of Basalt bedrock with few
water bearing fractures, and is covered by a shallow 1-2 feet of soil.
According to well reports from the State Water Engineer’s office and an
opinion from the District Health Department, well and traditional septic
systems are problematic. (Well
reports, Weston/Lowden 2006 CPA,
WC District Health letter)
15561. “All specific plans shall include, as a minimum, the
subjects set forth in this section. (c) The distribution, location and
extent of major infrastructure systems to address transportation,
sewage, water, drainage, solid waste and other essential services
(including a Streets and Highways System Plan map and associated text
and a Public Services and Facilities Plan map and associated text).”
(WC Dev’l Code: Section
15562. Specific Plans require the distributions, location and
extent of major infrastructure systems to address sewage, water,
drainage, and other essential services.
(WC Dev’l Code: Section 110.816.10
15563. Specific Plan: Waste water disposal from a private
system is problematic due to shallow soil and volcanic bedrock with few
fractures. (Well reports,
WC Dept of Health letter)
15564. Specific Plan: Water rights may not be transferred from
west to east WV, by WC code and the State Water Engineer s office,
due to a lack of water in east WV and water quality concerns. There are
few water rights in east WV and those are not for sale being held by the
owners for their own use.
(Conversation with Vahid Behmaram, Water Resources; David Vhay,
landowner east WV, agricultural fields)
15565. Specific Plan: Water rights may not be transferred, but
well water could be piped from the west to the east side of the valley
for the W/L property. Water rights are very costly and will be sold to
the highest bidder. To pipe the water across the valley, across Hwy 395
and uphill from the development, 1½ to 2 miles, would require access &
right of way across private and public lands and would be very
expensive. The water would need to be stored uphill from the development
to create the necessary water pressure. It would not be financially
feasible to serve 140 units.
(Conversation with Vahid Behmaram, Water Resources)
15566. Weston/Lowden 2005 CPA; Question 8, “Do you own sufficient
water rights?, No”; 8(f) “Adequate water rights will be purchased prior
to recordation of any subdivision maps.@;
Question 9(a) “Water System Type: Public water, Provider: Washoe
County,” 9(d) “Water facility improvements including water lines, pumps
and tanks will be funded by the development.”; Question 10(a) “Sewer
System Type: Public system, Provider: Washoe County;” 10(d) “Extension
of a sewer main to the property will be funded by the development.”
(State Water Engineer Well
reports, CPA For Weston / Lowden - 2005,
WC Dept of Health letter)
Goals and Policies
15567. Low Density Suburban, 1 unit per acre is allowed in Old
Washoe City Historic Mixed-use District.
(SV.1.6, (d), Regulatory Zones in
15568. Weston/Lowden property: The minimum residential lot size is
half an acre. Twenty percent of the total residential lots may be
less than 1 acre. (SVAP:
East Washoe Valley, Goal 5, SV.5.1 (g), pg 19)
15569. Weston/Lowden property: Any necessary public infrastructure
such as water or waste water facilities shall be located,
landscaped and designed in a manner such that the impact on any existing
residential development is minimized.
(SVAP: East Washoe Valley, Goal 5,
SV.5.1 (j), pg 19)
15570. “No new parcels or subdivisions of less than five acres
will be created in the East Lake area of the Washoe Valley Hydrographic
Basin until a new imported water source is available or a water and
wastewater system is approved that does not adversely affect the basin’s
water balance and sustainable yield.” (See Area Plan and Hydrobasins
map) (SVAP: East Washoe Valley,
Goal 23, SV.23.7, pg 35)
15571. “Minimum lot size and maximum densities for private open space
developments are as follows: Low Density Rural (LDR): One unit per 8
acres, minimum parcel size - 8 acres. Medium Density Rural (MDR): One
unit per 4 acres, minimum parcel size 4 acres.”
(SVAP: West Washoe Valley, Goal 6,
SV.6.2 (a), pg 22)
15572. Old Washoe City Historic Mixed-use Character Management Area
is designated a Suburban Community Water and Sanitary Sewer Service
Area on the map. (SVAP:
Public Services & Facilities Plan Map)
15573. New Land Uses being introduced to Washoe Valley; ALL mixed
together in the Neighborhood Commercial & General Rural (agricultural
use) area of Old Washoe City. (a) Mixed-use: (apartments
over shops); (b) Neighborhood Commercial: Community
Centers (strip malls), Commercial Educational Services,
Indoor Entertainment, Indoor Sports and Recreation, Convention and
Meeting Facilities (in conjunction with another primary permitted
use only), Hotels and Motels, Outdoor Sports Club (rifle
ranges, skeet club); (c) General Rural: Duplex,
Multi-Family, Single Family Attached, Education,
Major Public Facilities, Automotive Sales, Commercial
Campground Facilities/RV Park, Outdoor Sports Club,
Helicopter Services; (d) Residential: Duplex,
Multi-Family (condominiums), Single Family Attached
(townhouse/apartments); (e) Civic Uses: Education
(elementary, high schools), Major Public Facilities
(airport, detention/correction facilities, landfill; “major public
facilities use type refers to public facilities that provide a
significant service and have a substantial impact on the community”).
(SVAP: Appendix A, Table 2,
Allowed Uses, (definitions are
from WC Dev’l Code, Article 304 Use Classification System))
15574. Commercial: Community Centers Definition.
“Community centers refers to shopping establishments containing some
services of the neighborhood center plus other services providing a
greater depth and range of merchandise than contained in the
neighborhood center. A community center may be built around a
department store or a variety store as the major tenant. A community
center generally serves a trade area population of 40,000 to 50,000
people, typically has a service area radius of one to three miles,
and has a typical range of 50,000 to 150000 sq ft of gross leaseable
area.” (WC Dev’l Code:
May 18, 2007
Write A Letter, Attend a Meeting For
Your "Quality of Life"
Dear Friends of Washoe Valley, outdoor
recreation, and wildlife;
Some of you already know about the problems we‘ve had with Washoe County’s
update of the South Valleys Area Plan (SVAP). I’m writing today because I know
you must share our concerns over the loss of rural areas, water, and wildlife
habitat to uncontrolled growth. We desperately need your help to keep Washoe
Valley rural and to protect its natural resources for wildlife, recreation, and
I am asking for your support in the form of a letter to the Washoe County Board
of County Commissioners, protesting the South Valley Area Plan update, as
written. The SVAP will be heard at the WC Commission meeting Tuesday, May
22, 2007 @ 5:30 pm. This plan must be denied, and revised in order to bring
it into conformance with the Truckee Meadows Regional Plan (TMRP) and protect
rural Washoe Valley.
The SVAP includes Washoe Valley, Pleasant Valley & Steamboat, but I will
concentrate on Washoe Valley. Washoe Valley is the only area of the SVAP that
is identified as a Rural Development Area in the Regional Plan and, as such, is
given more protection. The intent and policies of the Regional Plan take
precedence over the County’s plan, and can help keep Washoe Valley rural, and
open space, recreation and wildlife areas available and viable in the future.
With respect to Washoe Valley, the SVAP has four conditions that must be revised
in order for the plan to be in full conformance with the Regional Plan & the
Washoe County Development Code.
• must not allow additional development that requires the provision of
municipal service, (such as municipal wells or water supply/wastewater treatment
facilities to serve new development);
• must not allow new divisions of land that create parcels of less than
• must prohibit amendments to zoning that increase the density or
intensity to allow parcels of less than 5 acres in size within Washoe Valley in
order to protect water quality; and
• must not expand the current commercial area to include Mixed-use in
General Rural or residential areas; or introduce land uses currently not allowed
in General Rural and/or Neighborhood Commercial.
All of the above provisions are found in this SVAP and all must be removed in
order to keep population growth to a manageable level and protect our natural
There are two areas in Washoe Valley targeted for development that do not
conform to the TMRP. The first is a Specific Plan for the Weston/Lowden
subdivision in east Washoe Valley with parcels smaller than 5 acres, that will
require municipal services. This property is bordered by public lands on three
sides; to the west it overlooks little Washoe Lake and part of Scripps WMA, to
the east & south is BLM land. There are development constraints, such as steep
slopes, Mule deer winter range & migration route, water supply and wastewater
disposal problems. Within this subdivision, the SVAP grants “special
consideration, for water supply and wastewater treatment”, including solutions
that “need further regulatory relief”. We can only imagine the harm that the
proposed “regulatory relief” will lead to for the surrounding public lands,
lake/wetlands and private domestic well owners.
The second non-conforming area is the Mixed-use expansion of old Washoe City at
the north end of Washoe Valley. To the south, old Washoe City borders the
recently acquired Winter’s Ranch open space, which serves as a buffer for
Scripps WMA. The expansion of this area is planned for urban/suburban type
development of residential and commercial uses mixed with civic and agricultural
uses. Many of these uses are of increased densities that will require
water/wastewater treatment facilities. Included are hotels with convention
facilities, helicopter services, schools, condos, and traditional agricultural
uses like animal slaughter.
Both of these non-conforming development areas in the SVAP MUST BE DENIED and
REVISED to bring them into conformance with the Truckee Meadows Regional Plan,
which takes precedence over local government planning documents.
We have been working very hard on the SVAP and have made progress. Your letters
of support for Washoe Valley can make the difference. Please write and tell the
WC Commissioners that the South Valley’s Area Plan should be denied and brought
into conformance with the Truckee Meadows Regional Plan in order to protect
Washoe Valley. Whether you write in your official capacity or as a private
citizen, Please Write. The WC Commission meeting is Tuesday, May 22, @ 5:30
Washoe County Board of County Commissioners:
Commissioner David Humke
Commissioner Pete Sferrazza
Commissioner Jim Galloway
Commissioner Bob Larkin
Commissioner Bonnie Weber
IThank you so much for your interest, your attention and your support for Washoe
May 5, 2007
Houses Instead of Horses
Did you know that the Washoe County Planning Commission has decided that the
best way to minimize the development of Washoe Valley is to build houses?
Did you know that the same planning commission is taking steps that would soon
allow the TMSA to provide services to expand into Washoe Valley which would
subsequently allow further housing development in our valley? (Think
A few Washoe Valley residents from both the east and west side have for almost 3
years tried to prevent the incursion of housing development into the valley and
have been turned away at each meeting with the Planning Commission. This
same commission seems determined to change the status of Washoe Valley as a
Rural Development Area into something quite different, with expanded
commercial potential, expanded potential for housing development.
The residents of Washoe Valley are now down to their last chance to halt this
urban spread. The Board of County Commissioners will hear the
recommendations of the Planning Commission to approve the South Valleys Area
Plan on May 22nd (stay tuned to this site for the exact time and place on
the agenda). This is our only remaining opportunity to speak out, please come to
the meeting and voice your opinion. If you can’t attend please contact the
county commissioners by
phone, e-mail or letter. You may also e-mail your local CAB members (West
WV CAB click on "roster") (East
WV CAB click on "roster") and they will forward them to the commissioners.
March 18, 2007
From a correspondent: On Tuesday, February 20th, the
Washoe County Planning Commission voted to accept the highly flawed South
Valleys Area Plan. I can't say what happened was the Planning Commissions fault.
They depend upon Community Development staff, whose job it is to inform the with
complete and accurate facts in order for them to make fully informed decisions.
The commission members asked the right questions, but the staff planner, a
master of deceit, answered with lies of omission, obfuscation, and word games
meant to misinform. The planning commission believed staff's misinformation and
voted to accept a plan that will introduce suburbia to rural Washoe Valley. My
thanks go out to Neal Cobb, the one commission member able to see through the
smoke screen and vote against this plan.
The SVAP, as written, will bring suburban housing and commercial
uses into Washoe Valley. It changes zoning in old Washoe City to "Mixed Use"
allowing high density condominiums, and apartments over shops. It introduces
hotel/motels with convention facilities. It introduces utility services, water
and sewer to serve all this development. It approves inappropriate housing
density for the Weston/Lowden property which will require water/sewer even
though the owner's have no water rights.
The Department of Community Development carries the ethical
responsibility of seeing that staff perform their duties to Commission and and
Board members, if not the public, with the utmost honesty. The sad truth is,
when it serves their purpose, ethics are the last thing on their mind: it's all
about development and not at all about community.
Our last chance is the Board of County Commissioner's April
meeting. If they fail us, I'm very sorry to say Washoe Valley will change from a
rural community to a suburb of Reno (and look like south Reno-ed).
February 25, 2007
The minutes of the February 3rd joint meeting of the Steamboat/Pleasant
Valley/Washoe Valley CABs and the county planning dept. along with public
comment is here.
Your editor went to the meeting and my review is
January 30, 2007
Several meetings of the SVAP Working Group and EWCAB are underway behind the
scenes to try to provide input on the finishing touches to the Plan are underway
in preparation for the big Joint Meeting on Saturday.
SVAP Draft Update Released. Find the
latest version of the update
here with clarifications, changes and photos.
January 22, 2007
NOTICE OF JOINT MEETING
WASHOE COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION
EAST WASHOE VALLEY CITIZEN ADVISORY BOARD,
WEST WASHOE VALLEY CITIZEN ADVISORY BOARD,
AND GALENA-STEAMBOAT CITIZEN ADVISORY BOARD
Pleasant Valley Elementary School
405 Surrey Drive
Washoe Valley, Nevada 89511
Saturday, February 3, 2007
** THE PLANNING COMMISSION WILL TAKE NO ACTION
NOR CONDUCT ANY DELIBERATION **
February 3, 2007
10:00 a.m. Under the direction of the Planning Commission Chair, CALL TO ORDER
OF JOINT MEETING OF THE WASHOE COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION, EAST WASHOE VALLEY
CITIZEN ADVISORY BOARD, WEST WASHOE VALLEY CITIZEN ADVISORY BOARD AND
GALENA-STEAMBOAT CITIZEN ADVISORY BOARD
ROLL CALL/DETERMINATION OF QUORUM OF EACH OF THE FOUR BODIES
APPROVAL OF THE JOINT AGENDA
10:00 a.m. 1. REVIEW OF COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AMENDMENT CASE NO. CP05-004 (SOUTH
VALLEYS AREA PLAN UPDATE) – Staff will provide a detailed review of the draft
South Valleys Area Plan. Explanations of the policy approaches taken in the
draft plan will be provided and discussed. Staff will display the draft maps
associated with the plan and review how they coordinate with the plan’s goals
Under direction of the Planning Commission Chair, public testimony will be
heard. Following public testimony, the Planning Commission Chair will provide
each Citizen Advisory Board (CAB) Chair, in succession, an opportunity to
conduct their CAB’s deliberation over the draft plan, to include questions of
staff. Upon return of the meeting to the Planning Commission Chair from the last
CAB, the Planning Commission Chair will provide each Planning Commissioner an
opportunity to question and comment on the plan. The Planning Commissioners will
neither deliberate nor indicate any final judgment on the plan. Staff
Representative: Eric Young, Ph.D., 775.328.3613
2. WEST WASHOE VALLEY CITIZEN ADVISORY BOARD RECOMMENDATION: Following any
necessary further clarifications requested of staff by the CAB, the West Washoe
Valley CAB will make a recommendation to the Planning Commission.
3. EAST WASHOE VALLEY CITIZEN ADVISORY BOARD RECOMMENDATION: Following any
necessary further clarifications requested of staff by the CAB, the East Washoe
Valley CAB will make a recommendation to the Planning Commission.
4. GALENA-STEAMBOAT CITIZEN ADVISORY BOARD RECOMMENDATION: Following any
necessary further clarifications requested of staff by the CAB, the
Galena-Steamboat CAB will make a recommendation to the Planning Commission.
ADJOURNMENT (EXPECTED BY 2:00P.M.)
Although a quorum of the Washoe County Planning Commission may be present, no
action will be taken by the Commission.
December 3rd, 2006:
Proposed Area Plan on County Website for Review. Comments will be collected
until January 15th.
Staff Report: County Planners Report to the Planning Commission on SVAP
Progress as of September 19, 2006
Planner Eric Young sent this invitation to the next planning commission
meeting and the staff report to be presented to washoevalley.org on September
13, 2006. It is characterized this way: "This item
is agendized as a non-action item. However, staff intends to use the planning
commission’s discussion of this item as guidance in the development of the final
draft that will come before the commission for adoption at a later public
hearing. Therefore, staff recommends that the Planning Commission consider
staff’s presentation and the community’s comments regarding this update, and
then engage in a robust discussion of the update, including any questions of
staff and the community. "
this link to the report.
Letter to Washoe County
(This letter was sent by frustrated members of the West Washoe Valley
Working Group to Kathy Singlaub, Washoe County Manager. This is copied from the
West Washoe Valley CAB Meeting Minutes of July 18, 2006.)
C. Area Plan Update – Chairperson Struffert read a letter to Kathy Singlaub,
Washoe County Manager, dated June 20, 2006 into the record. He stated that this
letter reflected his sentiments regarding the matter. This letter had been
signed by many individuals. The entire letter is hereby incorporated into the
minutes by reference. Chairperson Struffert summarized the historical portion of
the letter and read the remaining portion into the record as follows:
“In February 2006, Michele Poché was notified of the lack of either
communication or results from our planner. She looked into the extended delay of
the Area Plan and communicated to us that she had consulted with Eric Young and
he would be forthcoming with his work on our plan. Since then he has attended a
few CAB meeting and promised results. But as of June 20, 2006, more than one
year since our plan was submitted, we have yet to see any evidence of a second
draft of our area plan.
At two separate WC Commission meetings the ongoing delay of the SV Area Plan has
been addressed by a member of East Washoe Valley’s working group. In response to
questions from the Commission, Adrian Freund could only answer that he was short
of staff because planners had quit. One has to wonder why so many have left Mr.
Freund’s employ and why competent planners have not been found to fill those
positions. Mr. Freund has also commented publicly on more than one occasion,
that “the South Valleys Plan is being worked on and Washoe Valley residents will
not be happy with the results.”
We have also been told by Eric Young that the Commercial District Plan will not
be included. He has told us the plan will be divided into three sections, one of
each area. Due to the extended delay the three working groups have yet to meet
jointly. But when we do, we will work together as a team to develop the
strongest possible plan for our area. The South Valleys Area Plan will serve to
unite and strengthen not to divide and weaken.
There is only one Washoe Valley project, the Weston/Louden development, that
will benefit by this unprecedented delay. Our version of the updated Area Plan
would strengthen the plan and help us remain part of unincorporated Washoe
County. Our current plan is neither strong enough nor specific enough to protect
us and gives an advantage to the Weston/Louden development. Weston/Louden are
asking for an amendment to the current South Valleys Plan, and to the Regional
Plan. They are asking to be included in the TMSA, which goes against the
negotiated Agreement between Washoe County and Reno and will result in
annexation of Washoe Valley by Reno. By his actions and comments it appears that
Mr. Freund has stronger loyalties to the City of Reno than he does to Washoe
County. Perhaps there is another reason for his behavior, if so we would be
interested in learning that reason.
WC Community Development requested citizen volunteers to update the Area Plan
and we were told to define our Vision and Character Statement, then to define
specific processes to accomplish our community goals. We have worked many
hundreds of hours in good faith to update the plan to best serve the overall
community and to develop a plan that can be used to defend our Vision and
Character Statement. Perhaps we are now expected to “rubber stamp” the plan
changes that Mr. Freund has allude to, changes that will undermine our
intentions in order to serve a couple of “stakeholders”, and land speculators
who wish to exploit the process for their own personal gain.
Every member of our community is a “stakeholder” and those who serve the entire
community should be supported in their efforts.
Washoe Valley is a 150 year old community, not a group of housing developments
full of strangers. The growth we have experience in the past has bee a natural
evolution of our community. New neighbors have established homes here. These are
real neighbors who develop real loyalties to Washoe Valley. We will continue to
work together to develop a planning document that will benefit the South Valley
communities by insuring future growth suitable to the nature and vision of the
If our intentions are in conflict with the Washoe County Commission agenda,
please let us know.
We would appreciate any help you can give us in getting the South Valleys Area
Plan update back on track.
Our Sincere Thanks”
Chairman Struffert stated that he wrote an e-mail to Commissioner Humke last
Thursday regarding the same matter. He commented that the plan should be
presented in advance for review and study. The meeting for comments on the plan
is scheduled tomorrow; however, no draft plan has been presented for review.
He requested that the Board members fully support the letter, point-by-point,
and that he be authorized to advise Commissioner Humke of their support.
Debbie Sheltra moved to support this request. Bill Elliott seconded the motion.
Motion carried unanimously.
Debbie Sheltra requested that the letter become part of the minutes’ record
Karena Miller reviewed tomorrow night’s meeting, which will be an open house.
She outlined future joint meetings relating to the area plan. Hans Struffert
stressed that one of the problems with the area plan is the process.
Jane Countryman reviewed the notice which had been mailed to the residents. She
expressed concern that the goals appear contradictory in that preserving the
area and easement into new economic activities are two goals at cross-purposes
with each other, in her opinion.
A lengthy discussion followed regarding the residents’ frustration with the area
plan process. Commissioner Humke will be notified of this evening’s decision to
support the letter.
Debbie Sheltra moved that there be enough time given that both working groups
can get back to the next CAB meeting that they have scheduled, and that the
community can comment on what the working group can present at that CAB meeting
and that we can then take those comments to the joint meeting. That the joint
meeting be held up until both CABs have a chance to do that. Jane Countryman
seconded the motion. Discussion followed. Motion carried unanimously.
Notes on the upcoming South Valleys Area Plan Meeting of July 19th, 2006
Correspondents comments: This sounds to us like
we will only get this one chance for more input. But the groups feel there is
still much to be done on the plan. Especially since the Reno/Sparks/WC
amendment has been accepted by the Regional Planning Commission. There are
changes in the amendment that effect everyone; concurrency (infrastructure has
to be there before approval), TMSA (WC's service area is overextended), SOI
(Reno's sphere of influence & TMSA boundaries move together). So for the east
side this means we need to be even more diligent in keeping our water supply
healthy. Our plan needs lower density lots (1 unit/10 acs), because if we
overbuild and our wells become polluted WC doesn't have the TMSA for us and if
we need services they would have to come from Reno, putting us in the SOI. Our
plan should require a proven water supply and proven septic plan before any
zoning changes on large parcels. Large parcel subdivisions that cluster units
must dedicate the remaining land to open space, be it public or private open
space. Large parcels must not have zoning changes written into the area plan
because that bypasses all the planning laws, many of them are state laws NRS's.
Even though the east WV group kept meeting and working on the plan after it was
put on hold, we had no representative planner from Community Development
attending our meetings for a whole year. The planner, Eric Young, is supposed
to be helping us with language and ideas on how to accomplish our goals. We
need more working meetings with planner Eric Young.
South Valleys Area Plan Update Meeting
A public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 19th to update the
communities in Pleasant Valley and Washoe Valley on the progress in putting
together the plan. Planner Eric Young is looking for reaction and input to the
plan. The meeting will commence at 6:30pm and run until 8:30pm at the Pleasant
South Valleys Area Plan Timeline
reader submitted-ed July 10, 2006
This timeline was included in a recent letter sent by the East & West Area
Plan Working Groups to Commissioner Humke and copied to a whole bunch of
Fall of 2004, the Dept. of Community Development requested volunteers to
participate in the South Valleys Area Plan update.
• November 2004, volunteer working groups and WC planners began working on the
• Multiple working groups were formed consisting of West Washoe Valley, East
Washoe Valley, and Pleasant Valley.
• November 2004 - July 2005, formal meetings with WC Planners Eric Young and/or
Jan Sei, the individual CABs, and the volunteer working groups were held on a
• Decisions were made on ten separate Study Areas.
• Working groups met with planners Jan Sei on the Historic District Commercial
plan, and Kristine Bunnell on the Parks, Trails and Recreation plan. These plans
were completed on schedule.
• Working group volunteers were encouraged to form small groups to work on the
plan independently. A loosely formed East Washoe Valley group met weekly
organizing the working group’s comments and input into a comprehensive area plan
for Washoe Valley.
• Eric Young’s Status Report: South Valleys Plan to be completed by the end of
June 2005 and a Planning Commission target date of August/September 2005.
• A boundary change between the South Valleys and the Forest Area Plans expanded
the West Washoe Valley CAB area which now extends to meet the Incline Village
CAB boundary line. This area, WV’s view-shed and watershed, was to be included
in the SV Area Plan. Whether WV will be allowed input for this area is now
• April 25, 2005, Eric submitted to the working group a first draft of his
version of the Washoe Valley Plan.
• May 23, 2005, after comments and edits from the full working group, the
group’s version of the Washoe Valley Plan, including our own Vision & Character
Statement, was merged with Eric’s version Draft 1 and resubmitted.
• Eric Young was present at one more meeting, then the South Valleys Area Plan
was shelved and, although we continued to meet, Eric no longer attended our 2005
• February 2006, Assistant WC Manager Michele Poché was notified that we have
had neither communication nor results from our planner. She looked into the
extended delay of the Area Plan and communicated to us that she had consulted
with Eric Young and he would be forthcoming with his work on our plan.
• February - June 2006, Eric attended a few CAB meeting and promised results.
• June 22, 2006, more than one year since Washoe Valley’s update plan was
submitted, we have yet to see any evidence of a draft of our area plan that
includes any of the South Valley groups input.
May 16, 2006 Meeting of the West Washoe Valley Community Advisory Board (WWVCAB)
Area Plan Update – Hans Struffert stated that he is very frustrated with the
delays in the process and that Eric Young does not respond to his e-mails
requesting an update. Debbie Sheltra stated for the record that both Mike Harper
and Eric Young told her that major stakeholders would have to attend the
meetings to effect the plan and not meet secretly with staff and not come to the
public hearings. They promised her that this would be held true. Ms. Sheltra
stated that the only way local residents would not like the plan would be
because major stakeholders met privately with staff and had more influence with
staff. Hans Struffert stated for the record that what is happening is an insult
to local residents. Jane Countryman stated that south valley residents have been
let down by staff and have not been kept in the planning process. Karena Miller
stated that she will take the concerns back to staff and mentioned that the
North Valleys plan went before the Planning Commission with several unhappy
north valleys citizens. The plan was sent back to the community for changes. The
Planning Commission held a joint meeting with the NVCAB to address the concerns.
Ms. Miller stated that citizen’s voices do matter and the plan will be brought
back to the community for review and recommendations. Ms. Countryman stated
concern that staff does not provide the draft to residents with sufficient time
to review the document and offer comments. Ms. Sheltra asked why citizens would
need to fight staff to draft a plan that is compatible with the working group
and community. Ms. Miller stated that the process is to bring the draft back to
the working group and community for comments and recommendations. Rod Smith
stated concern that the community had three months to make their plan and that
staff has had months without any response back to the community. Concerns were
raised that the south valleys plan needs to be very detailed in order to protect
ridge lines and other character values for the community. Concerns were raised
that both sides of the valley need to be compatible as to the character of the
communities. Ms. Miller encouraged everyone to review the north valleys area
plan which is available on the Washoe County web-site. Mr. Struffert stated that
the plan is way overdue and they want to see something of the plan soon.