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Information Page

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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.

Dear Commissioners,

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 Commission.

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 attended.

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 jewel.

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
August 2008

SVAP Flier:

SVAP Meeting Sept. 9
For more info and background see our SVAP Page

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:
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 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 89520-0027
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.
Thank you.
The Washoe Valley Working Group Contact us at or 849-1078.
For More information go to


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 alternatives:

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, 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, 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
775-328-6133 fax


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 Night

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 here) 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 coordinator:

Update on South Valley’s Area Plan

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!

Commission Meeting Rescheduled

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 Tuesday!
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 email.
July 18, 2007



Planning Commission Predictable

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 the valley.

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 valley.

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 purposes. 

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 in!
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 TMSA line.
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 services.”

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 Commercial zoning.

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 will follow.  

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 sold.

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., Weston/Lowden).
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 Development
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 annexation everywhere.



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 "staff report":

  • 1. Citizens objections to special treatment of the Weston/Lowden Development in the plan.

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.

  • 2. Citizen Objections to municipal sewer and water systems in WV

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.

  • 3. Citizen objections to expansion of commercial zoning near Little Washoe Lake

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.

  • 4. Objections to multifamily dwellings of 14 units per acre in Old Washoe City

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.

  • 5. Citizen requests that no fixed number of units be approved

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 development code.

  • 6 & 7 Concerns about lot sizes in the Weston/Lowden Development

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.

  • 8. Concerns about open space being developed later

The planners assert that open space in clustered developments would be preserved through deed restrictions or other mechanisms.

  • 9. Concerns that the SVAP references to water allocation and usage were unlawful.

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.

  • 10. Is the SVAP consistent with the needs of the national flyway in Washoe Valley

The planners assert that the SVAP recognizes and addresses the need to protect the wetlands in Washoe Valley for this purpose.

  • 11. This question concerned commercial zoning in the Steamboat area


Thanks Neighbors!

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 issues.

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 great community!
May 24, 2007
Comment on this article

Huge Turnout at Commission Meeting

Transcript Here

Planning Commission 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.

Public 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 meaningless.

  • 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 natural character.

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 article on the hearing here.

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: MORONS!

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 cows."

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 are...

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.

Pete;s response:







I heard it said that the residents of Washoe Valley 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 reelected.

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 Valley is special for Nevada.

But in the end, the only way we have a slight chance of saving Washoe Valley 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.


To Whom It May Concern,
We as 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 re-drill.
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 commute time.
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 Respond



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. 

David Humke

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 <> .

Thank you,

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 SVAP.

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.


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 map.

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 of Influence.


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 Washoe Valley.* 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.


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 residential development;

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 Commercial District;

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 the documentation.

Our rural areas, once lost are lost forever.


May 18, 2007


with TM Regional Plan, WC Development Code, and Nevada State Water Engineer


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, Washoe County;

must not allow additional development that requires the provision of municipal services,

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 areas.

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 size.

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 east WV,

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 WV,

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 & Policies


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 residential.” (Introduction, 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 II.B.9)

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, 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, pg III.B.11)

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 II.B.6, III.B.3)

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 1.2.9.(4))

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 - Fact Sheet)

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 110.816.10, Contents)

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 Contents)

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 OWCHMD)

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: 110.304.25 (f)(2))

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 open space.

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.   

Washoe County;
     •     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 5 acres;
     •     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 resources.  

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 pm.

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 Valley,



May 5, 2007

Look Out!

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 Spanish Springs).

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

SVAP Approved...Unfortunately

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 here.

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

Pleasant Valley Elementary School
405 Surrey Drive
Washoe Valley, Nevada 89511

Saturday, February 3, 2007
February 3, 2007

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 and policies.
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.

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 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. "

    Follow 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 area.

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 verbatim.
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 Valley School.

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 others.-ed

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 plan.
• 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 regular basis.
• 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 questionable.
• 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 meetings.

• 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) exerpt:

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.