UPPER SOUTH EAST COMMUNITIES COALITION, INC - Environmental Preservation Group in Washoe County
Open Forum/Comments

Public Comments Given at Reno City Cousel

City Council Meeting May 8, 2013

F.2 McCarran Crossing - Manke Property - zoning map amendment to PUD
G.1 McCarran Center -  UNR 104 acres -  2nd reading, zoning map amendment to PUD - to monetize value of the land.
I strongly urge the Reno City Council not to rezone 104 acres of UNR farms along McCarran from Manke property to Clean Water Way for future commercial businesses and warehouses. 
When this area floods again there will be less Flood Storage due to these warehouses and commercial businesses.  There is no where to mitigate the water as this area is already surrounded by development.
This entire area is critical for Zone 1 flood storage.  No plans have been developed or disclosed about the impact of this development on flooding nor where the excess water will go.  There has been some reinforcement and height added to dikes to protect business in the Clearwater and Greg area.  This will just force waters to the south into residential areas.
In a desert state, this land is a remaining remnant of open space and wet lands.  One would think such a precious resource would be protected instead of used for a roadway. 
This land is the original land grant which was part of UNR, a land grant university.  The land can be used to promote agriculture, (think UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis agriculture programs and experimental farms which have added much revenue to California agriculture), ranching with expanded services, viniculture (think UC Davis and grape cultivation).  Yes, grapes grow in Nevada.  The Master Gardner land on Mill Street had some very good wine grapes. 
Reno already has many vacant retail and commercial warehouse and light industry spaces. See below the NAI and Grubb & Ellis report regarding vacancy rates in Reno.
The Tahoe Reno Industrial Park east of Reno on Highway 80 is largely vacant except for a few business the largest which is Walmart.  With this area largely vacant does it make sense to build more commercial space in Reno?
Building more retail and commercial space while Reno has such a high percentage of vacant buildings only encourages existing business to move out of existing spaces leaving behind blighted areas.  For such an example look at the Oddie St area.  Lowes moved to Legends in Sparks leaving behind a large vacant commercial space that will most likely remain vacant as the surrounding area continues its downward economic spiral.  Also look at Parkway Mall in the heart of Reno on Virginia St where the only existing building is a movie theatre. The land has been undeveloped for years.
With employment flat for the foreseeable future, does it really make sense to build more commercial and retail space when we already have too much vacant space of the same kind.  (See NAI report below).
Can't Reno supervisors, UNR, and business come up with a more enlightened, creative vision and plan for this land other than more of the same - warehouse and retail?  Every governor, representative, supervisor, and mayor has talked about job and sustainable economic diversification(something other than gambling, warehousing, retail, and construction) but we have seen little in that area other than Apple's Data Center which is out in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Park.  Where is the vision for Reno?
According to the NAI Alliance Retail Market Report for First Quarter 2013 (This is only retail.  This does not include commercial warehouse.  I was unable to find a report on the vacancy rate in Reno for commercial and/or warehouse.)
"Total combined vacancy within the market now stands at 2,479,716 square feet. This is a substantial amount of vacant space that will take time to be absorbed.The market has even farther to recover today than in the 90’s. We really are in uncharted territory, but if the early 90’s are any indication, it could be at least 7 years before we see normalized vacancy rates again."  
"The two Nevada metros posted the steepest declines of all major U.S.markets with payrolls down 14.8 percent in Las Vegas and a jolting 17.3 percent in Reno.Market conditions were less hopeful in the region’s smaller markets. Albuquerque and Reno have seen no growth in jobs since the recession ended.In Reno, with vacancy of 17.1 percent and difficult financing conditions, new development will be negligible in 2012. Retailers are closing their doors at a slower pace, and the increase in vacancy is being mostly offset with new store openings. Reno will see the market bottoming by mid-2012, then starting to trend slightly upward.Reno’s investment market consisted mainly of user sales and bank foreclosures last year. No significant upward trend is expected in 2012. The industrial sector is attractive to e-commerce companies seeking tax advantages, opening up some investment opportunities." http://www.grubb-ellis.com/Forecast2012/PDFs/GRE-FC2012-full.pdf 
Thank you for your time and consideration. 
Dale and Mary Anderson

Public Comments at Reno City Council - April 17, 2013

April 17, 2013
Reno City Council
Agenda Item – General Public Comment
Good morning, my name is Kimberly *******
At this time, I would just like to make some general comments about development.
I have been before this council more times than I can remember.  More times than I should have had to, to protect upper south east Reno.  I have reasoned, I have stated facts, I have begged for your help to protect us, I have threatened,…. but one thing I have not done is ever come up here and not given you a good enough reason for denial of yet another project that will strip away just a little bit more of our “protection”. 
UNR Main Station Field Labortory, Reno Nevada“Protect the Protection”.  I never even knew that’s what I was doing until I heard that.  I guess it does not seem like you’re destroying that “protection” when you only do it 10 to 100 acres at a time.
**** This is what you have done to us since the flood of 1986.  Just around the farm.  Out of all those dots maybe five have any flood retention or detention on site.  Each of these dots that are in Reno were brought before Council and deliberated and approved with blessings and good wishes with almost no thought of what you are doing to us. 
South Meadows area, Reno Nevada
****This is everything you have done to us since 1997.  Everything that was approved here is mitigated to protect them only.  So what did they do?  They channeled all their water to us.  Faster too.  All this was deliberated and approved with blessings and good wishes with almost no thought of what you are doing to us.    
I have no doubt that later you are shortly going to approve another item that will strip away just a little bit more of that “protection”.  You can’t deny them now; you already gave first approval to UNR just a few weeks ago.  It’s practically guarantied that you will give UNR second approval today.   But these guys aren’t going to wait to develop.  Most likely they will be out there next week clearing ground.
I have been trying to remember the last time you denied something in upper south east Reno……yeah, I’ll have to get back to you on that. 
I have come before you and stated many times, people have died in every flood that we have had around here since records started being kept in 1864.  Accidents?  Most likely.  Ignorance? Absolutely.  But you can’t claim that.  Since 1997 this body has worked, on one hand, for the protection of the people of the Truckee Meadows.  (Or was it for the protection of Downtown and the Airport?  Sometimes those lines get blurry don’t they?)   
But on the other hand you have never met a developer you didn’t like.  Especially in the flood plains of this town.   My goodness, we can’t let flat land go to waste can we?  What an abomination!  So here we are 16 years later and we have a fraction of the flood plain that we had in 1997.  Do you even realize that the majority of what you have done to us is for the benefit of people who do not even live in our area? 
You wonder why people don’t come to the NAB’s anymore?  At least in Ward 3?  Because you don’t care.  You listen, you placate, then you do what you had always planned on doing and approve whatever comes down the pike in upper south east Reno.  Sometimes, if we are lucky, you will add conditions that staff says will benefit not just the development, but those that surround.  Lucky us if that works.  
When the next person dies because of what you have done, it will not be just the price of development.  It will not be involuntary manslaughter or negligent homicide.  You have deliberated and made your choices, sometimes over a period of time, but you have always chosen development, and that will be pre meditated murder.

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