Development In North Valleys Sparks Concern Among Some Residents

Jan 12, 2016

A commercial development under construction on North Virginia Street.
Credit ThisisReno

Reno City Council could vote Wednesday on annexing a slice of Lemmon Valley being eyed for development. Michelle Billman reports the decision raises larger questions among North Valleys residents about how growth is impacting their community.

City Council has already unanimously approved an ordinance introduction for the annexation. The owner says the land would be ideal for housing, which has some Lemmon Valley residents worried, including Doug Robertson who spoke up at the last council meeting.

"We don't live in Reno because we don't want to live in Reno," Robertson said. "I'm sorry."

"What? Are you saying you don't like us?" interjected Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve. "I won't take it personally."

"I've lived in Lemmon Valley for thirty-five years," he explained, "and I've watched what the Reno City Council has done--much of it I've disapproved of."

Since the property in question is contiguous with Reno, Council Member Paul McKenzie said it's fair game.

"This is actually an area that the City of Reno is assigned to give fire service to. Along those lines, the sewer system that would service this property is the City of Reno's sewer system," McKenzie said. "Since we're providing the services for the area, it only seems fit that it belongs within the City of Reno."

Beyond Wednesday's possible vote, this proposal is sparking discussion among North Valleys residents about development in general.

"The concerns expressed by residents really amount to the traffic during peak commute hours," said Bob Conrad with ThisisReno. "Water availability is another concern."

Conrad also serves on the North Valleys Citizens Advisory Board and says school overcrowding is another question mark as more companies move in.

At the last city council meeting, Assistant City Manager Bill Thomas explained that growth north of the city is inevitable, and welcome.

"At the regional level, the City of Reno, the City of Sparks, and Washoe County get together to decide where the growth of the community is going to occur," Thomas explained. "All of the North Valleys is designated for development."

Just last year, a new Amazon fulfillment center and Petco distribution hub set up shop in the North Valleys.