Voters for Sensible Growth stand Saturday outside Reno City Hall to raise awareness about what they describe as local politicians catering to developers, over citizens
Mourning what they described as the death of democracy, about 20 people marched Saturday through downtown Reno to raise awareness about what they describe as local politicians catering to developers, rather than citizens.
Voters for Sensible Growth were primarily concerned about amendments to the 2002 Regional Plan that would expand Reno by 12,000 acres to its north and Sparks by 16,000 acres to its east within the next 25 years. One of the amendments would allow 160,000 acres of development the next 100 years.
A public hearing and a vote on the amendments is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Washoe County Commission Chambers.
Reno resident Chuck Fulkerson encouraged the protesters to attend the meeting with signs and to speak at the hearing in hopes the decision will be postponed.
"This is probably a done deal, but every time we're out in the public, it catches someone's attention," Fulkerson said. "You've got to keep these issues at the top of the pot and in the public eye, because there are so many people unaware of what's going on."
Fulkerson read the Regional Plan's eulogy during a noon ceremony at Wingfield Park before the group marched to Reno City Hall, where members remained about an hour.
Scott Kelley of Reno said taxpayers would be footing the bill for much of the sprawling development, such as the importation of water, road construction and other infrastructure that doesn't fall on developers.
"It's $1 billion just for the water importation project," said Kelley, a candidate for Reno City Council Ward 4.
Jan Liscom and Gary Schmidt, both running for the fifth district seat on the Washoe County Commission, said development should take place inside the metropolitan areas first.
"The 2002 Regional Plan was starting to work and it was getting infill in the city," Liscom said.
Schmidt said one way to solve that would be new or redeveloped row housing in the existing city limits, similar to that in San Francisco.
Many people in the Truckee Meadows will buy homes far away from town because they're less costly, but those same people become victims of pollution and traffic as they travel daily to and from work, Schmidt said.
"Give them the same opportunity in town with a new structure," Schmidt said. "Give them a good, clean neighborhood with decent schools."
Contacted afterward, Regional Planning Governing Board Chairman Reno Councilman Dwight Dortch said many infill projects are going on downtown with condos where infrastructure is already in place. But not everybody wants to live in the downtown area, said Dortch, also a Reno councilman.
"Developers will build where people want to live," said Dortch, who didn't attend the protest.
"We're saying that if these (outlying) areas are going to be developed, then we need to be informed and know what's going on so it doesn't have a negative impact on taxpayers," he said.