Daybreak Leaps Another Hurdle
Daybreak leaps yet another hurdle! The project is going back to City Council next month for certification then we are on our way to creating an exciting new master plan in South Reno!
Mark Krueger, Principal - Krueger Land Team
Daybreak development project survives appeal, headed back to Reno City Council
A massive 3,995-unit development survived a crucial vote late Thursday after a regional planning board rejected an appeal that was brought against the south Reno housing project.
The Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency governing board voted 6-3 to allow the Daybreak development project to move forward. The vote upholds a previous decision by the board in January, when it ruled that Daybreak’s master plan amendment was in conformance with the 2012 Truckee Meadows Regional Plan as “a project of regional significance.”
Daybreak’s developers specifically requested an amendment regarding the city of Reno’s master plan, which prohibits development on a floodplain.
More: Reno City Council approves Daybreak project, avoids court battle
The vote, which was done via a virtual video conference, means that the project can now go to the Reno City Council to seek approval of its planned unit development, or PUD, proposal. Andrew Durling, Daybreak’s project planner, told the Reno Gazette Journal on Friday that they are hoping to have the PUD certified and recorded by July.
The controversial project has seen lengthy delays following disagreements with the city of Reno as well as the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thursday’s vote by the Regional Planning Governing Board was originally scheduled in March until concerns about the novel coronavirus scuttled those plans.
The project also was originally voted down by the Reno City Council, prompting Daybreak developer Newport Pacific Land to sue the city. The city ultimately voted 4-3 to approve the Daybreak project in September following a court-ordered remand for both parties.
Renderings of the proposed Daybreak project in southeast Reno's former Butler ranch site. This shows the south entrance. The number of planned units has since gone down from 4,700 to 3,995. (Photo: Newport Pacific Land)
Some of that opposition lingered during the regional board meeting discussing Daybreak. Two members of the board, Naomi Duerr and Jenny Brekhus, also serve on the Reno City Council and voted against Daybreak following the court remand.
Duerr pushed for the board to find the project in non-conformance with the 2012 Truckee Meadows Regional Plan, especially as it relates to flooding impact.
“I believe this proposal, which will be developing those critical flood areas — which that plan says should be left undeveloped to be able to absorb rainfall and store floodwater — would be developed in contravention to the Truckee River plan that we all signed off on and that we have already spent millions of dollars to implement,” Duerr said. “So I think that’s where the inconsistency is.”
Duerr was joined by Brekhus and Board Member Jeanne Herman in voting against Daybreak. Board Member Ed Lawson, who sided with the majority, sees the project as an opportunity to restore water flow at the site to a more natural state.
“I’m hoping that what we’re doing here is we’re restoring the natural drainage that the Truckee Meadows had back in the old times before people came along,” Lawson said.
Critics of the plan, however, contend that the project has even more problems besides just flooding. Steve Wolgast, one of four area residents who appealed the Daybreak approval, described the project as a public safety issue in his remarks to the board.
“Flooding, mercury contamination and dangerous traffic are profound, lasting hazards that cannot be treated casually,” Wolgast said. “Poor decisions now will represent regional problems for decades.”
Others also raised concerns about just how affordable the housing from the project will be. Reno-Sparks has been suffering from a housing affordability crisis in recent years, with existing home prices still close to record levels despite a slowdown in sales activity due to COVID-19.
Durling responded that the project will have a mix of rentals, detached homes and missing-middle housing. The latter pertains to higher-density buildings such as townhomes and condominiums. Rents will be pegged at market rate while pricing for homes is targeted at or below median home prices below $400,000.
Durling added that the developer will make charitable contributions to the city that can be used toward affordable housing programs but did not indicate a specific dollar amount.
Durling told the Reno Gazette Journal on Friday that the project is eyeing to start construction by the spring of next year should it get the requisite approvals. Financing for the project also remains on track despite the issues arising from COVID-19, Durling added.
“Thankfully, the Reno housing market is still doing well and I think that’s indicative of the supply issue that we’ve been talking about for a few years now and why we need projects like this,” Durling said. “There’s just not enough supply in our market.”
Jason Hidalgo covers business and technology for the Reno Gazette Journal, and also reviews video games as part of his Technobubble features. Follow him on Twitter @jasonhidalgo. Like this content? Support local journalism with an RGJ digital subscription.