TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
TOWN HALL MEETING
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Piper's Opera House Virginia City, Nevada
Reported By: PEGGY B. HOODS, CCR #160, RDR, CRR CALIFORNIA CSR 05950
RENO, NEVADA, WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 2007, 5:44 P.M.
TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
MR. SMITH: Good evening, everyone. If I could introduce myself. I'm Blake Smith. I'm the managing partner of the Cordevista project that we're presenting to you. We're waiting a few minutes to see if additional people will join us, but it's a quarter to 6:00 and I thought we'd get started.
And one of the things we wanted to do was allow Bill to stand up and at least introduce Piper's, also, and anything we might say with it, and then I'll jump into the presentation. I'd like to hand it off to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Thanks, and welcome to Piper's. Good to see you all, and I would like to welcome all of you to the events that are going on at Piper's during the summer.
Tomorrow night we kick off the Bluegrass Festival, Cool River Trio, at 7:30 here, and then that festival goes on throughout the weekend in the park.
And on Tuesday and Thursday nights the
Interactive Murder Mystery Dinner Theater event is going on at 6:30, and that continues throughout the month of July and into August.
So come see something at Piper's. And in fact, there are a list of events, so if you want to pick those up tonight, feel free.
MR. SMITH: Thank you, Bill.
I want to thank everyone for taking their evening to come out here this evening. This is a presentation. This will be our third Town Hall Meeting in the political process that we're going through with a project that we're introducing to the County here.
I want to thank everyone for taking the evening. I know they're precious. They're precious to myself, but I thank you for coming this evening.
And what I'd like to do, if I could, is: You see a lot of boards up here, this being -- this would actually be the seventh public-style meeting on it. Every time we've gone to a meeting, we've had a different comment or a different question. The graphics always help with that. So what I was going to do this evening was walk through -- I might try and -- not abbreviate it, but hit on the high points.
If you'd allow me probably 45 minutes to go through and introduce the project, I'd like to, at that point, if we could hold our questions through that, is I'd open it up to a forum at that point and allow anyone to ask any questions or comments at that point. And we'd love to introduce you and educate you on what we're trying to accomplish here, so...
What I might start with is just -- as I mentioned, we're in the political process here. And, again, the spotlights aren't going to hit on all of this, so I'm going to point and talk to this. And, again, we'll leave these up afterwards if there's any questions, but there's a large question on where we are in the process.
If I can speak to -- actually, I'm going to -- I'm going to bounce around on these boards, but Cordevista is a large piece of property within the center of Storey County. And I'm going to walk over and point to it here, and I'll go back and forth.
But Cordevista, if you take a look at Cordevista -- and this actually depicts Storey County here, the outline of it. This mauve color here is the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Park. Cordevista sits almost exactly in the center of the county here.
Other location points would be Virginia City here. And I'm just going to call out these things because not everyone can see them, but the distance from our southwest corner to Virginia City, as the crow flies, is nine miles away. So we're nine miles to the north from here.
This is the Virginia City Highlands areas. This depicts the 40s, the 10s and the 1-acre lines in here.
Again, from the southwest corner to the easiest location point that we picked was the fire station within Lockwood -- excuse me -- Virginia City Highlands. That's about 4.3 miles from the fire station to our property boundary.
The other location point is Lockwood up here. This northwest corner from it to Lockwood, as the crow flies, is about 4.3 miles.
We are encompassed on three sides by the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Park. The other reference point would be Mark Twain, down in this area.
But what we are trying to do through the political process and our applications, we have two applications in, which is a Master Plan Amendment and a zone change.
Our current zoning within this property is called special industrial, and I'll speak to that in a little bit. And what our application is requesting is going to a mixed use, and mixed use, to us, is a zoning that would allow us to build office buildings, commercial retail buildings, and housing. And all of that, or the majority of that, would be targeted at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Park.
And I believe everyone -- I'll talk to it in a little bit, but the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Park is the largest industrial park in the world. It is a fabulous asset to not only Northern -- to Storey County, but to Northern Nevada. They had a front page ad on it on Sunday. I don't know if everyone saw it in the Reno paper, but it speaks of the fabulous growth that's occurring in it, and it's beyond fabulous. It's really astounding or incredible what they're building in there just today, and I'll speak to that.
But our project is basically encompassed by the industrial park. This industrial park being 102,000 acres in size, Cordevista is 8,600 acres in size. This is zoned industrial manufacturing; ours is zoned special industrial, which allows for even additional uses within it.
And what we're seeing is that the real -- the higher and best use for the property would be more--- not additional industrial, let alone special industrial for the property, but to do a mixed use and complement the industrial and manufacturing that's already occurring in the business park, that we would turn this into a planned community or a mixed-use community within this area. So that's kind of a macro of what we're doing.
I speak about the political process, and what we have done today is file a Master Plan Amendment, which I mentioned, and a zone change. And how that works is that there's actually three steps in the political process that we go through on this change.
We filed the Master Plan Amendment and the zone change. We would go through public forums and meeting processes. That's the state we're at right now. We're in front of the planning commission, and we are requesting a vote from the planning commission.
The planning commission is an appointed group of citizens that vote a recommendation which goes on to the county commission, and the county commissioners make the ultimate vote and the binding vote at that point.
So we have made an application. We're in front of the planning commission at this stage. We will
end up ultimately in front of the county commission, which will be the ultimate vote at that point. That would be step one.
Step two would come back -- and the reason I want to note this is because there's a lot of questions that come at us; you know, how many roads are you going to have? Or, how many homes? Or, is there offices and how many office buildings?
Those type of questions would come on the step -- the second step, which would be we would develop a detailed land plan of the property, show where roads are, show where schools would end up, show where the office buildings, the houses, everything would go in, and we'd have detailed numbers of what we would do within that.
So everything in our application today talks about ranges or concepts of what we're doing in here, because there's a lot of questions that are being requested that we're saying, look, that's step two.
And this goes through the same political process again. We would come back in with a PUD application and the details of it. And I'm not exaggerating, it could be a foot thick, the PUD document itself, with all the details and all the things we work
out with staff. We would come back and go into the public forum. The planning commission would cast a vote on that, recommendation vote, and the county commission would either agree with it and vote yes or vote no, and this is the second step to it as far as us going to -- even being able to build on the project.
The third scenario, upon the PUD, the third step is that we would come back in with actually maps, recording of maps, and this is where you would start the construction phase of the project, and this is called a tentative map/final map.
Again, you go back to the planning commission for recommendations. If there are questions or comments, it's reviewed at that point again. The county commission votes on it again.
So it is a series of political, open-forum meetings that we go through, educating and requesting votes.
We are on the -- I'll call it the macro concept one, which is basically we're asking the zoning to come from special industrial to a mixed use. With that, we would walk away and come back with a planned unit development and begin the same process again, gathering comments, questions or changes requested. This
would go through a series of months of processing, and then walking away again for a third time to come back for this.
So I want you to know that because a lot of people are asking questions that may -- that are reaching all the way out to the third phase of which we have no way of accomplishing those answers.
We can work with conditions of approval which state that at this level you can condition us to say with the approval of the zone change, that when you come back at this level or this level (indicating), that you must do certain things. And one of the most recent ones that's come at us is phasing; could you take the project and break it into pieces. And that's one of the things we're working with staff right now and saying, yes, if it's more digestible or appealing for the planning commission or the county commissioners and the citizens, yes, we could break this down into phases with that.
So those are kind of the comments, and this process that we're in right here is looking for those kind of comments so that we can add them to the application or put them to conditions of ourselves in there. But this being the political process, I'm not going to go back into the presentation of the project
And speaking about Storey County as a whole, what this board really depicts here is showing where Storey County is the center of Northern Nevada. It sits in between five different counties: Washoe County, Churchill doesn't really abut, but Lyon County, Carson City, and Douglas, Storey County being the center of Northern Nevada here. And it's even depicted a little bit more -- well, I've jumped over one item here.
What this says in here -- everyone can't read it, so I'm going to just note it in concept. Storey County has been growing, since 1960, at 4.9 percent a year. The county has been growing at about five percent a year for the past 47 years, and what we've looked at and are saying, if it continues on with that, Storey County will grow to 2050 to have approximately 42,000 people in it. Where does that growth -- with the industrial park and all of this phenomenal growth and the natural attrition or growth within the community, where does that growth come from?
I'll show it to you where there's really only a couple places left in the county due to topographic areas, meaning that the county, as everyone is aware, is very -- has lots of hills and other areas. There's only
basically two or three areas left within the county that you could do any type of development left within the county, ours being a large piece of that property.
But this is the census showing the history and showing going forward that it would end up around 42,000 people if it continues with that growth.
We are -- in our application, have used a range of one to two homes per acre, is what we're requesting for. And, again, when we come back in, we'll fine-tune that, but we would stay within that one- to two-acre arrangement. So within the 8,000 acres, we would end up with anywhere from 8 to probably 15,000 homes. It's probably going to settle in about the middle area of that, but that would be at 2.7 people per home, on average, that takes up still with Storey County's growth at five percent, Cordevista would still not fulfill all the housing needs or all the growth that would occur within Storey County, and that's what this lower area speaks about here.
This is another map that really plays into that one, showing Storey County, Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Silver Springs, Fernley. You have all these areas within it, Storey County sitting in the middle of it, dead in the middle of it, and then this huge growth job
business park called Tahoe-Reno Industrial Park right here, and Cordevista being adjacent to it here.
Stepping back, Storey County -- interesting thing. Storey County is the largest privately owned county in the state of Nevada. Over 90 percent of the land in the county is owned by private citizens, and when you look at -- or companies. And when you break it down, what you have is you have basically three or four large ownerships in the county. Tahoe-Reno Industrial Park owns 51 percent of the county, and within that -- in fact, I might just step over to that because I keep speaking about it.
The Tahoe-Reno Industrial Park comprises 51 percent of the county. It is 102,000 acres in size. Of that -- again, with the topography, the hills and the valleys there, about 30,000 acres of that is developable. They are in Phase I of six phases. The 30,000 acres is broken into five phases.
Phase I has virtually been sold out, and they're heading into Phase II of that, but the first 5,000 acres within that project is virtually sold out. But if you take the total 30,000 acres and apply what would be a reasonable development on it, that business park could develop about 600 million square feet of
industrial and manufacturing buildings within the park.
Now, to give that some reference, in all of Northern Nevada currently, if you went and looked at all the manufacturing and all the industrial buildings in all of Northern Nevada, there is about 66 million square feet. So the business park could take all of what you see today, wherever you drive around, and build ten times that size. Because it is so large, it's hard to really fathom unless you kind of put it in some kind of comparison there.
That 600 million feet, on average, could create up to 180,000 jobs inside the park, so it would be the largest generator of any jobs in Northern Nevada.
Reno and Sparks, right now, if you took all of Reno and Sparks, has about 220,000 jobs in all of that area. The industrial park has the potential of going up to 180,000 additional jobs on top of that.
So -- and currently, to date, as of a couple months ago, they had about 4 million of the 600 million square feet of buildings built, they had about 3,000 jobs in the business park, and they have 5 million square feet of buildings that are being built currently that are under construction out there.
So by the end of this year they should have
about 9 million square feet of buildings in the park. There's a potential of them -- if all the companies move in on time with that, the park could go from 4,000 to 10,000 jobs by the end of the year.
And speaking with the developers, they're seeing that in the next year, in 2008, that they would probably go to 17 million square feet of buildings and probably 15,000 jobs within the business park.
And this really, just those statistics and looking at this is where our application comes in and says, where do all these people live, work, where do they commute to? Right now, for you to get a sandwich at the business park, literally, you have to go to Fernley or Reno, or you can stop in -- Lockwood has a market, but you are commuting almost 20, 25 miles just to get your lunch out there right now.
And so those are the kind of things we're looking at. And good planning -- there's good planning principles, as they call them. There's large groups that go around the country and assist, and we've hired some of these groups. The Planning Center is one of the leading companies that's helping us with the plan on here. You want to put the jobs as close as you can to the -- excuse me -- you want to put the housing and retail as close as
you can to the jobs, especially in today, with common things about pollution and gas and cost and impact, you want to try and bundle all of your jobs and your housing and retail as close as you can.
And that's really what we're saying. We're encompassed on three sides of the business park. We're isolated. The closest development to us is over four miles away, and we are trying to -- what we would do is develop a road into the business park and keep those impacts in this quadrant in here. They'd be isolated into the Cordevista area.
There's been a lot of questions from here and Virginia City Highlands about there will be a road developed down here and all this traffic will come through here. What we're asking the planning commission to do is condition us that there would be not a road coming to the south for those concerns. Obviously Virginia City Highlands, there are some roads into here, and there's currently some dirt roads that span out and either touch us or go to the petroglyphs in there. It's a valid concern of, "Hey, could those roads be developed and could there be a lot of impact put onto us?" Our answer is no, we'd be conditioning ourselves not to do that so that those roads wouldn't come down into these
areas in here.
But, yeah, let me finish up on that.
But, again, the industrial park is 51 percent of the county, the Virginia City Highlands area comprises 15 percent of the county, Cordevista will comprise about 5 percent of the county, and the remaining areas are down in Virginia City, Mark Twain, Lockwood. You have a brand-new project that's just been approved in the past six months called Painted Rock, and I'll speak about that in a second.
This was approved. It is in between the business park and Fernley. It's called Painted Rock. It's 2,000 acres in size. And here, I'll just address that real quick.
Painted Rock. Painted Rock requested six months ago and was approved for the identical zone change we're looking for. They were actually zoned forestry and requested a mixed-use development which would allow commercial and housing. The planning commission approved that and the county commissioners approved that about six months ago.
So this 2000 acres in here is approved and is beginning -- they are starting to come back in with the second phase over there, the PUD phase, but they're
envisioning the same type of zoning we would have, which is one to two homes per acre in there. If you took that, that would be about 3,000 homes that are coming to the county and about 8500 to 10,000 people residing at Painted Rock when it's fully developed down there. So this project is already approved and coming.
We're asking for the same thing on the other side of the business park here at this point. But, again, our zoning is the special industrial. Theirs is forestry that was zoned up. They have asked for the same type -- we are asking for the same type of things, yet we're adding a couple other things -- and I'll go into detail on these -- that makes us a little bit different.
We're trying to be more of an addition to the county than just asking for zoning. There's some other macroable impacts that the County has right now that aren't being solved that our project can step in and help with, and some of those -- I'll go to them -- are water supplies in the Virginia City Highlands. There's major flooding issues within Lockwood that this project can help solve and some other benefits that I'll speak about, but this previously approved one is the same one that we're asking for over here at this point within our request.
When I spoke about that there's only a few remaining areas -- and I don't know if everyone can see this, but it's a white map and it really has three different colors on it. But what it shows on here, this is a topography map of all of Storey County. We went and showed all the topo in the county and said any lands that are 18 percent in grade or less, which is developable. obviously you don't want to develop on a mountain hill or anything else. So you go in, and it has identified all the land within the county that are less than 18 percent that you can develop on.
Those are the colored areas on the map. The white areas would be mountains and greater than 18 percent that you wouldn't develop on.
So if you take the county and look at it, you have the Virginia City Highlands, which has developable areas and sporadic areas. That is already zoned and is slated for housing currently. You come down, you can see Virginia City in here is highlighted, but it's fully developed down. This is down by the Gold Hill area.
Your other area that is partially developed and could be developed still in the county is the Mark Twain area. You can see some flat area down here next to Lyon County. That could be developed.
And then if you go north, you can see there's some area west of us that's developable. You have -these areas up in here are the Lockwood area, along the river, which are basically fully developed.
This large area in here is Waste Management's landfill, which will never be developed, obviously, you won't be developing on the landfill, but that's why it's still flat on the picture. They're just filling up in between the mountains out here.
This area in here is the Patrick or the entrance to the USA Parkway. This is where the power plants are, and a lot of industrial and other items that are located out in this area, but fully developed again.
And then these areas in here, this is the industrial park again, and this has all been zoned for industrial and manufacturing. Strictly industrial and manufacturing. There's no residential within the business park here. So these areas have been zoned for industrial.
We just spoke about Painted Rock. You can see where there's developable area in here, and this has just been zoned and is ready to start coming through.
And then you come down Cordevista and you can see the developable area in here. It is surprisingly
flat on the project, and we've extended tours. If anyone would enjoy having a tour, I'd enjoy personally taking you out if you'd like to grab me.
But there are, as you come into this area -- as everyone is aware of the mountains, as you come into the property, you traverse through some of the hills, but you end up and you end up on a very flat tabletop. And it's hard to see it unless you're actually there, but these are some of the pictures. We wanted to take some pictures so people could understand you're coming through and you end up with a very flat area.
This over here depicts the land mass itself. This is the 8,600 acres.
The green areas are areas that we would not develop in. Those are either steep areas or they have drainageways, other areas that we would stay out of.
And so what we would end up developing is about 50 percent of the property. About half the property would stay in open space. Within those areas we would take care of those within the homeowners association. They'd be taken care of and managed by the homeowners association that would come in here, and it would also be used for the wildlife corridors and also open space enjoyment within the community.
But those are one of the conditions that we're saying, that we would never build over 45 percent or that we would leave at least 45 percent. When we come back in, we can fine-tune that, but 45 percent of our property would stay in open space.
And you can see the developable areas, the white areas being the area we could develop, and you can see it especially in the picture over here of what's developable.
Continuing on, this is just another one. People -- there have been a lot of comments, oh, this is right next door, it's on top of us, other things. This was just a graphic I've kind of gone through saying we are four miles from Lockwood, we are 4.3 miles from the fire station.
A different reference for people to understand the distance of what four miles is: If you started at the entrance of Virginia City Highlands on 431 and if you went as far as the crow flies, you would be at 4 -- about 4.9 miles would take you all the way down to the bottom of the hill, take you to the new shopping center. That's 4.9 miles, just to give you a visual of how far 4 miles is from these other areas.
Again, Virginia City isn't shown on here, but
Virginia City is nine miles, as the crow flies, north of here, is where the project is.
I touched on the industrial park.
Let me continue on.
The zoning here, this is -- we purchased this property three years ago. The zoning that was on it, the county commissioners, about ten years ago, put this zoning on top of this property, and it is called special industrial.
I could tell you as a citizen or as a developer, this is probably -- I'm going to say it's one of the uglier or one of the dirtier zonings that I've ever seen. It talks about and is allowed, the property owner, because it's zoned that way, the property owner has rights to come in and have certain things. Now, there's different steps you go through in here, but this is what the zoning is at this point.
And I'll just say, we do not think this zoning is right for Storey County nor for this piece of property. We think that mixed use and a balance to the County is the better project, or the better use of it, but I'm just going to list for you some of the things that are currently allowed on this property: Ammunition manufacturing, testing and storage; chemical
manufacturing, testing and storage; explosives; propellant; pyrotechnic manufacturing, testing and storage; research and development related to any of the above.
It talks about hazardous materials treatment storage and disposal sites are all allowed on this property; hazardous waste manufacturing facilities; recovery and recycling storage areas of all hazardous wastes; environmental testing studies; comes down to open-air testing of materials developed for any of the uses described above. And that's the genesis of what the special zoning is.
The business park has industrial zoning that says you can build manufacturing, you can build industrial on it.
This one takes industrial to a higher level and talks about additional things that are very unique and, quite candidly, I don't believe are the right uses for this piece of property out here. And this is really the question that we're asking of the planning commission and the county commissioners, is this what you want for Storey County on this 8,000 acres out here, this type of zoning? Or do you want a mixed-use master-planned community out there?
And, really, when you look at our application, that's what our request is, is taking it from this and going to a master-planned community. That's what we do; our company develops master-planned communities.
One of the ones we're in the middle of right now is called Somersett. It's located on the west side of Reno. Some people are familiar with it. If you're not familiar with it, we'd be happy to come and show you what we do from that standpoint of developing communities.
Those communities are full-service communities that allow for people to allow -- live their life, both from a housing, but from a schooling, retail and office space within it, and that's what we're trying to develop in this area.
This board here talks about the county Master Plan. This is one that we've gone in and looked at extensively. And we were requested to put a Master Plan Amendment in, but we're still under the belief and read the Master Plan that what really has the -- the Master Plan talks about that this area right here was designated for mixed use originally. What occurred was a company came in and had a special use permit on that piece of
property, and after the Master Plan was completed and a zoning document came in, the zoning was changed to this area at that point.
And what we're -- what our request is, is to take this zoning off and go back to what the Master Plan originally had envisioned for this area, which is mixed use, which is commercial and residential and that, in those areas. But this talks about the different areas within the Master Plan and how we can fulfill it within the Master Plan.
We talked about Cordevista and Painted Rock being the same type of zonings. We've touched base on these visuals here, if you'd like to take a look at them.
Some of the benefits -- I want to go into those -- for Storey County.
Lockwood, which is obviously a sister community located on the other side, has a major problem with flooding in it. And these pictures, you should come take a look at them. These were shot in January of this year. This wasn't 10 years ago or 30 years ago. This is the flood that occurred on a rain occurrence in January of this year.
And what occurs in here is that all of the upper areas in the county -- I'm just going to use this
one because it's close up here -- these areas in here, it rains, obviously, seldom, or it snows and it melts, but it gathers into these areas and then comes down along Valley Creek and ends up -- its only outlet area is Lockwood.
And so the assemblage of all those lands and all the water comes down and accumulates and tries to get through the Lockwood area. It's not currently manmade items in there. The bridges were undersized for all of this, and also there's no containment of the water up above.
So what Cordevista can do, and what we're asking to be conditioned on, is to go in and say that the landfill -- waters that are on our property, 8,000 acres, we'd not only contain the water for our development, but we'd contain all the other waters that come across that. And that entails about 50 percent of the water that ends up in Lockwood at some point is assembled and crosses across our property.
We would put detention basins in there. That does not stop it. What it does is it just holds it and slows it down so that it can come down not in a gush mode in 15 minutes, but it would come down over several hours and allow it to come down into here.
The other condition that we would say is that we would come in and -- at our expense, we come in and rebuild these manmade bridges that currently are stopping the water from coming down. The combination of those two things should cease the flooding within Lockwood, and it's a huge benefit. That community over there sees that benefit and is very much in support because of these type of things that we can do to help increase -- increase their quality of life on that side. The other thing -- now, moving to this side of the county and just adjacent to us here is the Virginia City Highlands.
One of the things that I think is fairly spoken about is the water within Virginia City Highlands and the fact that it's -- the residents there, as each additional house is built there, they're having to drill deeper and deeper wells to get to the water. There's a single aquifer that -- single aquifer that comprises about 50 to 60 percent of the county. We are part of that aquifer. Cordevista is part of that aquifer. Virginia City Highlands uses that aquifer extensively for their own house use for potable water and all their uses in their homes there.
What's happening, though, is that aquifer -and we've done extensive studies on it, though, from fractionalization and satellite studies, and geological studies have gone in and taken a look at it, and it basically states, if you look at it, that aquifer is very limited, and that just the development within Virginia City Highlands will exhaust that aquifer. In fact, what this is showing in here -?
Let me talk about Virginia City Highlands.
Virginia City Highlands currently is zoned for and has already sold 1,876 lots back there. They're in sizes of 40-acre parcels, 10-acre parcels, and 1-acre parcels, but there are 1,876 of those sold to individuals. To date 484 homes have been built on those -- around 500 homes have been built on the 1900 lots. So 25 percent of Virginia City Highlands has been developed so far.
Seventy-five percent, or another 1400 homes, lot owners, out there are scheduled to be built. What this shows here is what's happened to the aquifer. And this comes from the state engineer, and this is public information, but this goes back to 1947 and goes to 2006.
What it shows, what the state engineer is tracking here, is the deep-blue lines are all the wells
that have been drilled in Virginia City Highlands to date. So you can see in 1947 -- and then the light blue is the aquifer. It's basically going down and saying the water level is here, it's here this year, and it's at this level.
But what's happened, in 1947, when you used to have to drill about eight -- about 60 feet and hit water at 20 feet, and that's where they were getting their water. Roll forward to 1999 or 2006; they are drilling 1500 feet and hitting water at a thousand feet. And last year they drilled one at 1500 feet and, again, hit it at about 800 feet in there.
So what this is depicting is that that aquifer, more and more homes are being built, more and more straws, I'll call them, are going into the ground, but it's depleting that aquifer. And in our opinion, Virginia City Highlands will run out of water. The whole community out there, if you develop all of the homes within there, it would mean an additional 2,800 acre-feet, or what entails to about 900 million gallons a year of additional water to build these 1400 homes. And if you look at it scientifically, there's not enough water in that aquifer to do that.
There's been a lot -- and that's pretty much
the scientific answer for it. There's been a lot of
concern from Virginia City Highlands, are we going to drill additional wells in Cordevista that would be taken from the same waters in there? And, again, our condition that we're requesting is that we would do no groundwater, no well systems within Cordevista. We would actually build pipes and bring all the water into the project, therefore not having any impact on Virginia City Highlands.
Now, Virginia City Highlands still has an issue, though, that I don't know how they can accomplish building their homes over here because I think that they'll run out of water before. And I think that's a pretty open comment about -- we've spoken to some people. They can't take a shower and run their washer and dryer -- excuse me -- their dishwasher at the same time, that the water flow is so slow coming out of the ground, a lot of corrosive items within it. It is an issue that not only the citizens but the County really has to look at, because this is a poignant problem that is occurring there.
Cordevista, in light of the fact that we would not drill and bring all the water in through pipes and pump systems, what we're saying to the County and the
citizens is, that we would size that water infrastructure system large enough to handle some of the water within the Highlands. That if the Highlands did truly run out of water, that our water infrastructure system over here, that they could tap into it and bring water over here to develop the Highlands, and that's a huge benefit, again, to the County.
There's a question on whether the County has any type of liability on the fact that when someone who owns a lot that the County approved the map and allowed them to buy that piece of property, if they go ahead and drill and can't find any water, what happens? Is the County responsible in some way? Is there any type of liability? What do these people do when they keep drilling and drilling and they can't find water or there is just no water left within it?
Because every -- every well that goes in takes a little more from the other one that's already existing there. So some of the people out here that were on 200-foot wells -- last year we were speaking of one person who had a 400-foot well. They had to abandon that well and go back down to 1400 feet to get it, on the same piece of property. And they've been there; it's just other people have drilled and have taken that water level
down, so they're having to redrill.
Another item that we do within our master-planned communities, and we do it a little bit different. In Somersett, we set up a fee within it that every time a home sells within the community, that it generates a fee from that house. In that escrow, that person who's selling that house has to pay a fee, and that fee goes back to Somersett, and that's for the day that when the developer is no longer there, that if there are additional needs or wants by the community, the people that live in there, that there's a sinking fund. There's a fund that's building up with money that when we're gone, that they could use that. And so in Somersett what we did is we wrote those documents as such that every time a home sells, some money comes out of that escrow and it goes into a fund.
We've been, over the past several years, going around the county trying to figure out -- you know, introduce ourselves, understand the issues that are out there and try to address those issues. What we've come to find out is there's a lot of issues within the county that don't have funding mechanisms right now.
There are some national treasures in here. One that we didn't speak about, we're standing in one of
these, the more -- I'm standing here looking at this -is Piper's Opera House. It's a beautiful asset, it's a historic one. How can you, other than just continuing to ask for donations, which could take an extensive amount of time -- we're trying to set up what would be called the Storey County Community Foundation, and it would be the giving of the Cordevista people -- how it would work is that we would set up a foundation that every time a home sold within Cordevista, that $250 would go -- come out of an escrow and would go into the Storey County Community Foundation. Would not be controlled by us; it would actually be controlled by citizens, is what we're looking for. But those citizens could take those dollars and go around the community and figure out -- or around the county and figure out what needs are the most pressing needs that you could use those dollars for.
And some of those that we've identified
are the petroglyphs. I don't know if everyone is familiar with the petroglyphs,
but currently the County owns 80 acres of land. It's located -- and just
for reference, we own all of the land around the petroglyphs. It's an 80-acre
park. The County does not have enough dollars to really do anything with
it. We have caretakers on the property, and people come through it, and
difficult thing for us or anyone else. We're trying to figure out who are the good people trying to come and enjoy the petroglyphs or those vandals that show up and are destroying or stealing some of the petroglyphs.
But if you've not seen this, this is a canyon that stands probably a mile in length. It shoots up from the ground floor probably 150 feet, and every rock within that canyon has a petroglyph on it. It's probably the most heavily Indian art canyon, I think, maybe in the world, and they're going through -- the Nevada Rock Art Foundation right now is trying to go through and document all of that, and we're trying to assist with them.
We've actually come back with them and speaking with the County, we've identified a couple other pieces of property that we own that really should be contributed and put into that petroglyph area. We'd like to turn that into a preserve so it has some kind of management over it, and we would be contributing land into that, land that should go into it, into the public hands, that has additional petroglyphs next to it.
But some of the other items that this foundation would go into would be assisting with the petroglyphs. There's a large love and affection and need to help out the wild horses, could be some of the uses
for it. Virginia City here, currently with tourism and convention authority, historical preservation throughout the county are -- in particular, the most focused one is Virginia City, and two of those are Piper's and the Fourth Ward School.
The other things the foundation could go and use those dollars for would be acquisition of water rights or assistance with the infrastructure to get water over to the Virginia City Highlands.
The Lockwood flood control, I think that we're going to take care of that, but if there's additional issues.
Sewer connections, virtually the county, as a whole, is on a septic system that may have impacts at a later date within there.
And, again, I spoke about how the $250 a year or per transaction -- people live in a home about seven years, on average, and so if you took that, and if you said we did one-and-a-half homes per acre within Cordevista, that would generate about $500,000 a year coming out of this fee that could go into this foundation for use within the county.
We see this as a huge benefit. Again, we do this in our other communities, but we keep it within the
community. This one we're reversing that and taking those dollars and sending them out into the county to assist them.
This is just kind of a recap. These are two boards, and then I'll finish here. These are some of the benefits that we see with this zone change going through here.
Again, there's been a request to go into phasing of the project, and we are happy to go into phasing if that's -- brings comfort to people.
We would keep 40 to 45 percent of the project as open space for both the wildlife and public enjoyment within there.
We'd have control of the Lockwood flooding, which we talked about.
We talked about sizing our water infrastructure sizes to help others of the Highlands, in that area in particular, if there was need for additional water within Storey County.
An improved fire access. I understand we had a small fire up here last night, but the additional access within our community to get to some of these areas could be of assistance to the community.
Diversification of the tax base. Storey
County has always struggled with enough dollars to support its needs. Right now the business park is starting to generate some of those needs, but that is one-legged, really, kind of -- the industrial park after 9/11 virtually didn't have much growth because of all the shock factor to it; now it's on fire. Literally, the growth in there is phenomenal, to say the least.
But what this would do would be another way to balance the county in delivering a mixed-use type of -- bringing retail sales, sales tax proceeds would come out of retail earnings, and you would have a housing tax, also, that would be an additional balance to the county.
Protection to the wildlife and habitat. We're working with the State of Nevada and UNR currently studying the wild horses in and around our property. We would develop a plan to protect and assist the horses within there.
We talked about the protection of the petroglyphs. With the development of the community, we would use the homeowners association to also help protect these petroglyphs as we went forward in the Grecian Preserve.
And then the last benefit we see is this one
that we're talking about here, is the current zoning allows for some uses that I don't think are necessarily the best uses. The special use -- special industrial uses are not great uses, but those are the uses that could be allowed within it.
But if you took our 8600 acres, what the current zoning allows for is we could build an additional 130 million square feet of industrial on the property, and basically it would continue to be just industrial again.
So in our opinion I don't think, with Storey County having 102,000 acres of industrial already, that the addition of another 130 million square feet of industrial is necessarily best for the community but would be more to balance and try and manage the jobs and the housing that come with that existing business park.
Some of the other -- and this is going through -- I won't bog it down because I've been speaking so long, but if we continue with the current development of additional industrial versus what we're proposing, which is the mixed use, which is, again, office, retail and housing, and the benefits that would come with that and the balancing of the county with the business park that's already out there.
I think I touched -- I'm going to look across. Have I touched on everything?
And, again, that is what we're trying to do. In its simplest form, we are basically saying that the Master Plan originally spoke to this land of being a mixed-use area and the use of it for exactly what we are requesting, commercial and housing, eliminating the current zoning, and changing it back to what the Master Plan was originally, and that's what I request.
We have gone around to, I think, virtually every community in the county at this point, and we are continuing with the planning commission meetings. We have another planning commission meeting next Thursday. And this meeting tonight was sponsored by ourselves to help educate, and hopefully that did help educate. We're trying to get -- there's a lot of rumors and a lot of misconceptions in the marketplace. We're trying to clear those up. Hopefully we're doing that.
I will stop talking and I'll turn it around and open it up for any questions that anyone might have.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I've got a question.
MR. SMITH: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: You say you're
going to do something with the water in Lockwood. What are you going to do with our water? That belongs to the Truckee River and the Indians out in Pyramid.
MR. SMITH: It does, and it will end up in the river. What we will do is just hold it back for a little bit so it doesn't -- what happens right now is it all tries to come down the canyon at the same time, so we would just hold it in retention areas and then it comes out -- basically you build a large retention, I'll call it a dam, for lack of it, and then you put a pipe in it so it holds it back there, and then it lets it come down slowly so it just doesn't all gush, but it all ends up in the river and ends up in Pyramid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: And another question.
MR. SMITH: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Where do you get your water to feed all this (indicating)?
MR. SMITH: That's the very expensive question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Yeah. I want to know. Are you going to pump it out of the ground or are you going to pipe it in?
MR. SMITH: We are looking at -- and we have
several different alternatives we're looking at. It could be one source or it could be multiple sources.
The one source it will not be, and we're conditioning ourselves, is it would not be within the Storey County water basin in here.
So we may take surface water, purchase surface water in other areas and pipe it in. It will all be piped in, to answer your question. There will be no wells within our project, taking any of the Storey County water, just for this reason up here. We don't see enough water in Storey County to handle its existing developments up here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: What water serves the industrial park right now? How do they get the water there?
MR. SMITH: Currently they are using wells, and they have just gone in and applied for some additional wells. They have some of that approved, but I'm not sure that what they just had approved is enough to take care of all the industrial park. I don't know enough details. But if they didn't have enough, they would have to import it, also, in through a pipe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: When you build this tract area and residential and commercial, is there
going to be xeri-landscape or is it going to be lawns and --
MR. SMITH: In current day, you go to the xeriscape. We live in a desert, so you go to trying to maximize your uses of your water sources there.
So that, again, would be something that comes out in the PUD level, the next step, but in today's day and age, there's so -- you know, there's a lack of water and you want to maximize its use, so you probably head toward the xeriscape type of landscaping within the community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Do you want me to go over here?
MR. SMITH: Either/or, if everyone can hear you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Cordevista is composed of 6800 acres that -- Cordevista is composed of the 6800 acres that you own and the 1800 acres owned by (inaudible), the developer from Dallas, and this is all one project; you're not talking about having two separate projects?
MR. SMITH: Correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: And you're
calling the project Cordevista, but on the (inaudible) Web site, he's calling it Virginia Highlands. Would you like to see that here?
MR. SMITH: Let me explain it to you.
When we purchased the property originally, we put it in an LLC, which is kind of a corporate entity, and we called that Virginia Highlands, LLC. That was when we purchased it three years ago.
What we wanted to do to get away from confusion and everything else, because Virginia Highlands, obviously, is used in a lot of different ways, is we picked a project name called Cordevista. So Cordevista, that would be a legal name for ownership purposes. But the project, going forward, will be called Cordevista. And we might even take the Virginia Highlands, LLC name and change it to Cordevista, but that -- the project marketing name is Cordevista. The legal ownership name currently, which we control, is Virginia Highlands, if that -- does that answer your question?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: So you're not going to, at the last minute, call your community Virginia Highlands?
MR. SMITH: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Okay. My second question, it's a little lighter and no disrespect.
You want to build a self-contained community. Are you going to have a cemetery?
MR. SMITH: You know, that's a new one. I haven't thought of that one. I'm not -- I'm not sure. It would come out at the PUD level.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: You said before that Reno and Sparks, those cities don't want to provide housing for the workers, okay. They don't want to provide housing for the living, they're probably not going to want to provide space for the dead either, so you're going to need a cemetery, and if you do, will that count towards open space?
MR. SMITH: Depends if we put landscaping on it.
No. I can't answer your question. It's a great question. It would be something that would come out at the next level.
You have a beautiful, historic cemetery within this town, and, granted, cemeteries are a part of life. I don't know how to get away from a cemetery. I have not -- I can't answer your question because we have
not studied that well enough.
But there could be or there could not be, depending on where we go with the studies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Blake, you're surrounded on three sides by TRI.
MR. SMITH: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: If you're not successful here, you could turn around and just sell it to TRI; TRI could come in and put industrial sites there with the current zoning.
MR. SMITH: That's correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I mean, I don't think the question is really whether this area is going to be developed or not, because you could sell it to TRI if you're not successful. They could come in. I think the question is how it's going to be developed.
MR. SMITH: That is the bottom-line comment, and that's what we're trying to express here. Some people are saying, well, if we don't build Cordevista, then it will just stay sagebrush, but it will be developed as something.
We think that Cordevista's model is the best for the county and the balancing of the TRI, and that's why we're requesting the zone change at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Talking about if your plan does go forward, who's going to pay for the services? We're talking fire, police, the infrastructure? Where is that money going to come from?
MR. SMITH: Well, it comes from a couple ways, and that's some of the stuff we've begun talking to staff about, because in the infancy -- when the project is fully developed and all, it will generate enough taxes to support itself. That's one of the things that we have stated as a condition, that we would be a net -- let me just finish the comment, if I could -- that at full build-out, or even before, that there would be more taxes coming from the project than it would need to support it via public services: Life safety, police, fire, all those.
So how do you get from day one, when there might be a hundred homes, to where you get to where there might be a thousand homes is the question, and those are the things we're speaking with staff right now about, doing development agreements where we would step in and
help support and assist in those so that it doesn't have a burden to the County as it goes through that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: But it's going to take a while to build up to get up to that full capacity. Where is that money coming from -?
MR. SMITH: That would come from us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: California, Hidden Brook, same thing, in a canyon just like this, it was a drain on the City. It took quite a while for it to build up in order to, quote, pay for itself.
You have start-up costs right now. You have fire, you have to meet ISO needs, you've got to have police. Where is that money? This county can't take it. I mean, it's going to come from the taxpayers somewhere.
MR. SMITH: No. Let me answer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: There's a cost to start right away, Mr. Smith.
MR. SMITH: Let me answer it. For the third time, let me say it again. That would be part of our development agreement and we would have to fund that shortfall. So we've already begun those dialogues with staff on the fact that we would need a policeman, we're going to need some fire people, and we're going to need pumper trucks, possibly, and other things. Those are the
things that we would step in with.
You're going to need a building to house those things, and how do you do that when you've got zero tax base up front? That would be us. And that's part of the development agreement that we would go into on Step 2 with the PUD.
We're doing that currently in Somersett, just so you know. We will dedicate next month -- we just built a $3.9 million fire station out of our proceeds and we're giving it to the City of Reno, and we purchased the pumper truck at $427,000 and just gave it to the City of Reno. No cost to anyone, all funded by ourselves. That would be similar to what we would do here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: So Somersett paid for that firehouse, they paid for a pumper, and there was no drain -- and, also, I'm not even going get into schools yet. I mean, who paid -- there's immediate start-up costs. I can't see you paying that without pulling on the purse strings of the County. There's so much millions of dollars in start-up. It's more than a policeman. You have to put a substation out there. You've got -- I mean, it's unbelievable.
I'm just worried for the people here in Virginia City. They're going to end up subsidizing your
MR. SMITH: Right. Well, the development agreement won't allow that to happen. That's why you put in those controls, and there will be controls in there that we can't develop unless we are funding those, is how you --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: This county has had a history, like out at Virginia City Highlands, apparently it is (inaudible) lack of water. Is two wrongs going to fix a right?
MR. SMITH: No. I think what you do is learn from that and set up the development agreement now so it wouldn't occur.
But I'll go back to Somersett. We're building all the parks within that and giving it to them. We're building the fire station. We've built every road within that development and given it to the City.
And so that's how it works in the development business is that, yes, it is, it's hundreds of millions of dollars. That's what our business does, and that's what our company does.
And if you would like to see what we've done and where it is, please travel down and I can show you what we've built and all of the stuff that we've donated.
There has been zero infrastructure and impact to the City of Reno in all of Somersett, some 250 million of infrastructure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I've just seen what's happened in California, even with Mellow Ruse, paying for the parks, paying for the schools. I've talked to the assistant city manager.
Yes, the bottom line, when it did get up and running, it was a drain. I'm just afraid that Storey County eventually will be left paying some money, and where is it going to come from? This is not the richest county here.
MR. SMITH: Right. Well, that is step two, and that would be with the staff going in and negotiating that agreement that says we need to make sure that there's not that shortfall within there and that we would cover that. You do it through bonding mechanisms, that we would post bonds to make sure things occur, that if we disappeared, there are bonds the County can draw on to fund those mechanisms. There are safety nets behind those things that occur in modern day.
Now, I can't speak to your old –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I'm speaking in
generalities. You're saying bonds, this thing for the 500,000.
I mean, what are these homes going to cost? You're projecting, oh, housing for the workers. Most of those jobs out there like Wal-Mart, $17 an hour. Are they actually going to be able to afford a nice house on like one or two acres? I don't think so. What you're saying that will pay in the freight, these people aren't going to be able to afford.
MR. SMITH: Well, in current developments right now -- and that's a valid point because we would target those people within there, to go ahead and have what's called attainable housing. I don't want to use "affordable" because that means government subsidized and other things, but attainable housing for those people to get in there.
How you do that today is you cluster those homes together. And, again, I can show you. You would not -- and they would not be able to afford a one- or two-acre home site with a big home on it. That's -you're absolutely correct on that. But what they can afford is clustered-style housing. What you do is you build a smaller home and you build them closer together, and that type of zoning allows those type of employees or
those people in that income bracket to do it. And quite honestly, at $17 an hour, you know, Storey County is the highest per hourly paid wage in all of the state of Nevada. It's something to be quite proud of. There's no other state that has an hourly wage as high as that one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: Since when?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: That's hard to believe being on C Street. That's -?
MR. SMITH: It has a lot to do with the business park, all those new employees out there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: You get my point, Mr. Smith. I honestly don't believe that the $17 warehouse jobs -- except for management, I don't see them paying the freight for what you're proposing, paying the fees in your development you'd like to put in.
That's all I'm going to say.
MR. SMITH: All I can do is turn around and say I can show you where it does work, and I can -- I'd love to tour you and show you what we've done down there because it is something that is reality that is working right now.
And that's what we do. That's the other thing, and, again, those -- we've already entered in and began to have those dialogues with staff at that level.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: I have two questions, actually.
Have you thought about your high rate in crime, number one? Number two, have you thought about ESL? I mean, I've seen a rise in English-as-a-second-language speakers here. I left California for that reason, because I don't want to see a rise in that, because the rise is going to be there if you have that.
MR. SMITH: Right. Have we thought of it? The community would be designed -- I don't think there's any way to discriminate. Those people that are living in Nevada have a right to live. I don't know who would live within there. The logical people would be all the people working within TRI.
As far as the crime, in current planning, what you want to do is put these public services like we were just talking about, the police stations and all those other things to try and control it.
But you have to go back to remembering that the County has approved, ten years ago, this business park, and it is going to -- as I say, by the end of the year it might have 10,000 jobs. That's jobs.
Now, you take a spouse and a child and everyone else, there are a lot of people involved in this business park just today, let alone it going to 180,000 people.
So Cordevista, in its own right, could not even handle all that will happen within the park. But what we're trying to do is set up a master-planned community that would have -?
And Somersett, let me just step back, if you haven't been there. Somersett was targeted. We designed that community to be a high-end to mid-end product.
This project, Cordevista, because of the business park and what you're just speaking about, where hourly wages and people that can't necessarily afford a mid-priced home, that would need an attainable home, we would increase the spectrum of the housing to include all of them, so you would have some high end.
We would have one -- you know, within this community you're going to have clustered housing like we're talking about, which would be attainable for some of those people, but you're also going to have your half-acre and your one-acre and maybe two- or three- or five-acre lot estates in here, too. So you're going to have the full gamut of housing within here.
Now, some of the more expensive stuff is going to create more taxes, to answer -- without answering your complete question, but you're going to have higher-priced housing and you're going to have lower-priced, and that average is what you're going to look for in the economics of how this works within here.
But, ma'am, I can't answer who's going to live there and what languages they speak. That's the migration that's coming here.
But the crime, the community would be designed to minimize -- maximize the protection and minimize any type of crimes within it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I have a statement and philosophy and then a question.
What about those -- better yet, those of us that went out of our way to research Storey County before we ever moved up here because it is what it is. It's laid back, there's no congestion, the crime level is low. I mean, my family and I put a lot of time and effort into it before we ever spent all of our money up here, which is what we did.
You're talking about bringing the American public in. The American public, whether we mean to or
not, those of us that do try to pay attention, whether we mean to or not, we're part of the problem.
As you bring the American public in, which is part of your job -- I understand that -- and you do, as I've said before, give a very good presentation. But we're dealing in details here. The philosophy is a lot of us moved up here just for what it is right now. We don't want it to change. What you're talking about is a huge undertaking and will change everything. If it changes in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, it will change it. Now, that's a fact of life.
The question I would like to address to you and your state senator is this: If it should get voted out, if the commissioners don't go for it, if they agree with me and mine and not with yours, are you going to litigate Storey County into oblivion, which you can do?
MR. SMITH: Well, a couple things. Let me answer your first question or comment, the philosophy one.
The county is already changing with the industrial park. I want to go back and emphasize, 51 percent of the county, ten years ago, was approved for up to 600 million square feet of industrial. So that county -- I don't know how long you've lived here, but
ten years ago there was something that changed the county and will change it forever and could create 180,000 jobs within that.
Now, from a planning standpoint, the question is whether you want to continue and add more of that to it, or do you want to try and balance it, both from -and gather some benefits within that? But the county already is changing.
And we're going to go with your impact to it. Virginia City, when you look at it, when I talk about that we're nine miles to the north, that there's not a road to it, we're not tapping the water system, we would have a diversified tax base, that -- I don't know how it really reaches to here and changes your quality of life within here. We don't want to change your quality of life.
We see this as a beautiful community, Lockwood is a beautiful community, you know, Mark Twain area and all that. We're not -- we're specifically containing this to this area so that it doesn't come down and change Virginia City and these other areas within it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Growth can't be contained. I mean, everybody is coming this way, whether we like it or not.
You keep representing yourself as the better of the various evils, and you might be, I don't know. Couldn't you just wait on this until we all die? We all understand it's coming. Everybody that's getting snowed on this winter back East is going to move here or they're going to move to Utah or they're going to move to Arizona. They're all coming here. We understand that.
MR. SMITH: Well, you're in the fastest growing -- if you take -- fastest growing state in the union. So you've got people coming here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I lived in Fernley, Nevada for eight years. At the time I moved there, it was between three and 4,000 people, depending on which real estate agent you talked to. It was the fastest growing town in the fastest growing state in the nation for three years in a row. I was there for only eight years. Now, depending on which real estate agent you talk to, there's twenty, maybe 22,000 people there in less than ten years. The quality of the town is pretty much gone. St. George, Utah, same thing.
What you keep saying is the way it's going to be. Don't sugarcoat it and don't make us think we've got -- that it's going to be better because of some so-called benefit down the road.
It's all going to change. We just want to keep it at a distance, and you can't do that. As Dean Haymore pointed out in the meeting at Lockwood, you've got to have police access from what -- if you put this monster in, they've got to be able to get from one side of the county to the other because of the increase. The fire department has got to be able to get back and forth. They can talk about putting that little rope across the various roads. Everybody is going to use them. Nobody is going to drive down Geiger Grade, get on 395, drive over to Interstate 80, then go back over because they got a carpentry job with one of your developments. They're going to jump on that little dirt road over in Long Valley, or whichever other road that their vehicle can navigate, and they're going to turn it into a thoroughfare. Now, that's just how people are.
The American public, we deserve anything bad that happens to us. We are going to abuse the situation. That's just what the American public does. As you bring more American public in, the abuses will get worse.
Driving crime and bringing that many people and not bringing any vandals in, using the petroglyphs as an example, that's just nonsense. Some drunk high-schooler that lives three blocks from there is going to show up
with a can of spray paint on prom night.
MR. SMITH: Well, let me use one example, and I want to go back and talk about the uniqueness of what this does here.
You talk about Fernley or other communities that have this growth that occurred, and they weren't planned for. I think one of the things -- you look at Fernley and some of these other communities that say, hey, we were 3,000 and now we're 20,000 and it just happened overnight and we did not know it was coming and how did -- we did not see it and we didn't plan for it.
The very unique thing that we're seeing here, and it is extremely unique, is to say that you can take one 8,000-acre parcel and put one plan over it that in day one you can tell -- that I could tell you where the road is going to go, where the school's going to go. It would be planned out for its last day on day one.
And that takes away from that sporadic or that -- where the town is all of a sudden there's a store here and there's a house here and then there's a store and a house because they didn't Master Plan it to accommodate what it was.
That's very unique anywhere in the country, to have a piece of property this large that you could go
in and say, I'm going to put a PUD on it, and I'm going to tell you on day one where everything is, and it's going to tell you where the store is and the school is and the fire station and where the houses and what type of houses are there all on day one, and that's recorded against the property and stays that way.
So it does -- there is a benefit. And you're right, the growth is going to come to Northern Nevada. I hope it does because it keeps us all employed and is an economic engine that helps all of us within Northern Nevada, so it is something that we want. It's planning for it and doing good, logical planning next to the industrial park is what we're saying should happen there.
Now, the impacts, we will do anything and everything to try and minimize it. If there are dirt roads going there, you can put lock-down gates on them so people can't traverse through them, but the fire department has the right -- we do it within Somersett. We have six different gates that have gates on it that stops the public from going through it, but if there's a fire, they have the keys to open it and traverse through it.
So there are ways to minimize what you're talking about in there, and we're not trying to create
I have to tell you, our family has lived here 84 years and are long-time Nevadans within the state, and it's not something we're trying to do to hurt anybody by any means within it, but you have an occurrence that's happening in Northern Nevada, you have a phenomenal occurrence that's happening within the county, and the question is, what is the best thing that should be done to help assist this or balance this, the already-existing industrial park.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: The question was litigation.
MR. SMITH: The question of litigation, I think that's been asked a lot of different times.
I think we have to find out where the vote is and why -- if it's not approved, why it wouldn't be approved, and I can't answer it today, but I think if there's a vote -?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: If the commissioners just tell you, we voted against it because most of the people that we represent, most of the people that voted them into their positions don't want you up here, and I think -- and that's really -- I mean, this other stuff is details. It is about philosophies, yours
versus mine, possibly the commission.
If they say, we just don't want you up here now, or we just don't want you up here for ten years, are you going to go ahead and turn him loose on us?
MR. SMITH: I can't answer -?
MR. AMODEI: First of all, if he does, it won't be me, it will be somebody who does litigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: You are his attorney, though, aren't you?
MR. AMODEI: There are attorneys and there
are attorneys. I can assure you, if there's litigation,
I will assure you it will be somebody who does litigation on a regular, ongoing basis instead of being -- I believe the phrase was "under the state senator." I think his state senator is Bill Raggio, by the way.
But let me get back to that. Blake Smith owns property in Storey County. You have a set of rules that the planning commission and the staff and the county commission go by, where if you want to do something on your lot, you look at that book and you say, what are the ordinances? What's the Master Plan say? What's the Master Plan say? What are you trying to get to with the county in terms of how you grow or don't grow in an orderly fashion?
So when you say, if you don't get the votes you want and people say, county commissioners, planning commissioners, we want you just to put that red fancy dragon dress on and just say no.
It's like those rules that apply to the process say, it better be because there's a problem with traffic, there's a problem with water, there's a problem with whatever, so you can point to something to say, if Austin over there is going to vote no, he can say, "I'm going to vote no because I think," whatever. But if he says, "I'm going to vote no because I'm going to ignore the criteria of the Master Plan, I'm going to ignore the criteria of all of our development histories," I've got to tell you, I represented Painted Rock six months ago. We asked that that be taken off the consent agenda in front of the county commission so we could make the record to support the yes vote.
I'm not going to tell you they're the same, but when you talk about we researched it before we came up here, that project was on the consent agenda not because we requested it, it was on the consent agenda, which will triple the population of the county.
So when this guy gets ready to evaluate what happens in front of the planning commission and what
happens in front of the county commission, one of the things that the guy or girl who is going to advise him on litigation is going to say, how was Lance Gilman and Roger Norman treated when they came here ten years and asked to change 51 percent of the county to create what they created? How was the folks that came from Painted Rock treated when they asked to change open forestry zoning to, you know, planned unit development and triple the population of the county six months ago? How was Garrick Goldstrike treated when they came and did a power plant down in an appropriate area?
So you look at what the rules are and what the history is in the county. And you know what? If he's treated the same way, not with the vote, but in terms of the scrutiny, and if he's denied and there are decent reasons for denying, I would expect that he would be told, "I wouldn't sue them. This is a strong basis for denial."
Now, I can tell you that I sat in a planning commission meeting a couple of months ago and the question was asked, "Well, we should put it to the vote of the people."
And the County's lawyer said, "That's not one of your options."
I don't know whether he was right or not, but I'm telling you the advice from the person on your side of it said, "That is not a reason for denial."
So I would expect Mr. Smith, when he gets through the planning commission and he gets through the county commission, looks at that action, looks at the basis, and then makes the decision on, did they proceed in accordance with the rules that applied for them? Did they have a sound basis for whatever their decision was?
And it's interesting to me that you would ask that, because it almost sounds like -- because part of this process is objectivity on those votes. They have that responsibility. And I'm sure they'll do what they think's right. But it's interesting to have the question asked almost in the context of, "Because I know how they're going to vote now," and it's not even at the county commission level now.
So anyhow, if that doesn't clear up the litigation thing, it's like he's got to make a decision after he gets through the process with the planning and county commission.
Do you know something I don't you want to share with us now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I certainly wish
I did, but I don't. Unfortunately, I'm like everybody else in this room. We're very concerned that he has all the money, you have all the connections, and all we got are opportunities to make random comments. You might put it that way.
I would ask you one question, though, in regards to you commenting on rules. People much more informed than myself have, at every meeting I've gone to, picked a paragraph out of the Master Plan. That paragraph involves, if you're going to develop something, you have to tell the commission, you have to prove where you're getting your water from.
Nobody drove a nail into a board at my place until we had the well dug. I mean, we were told that right up front. If you don't have water, tough cookies; if you do have water, we'll start building you a house.
I keep hearing, and I understand that there's financial aspects to this, if you were to say who you're going to get your water from and how you're going to get it and in what quantities.
But is that paragraph in there or isn't it? You're a lawyer, I'm not. Is that paragraph in there?
MR. AMODEI: Fair question. Nobody will drive a nail into a board in Cordevista unless the County
is satisfied that there's water. And, you know, it's been said at every -?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: But that will only reach the point after it's signed and changed the variance -- or the zoning, right?
MR. AMODEI: Well, but that's because you didn't get zoning for your house after you got a well. The zoning was there when you went to get a building permit. It's the building process.
MR. SMITH: The water element comes in at stage three, and that's what we keep telling you, or trying to express, is this is the area we have to show the water.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: But once you get past stage two, the deed is done.
MR. SMITH: If there's no water, there's no stage three.
MR. AMODEI: Let me just say this: Each one of those stages is a process.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: You need to understand, if there's no water there shouldn't be a stage one.
MR. AMODEI: I can assure you, if somebody shows up and says I've got a 400-unit phase in my
subdivision and I'd like you to approve the tentative map, but I haven't found the water yet, they're going to get a no vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: And they're going to get excluded.
MR. AMODEI: No, they're not.
MR. SMITH: That's a technical aspect. You have to bring your water at the tentative map level.
MR. AMODEI: I can assure you there's no cases in the state of Nevada that say, "They should have let me build even though I haven't identified my water."
The process is, the entitlement's first; then when you come into the development, the development agreement and then the mapping process, that process requires that you come in at that point in time and tie those things in.
You're not going to get an approval to create lots without water anywhere in the state of Nevada.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: When a man with that much power and that much money starts using words like "technical," when a state senator for whoever in which district, who's obviously got a great deal of -and I think you're getting your money's worth out of this gentleman for his law, whatever fee is involved here --
when he starts using words like "technical" and you start even having a conversation with somebody like me, I think we're all in a lot of trouble.
Because when I show up at a meeting, maybe it's me, maybe it's my wife, he shows up with you. This situation is what attorneys send their grandchildren to law school on. I mean, this can turn into a monster.
MR. AMODEI: I'll let Blake speak for himself, but all I can tell you is you don't have this opportunity in California, where you're talking to the actual guy, and you don't have the opportunity in California where the guy -- want to know about the water? Here's the answer. You want to know about whether or not he's going to sue somebody? Here's what you go through if you were making the same decision.
The system is too early now to know -- I don't know what the county commission is going to do. I hope I don't know what they're going to do.
And on that connections bit, you should talk to me. Because if you think I've got that many, then we should talk and you should hire me, because you think a lot more of my opinion apparently than most of the folks do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Yes, I do.
MR. AMODEI: This goes in front of everybody the same as everything else. This is the process. It doesn't mean everybody likes it and agrees with his proposal, but this process in Storey County, in modern age, is unprecedented, where somebody comes in and says, "Listen, I know you're going to have some problems with this, but I'm holding Town Hall meetings in every population center in the county, and I'm meeting with the planning commission until they get ready to have -- they think they've got all the information they need to vote."
What's it going to be? The fourth planning commission meeting, Austin? It's like, listen, if somebody is doing a wink and nod, trying to slip something in with juice or something, he shouldn't pay me a dime because this has gone through a phenomenal, unprecedented amount of public exposure.
You know, whether Blake likes some of it or not, it's like -- and here he is again before the fourth planning commission meeting going, "People of Virginia City, here's what we're talking about doing. And if you don't like it, then tell me what you don't like because if it's something I can respond to, I will."
I can tell you, as a guy who worked for the County ten years ago in development agreements with
Norman and Gilman, didn't do that. And I'm not saying that they're bad guys because of it. I'm just saying this is unprecedented in terms of the public opportunity to say, "I hate your guts" or "What about this issue?" or, you know, "Why don't you stay in Somersett" or whatever.
And so I think that's the thing that makes it unique. You say, well, Jesus, you bought a guy up who's a part-time legislator. Well, I think you've got a lot of money. But, listen, this has been the most public process in the history of the projects in Storey County. And as a guy who goes back five generations and who owns property in Storey County, I can -- it's like, listen, like it or not, nobody else has subjected themselves and sought more public input than this guy.
I've talked too much. If you want to yell at me afterwards, I'd be happy to meet you on B Street, but don't hit me because I had a rough day already.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: The thing is, on this water issue, I sold property here in Virginia Highlands a couple years ago for the simple reason I worked for a number of people in the area out here and the wells were going dry.
How long is this going to go on? These
warehouses are going to pump the water over down there, which they're level -- I mean, they're lower, that makes common sense. They're pumping the water out here from these people up on top.
MR. SMITH: I can't address the business part.
I can tell you there's two aquifers in the county, and the business park is in both of those aquifers. So I don't know where they're getting the water or what. But it's a logical question. I can't answer it for you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: I have two questions for you.
Number one, is there a public record of the chemicals you found out there on the ground?
MR. SMITH: Yes. Yeah. We have -- and I have our -- the soils and geotechnical consultant here. We have gone in -- the history of the property had a couple of different companies working within it.
When we purchased the property we went in and did a couple different studies. One's called a Phase I and a Phase II. Typically when you purchase, you just do a Phase I. Because of the prior history of it, we went and did a Phase II, which we actually went in and dug
holes and took samples and came back, and we have concluded that -- and, in fact, we are -- all the soils in the property are clean at this point except for about a 200-by-200 foot area, of which they lined the land -or they put liners below it, but they were using it to burn some of the chemicals. So it's been lined.
We are, right now, in the remediation process of cleaning that up, but when we're done this fall, that will be done. When we're done with that, that 200 square foot, the soils will be clean at that point from it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: Okay. Now, just to reiterate, so there is a public record of the chemicals that you found in the ground?
MR. SMITH: We've delivered to Dean a supplement -- our consultants have delivered -- to what extent have we delivered?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: We've given them to you directly. I don't know if they've been distributed to Dean.
MR. SMITH: We put them up on the Web site. Your firm has delivered letters to us, and we've gone on the record saying the soils are clean.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: You've provided a summary letter that was --
MR. SMITH: It's actually on the Storey County Web site, those studies on there. And I've heard that you can't get to them. I don't know the Web site. You'd have to keep scrolling down, and we have a litany of documents on there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: My second question on that, is sodium azide one of those chemicals? MR. SMITH: Eric? Please.
This is our consultant. He could answer that.
MR. HUBBARD: Can you hear me back there? Okay. I'll skip this. I'll try to be brief and not to bore you, and I'll tell you a little bit about myself.
I'm a geologist by training. I've worked as a scientist for 25 years. I've worked for Kleinfelder, which is a nationwide company. We do environmental testing, geotechnical -- we're scientists and engineers.
So when Blake purchased the property, a standard environmental assessment was done, Phase I environmental assessment. There's an ASTM method for it. Almost every commercial transaction has one of these assessments done.
And what we do is we look through the whole history of the property. We interview people who are
familiar with the property. We talk to the previous owners of the property site. I'm sure -- if you know what a Phase I is, you know what I'm talking about. They're big, thick, boring documents.
On this particular property, the history was -- as Blake said, there were a couple companies out there. The company that was there when we went out, and they were still there, was TRW. TRW used the site for research and development of the propellant, which is a fancy word for explosives, that were used for automobile airbags.
And at one point they actually fabricated automobile airbag propellants and devices. They had a research and development facility there. I've seen all of the facility, I've been through all of those facilities there. That stuff was done in an extremely tightly contained area under meticulous control. They have -- because it's explosive and it's dangerous. So everything was contained throughout the whole process, except when they would test the explosives, they built circular, what they call open burn, open detonation pads.
What they are, they're 100 feet in diameter. They're filled with several feet of crushed rock, pea gravel. There's an impermeable liner underneath that,
and then there's a second impermeable liner underneath that. And the idea is when they blow these things up, some of the stuff will filtrate into the gravel, and the liner is there to protect it from getting into the ground.
So in the process of doing the Phase I, we identified those particular sites. They have residue in there from those explosives, primarily perchlorate.
Those circular pads are -- have been under a state of bioremediation. We're using fertilizer and molasses, basically, to oxidize what's remaining. We continue to test, and when the test shows that it's clean, that material will be removed.
That, to our knowledge, based on all the research we've done, is the only environmental issue out there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Did you talk to Hi-Shear?
MR. HUBBARD: Hi-Shear -- the Hi-Shear stuff is public record. Hi-Shear, some years ago -- and I don't know the whole story about Hi-Shear because it was a while ago, but the fellow that owned Hi-Shear used one of those pads to burn some material illegally. He was busted by NDEP. The site was thoroughly investigated.
He actually spent some time in prison.
And subsequently TRW came in, did their Phase I assessment to make sure they were not inheriting a big liability, and they purchased the property after Hi-Shear used it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: And did you talk to Aerojet?
MR. HUBBARD: We've talked to Aerojet. We've talked to Hi -- we haven't talked to Hi-Shear. We've talked to TRW extensively, which used the site most recently.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: There's some controversy whether Aerojet actually did anything out there or not. And they say they did not use it for anything, and other people said, well, they worked on some (inaudible).
MR. HUBBARD: Well, you know, there's a lot of rumors. And Aerojet bought the property, as far as I know -- and I have to look back at the history, you know, in detail, but I don't think they did anything out there.
Most of the -- Hi-Shear was, apparently, a fly-by-night operation, but that work was all -- that -all that stuff is down at NDEP, all the files for that. You can review those and look at them. That was taken
care of before --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Where is this file?
MR. HUBBARD: It's at Nevada Department of Environmental Protection. The State came in at that point and made sure everything was clean.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Is there any chance you could send copies of it to the Storey County Building Department so those of us who are here locally don't have to travel to God knows where, to some far off department?
MR. HUBBARD: I assume at some point all those will be available at a public meeting. I don't -you know, if he wants me to distribute them, I can get copies. There's a lot of stuff.
MR. SMITH: Are they in your files or are they at NDEP?
MR. HUBBARD: Most of it is at NDEP. What we do, when we do the Phase I, we go down to NDEP and we review all that stuff, summarize everything we find, and then we write it in our report to Blake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: You've been promising since March to give us copies of the details of
the (inaudible) report to the County.
MR. SMITH: I think you continue to ask for those, and I keep saying that we're delivering the summary --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Look up the transcript for the Lockwood -?
MR. SMITH: The summary documents in order to accomplish it. And Dean has even came in and said, again, at the right stage, which is stage three, of the entitlement process, all of those things -- we'll actually come back in and do additional Phase I and Phase II before we break ground out there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Are you saying the transcript from the Lockwood meeting is wrong, is inaccurate?
MR. SMITH: I don't have the hearing in front of me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I don't have it in front of me either, but I know exactly what's in it, because when I was given the copies in PDF form, I used OCR to convert it to text. I've read every word of that transcript. Plus, I was there and I heard your other representatives from Kleinsmith -?
MR. SMITH: Kleinfelder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Kleinfelder, I'm sorry. -- say, well, we have the details of the contamination reports, and anyone that wants it can look at it.
And I asked, "Does that include me?"
And then I think you said, then, or Dean said, well, you will file (inaudible) with the County.
MR. SMITH: How big is Phase I and Phase II?
MR. HUBBARD: It's probably a pile this big.
All I can tell you is, you know, we've done as thorough a job as we can. I mean, there's -- when Blake hired us to make sure that he wasn't inheriting a liability, there will be no benefit to him whatsoever in hiding anything out there. There would be no benefit to me because I would have -- why would I put my company and myself and my family at risk by trying to hide something out there?
MR. SMITH: We wouldn't have purchased it.
MR. HUBBARD: Yeah. So all I can tell you is we've looked at it very thoroughly, we've looked at it extensively, we've done all kinds of sampling to try to identify everything we possibly can out there. We have a very good idea of the past uses, based on all the people
we've talked to, and we're doing our best to clean it up as quickly as we can.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: And all you've given out is this one-page summary that says trust us. At the same time you've said, we have the detailed reports, we're happy to show it to anybody, and then you don't do it.
MR. SMITH: You know, why don't you send it over and we'll PDF -- we'll put it all together. If you would enjoy going through it, that's fine. Part of the thing is, we are -- it's not at the right level of the entitlement process, and that's where Dean has come in and said, "Look, folks," if you'll even listen to him in the transcript saying, "At the next level is where we bring those in here."
Because we can't build on contaminated property anyhow, and we will hire this gentleman, or other companies, to come in when we start to build to deliver additional (inaudible) at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Now you're saying something different. Before you said you can have it right now, and now you're saying it's a Phase II item.
MR. SMITH: No, no. Wait a minute. We're talking about a couple different things.
MR. HUBBARD: Phase I is a research project to look at the history of the site and identify what could be potential problems. From that, we identified this problem and these areas we thought might have problems. We sampled a bunch of areas. Two of those areas have problems, and so that's what we're cleaning up. That's the Phase II part is when you go out and sample, and Phase III, you might say, is the remediation.
MR. SMITH: No, no. I'm pointing to the entitlement in Phase II. That's what I'm saying, at the next, Phase III, actually, in the entitlement process is when we would typically deliver. It's way ahead of all of those.
Even Dean is saying, "I don't need those at this point," because this is just a zone change. When you get into the development stage, those are when he needs all those detailed documents. And so that's where we've been going and saying, hey, we'll deliver them at the right entitlement level, which is Phase III of the zoning process.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I'm sorry. That's not what you said at the Lockwood meeting.
MR. SMITH: That's fine. Let me just accelerate. You send them over to my office and we'll
scan them and we'll get them out to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I'll be happy to post them on my Web site for you.
MR. SMITH: That's fine. No, they need to go up on the County so that the County has -?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Fine. If you give them to the County, as long as I can get them in PDF -- you know I put up a Web site for this issue, right? Okay. And so as opposed to the Storey County Web site (inaudible), my Web site for this issue is going to be there forever, I promise you that.
MR. SMITH: That's fine. I will deliver them to the County. That's where they need to go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Can I ask, when Senator Amodei started his response to the question of whether you were going to sue the County, it sounded to me like he was conceding that according to the Master Plan the County could say no to you and you did not really have grounds to sue the county, except that he goes to these other projects that the County appears to have made exceptions for (inaudible). You could, if we didn't make the same exception for you in the Master Plan that we've made for others, then you would have grounds for suing us.
MR. AMODEI: I wasn't clear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Well, I know.
MR. AMODEI: The evaluation -- thank you for pointing that out.
The evaluation that anybody will go through after they go before the County on anything that involves discretionary approval is, did you abide by your rules that you have (inaudible), and did you exercise your discretion reasonably? Part of that analysis was, how have you exercised your discretion on things that are in the same neighborhood in terms of Master Plan zone change amendments, major projects in Storey County.
And I guess, you know, one of the interesting things is when TRI was approved, it was not in the Master Plan. That doesn't mean that you have to vote one way or another now, but it's something that you take a look at.
When Painted Rock was approved, it was not in the Master Plan. Now, that doesn't mean that this is not in the Master Plan, because if you look at the Storey County Master Plan and you read the Master Plan, which I'm sure is on your Web site, you know, we think, when you take a look at all that stuff, that there's a good argument to be made, which Austin and his colleagues will hear next week, that it is in the Master Plan, but, I
mean, that's the nature of a horse race.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Well, there's people saying Painted Rock was in the Master Plan and Cordevista isn't.
MR. AMODEI: You know, that's what makes America great is everybody gets to have their own opinion. It's just that the ones that get the vote are the ones that really count.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Not everyone gets to have their own state senator on their side.
MR. AMODEI: You know what? One of the unique things about Nevada is that we are part-time legislators, and so that goes back to the state Constitution, which predates any of us, which means we want people who live and work in our communities to represent us, and so we don't want the full-time people. And I don't know where you hail from, we don't want full-time politicians. So all 63 of us have day jobs that we go back to, and mine happens to be working in the area of water rights and development. And that's been out there for the 12 years I've been in the legislature, and it was out there ten years ago when I represented the County against the developers, TRI, to make sure that they got what they thought they needed out of it, and it
was there when I represented Garrick Goldstrike in the approval of their power plant, and it was there when I represented Painted Rock, and it's there when I represent Mr. Smith, and it will be there as long as I'm in the private practice of law earning a living, because I am not earning my living based on my salary of 60 days out of every 360 times two at the public expense.
So, I mean, that's not a secret to anybody.
And the other magic in it is, a state senator has no votes on the Storey County Planning Commission or the Storey County Commission. So that's one of those other great things about America, where if it's a horse race, everybody brings their horses and sees where the heck they end up on the track after that bell goes off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I was born in New Jersey (inaudible).
MR. AMODEI: And you got here as soon as you could, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: (Inaudible.)
MR. AMODEI: Well, to the extent that you're equating me with the New Jersey folks, I won't hold that against you for any future relationship issues. I'm from Nevada, and it's worked okay here since 1864.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: (Inaudible.)
MR. AMODEI: I do a lot of pro bono, too.
MR. SMITH: If I could continue.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: Let me get back to my question here, because I asked for a simple yes-or-no question.
Did you or did you not find sodium azide? MR. HUBBARD: No.
MR. SMITH: No, okay.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Did you look for it or did you just -?
MR. HUBBARD: We looked for everything. We looked for a lot of stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: You read the documentation that previous owners gave you; you didn't do any testing.
MR. HUBBARD: We looked at all of the materials that they used out there, and we based our sampling regimen based on what they used.
MR. SMITH: Let me speed forward. If we were to find this chemical when we go in stage three and do a tentative map or a final map, we would remediate it at that point. Whatever is out there, if we discover it and it's something that we can't remediate -- I don't know what it is -- if we can't, then we can't develop on that
land. If it is in there, then we have to take it out before we can develop it.
So this question about is it there or is it not and have you looked everywhere, when we go to step three, which is tentative map and final map, we go back and we restudy the property and look for all those things. If we find them, we have to get them out of there. If we can't get them out of there, then we can't develop in there or we have to develop around the area.
So there are controls in here. These questions, these redundant questions on soils are very great ones, but you have the County and its staff that will go in and protect -- whether it's me or anyone else in here, when you go to build, you have to go and test those soils to make sure those aren't there, and if they are, you have to get them out at that point.
So all of these questions have control features behind them in there. It's at the later stage of the process.
MR. HUBBARD: If anybody has any knowledge of stuff out there that you think might have been used, I would like to hear it.
MR. SMITH: Please tell us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: Well, the fact
they were testing airbag propellants out there tells me they had sodium azide.
MR. HUBBARD: They had a lot of different things out there, but what we found was perchlorate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: Okay.
MR. SMITH: I think you had another question.
MR. PHILLIPS: For the record, my name is
Mark Phillips, 15-year resident of Storey County.
Could you please confirm or deny whether one of our Storey County commissioners has a one percent interest in Cordevista?
MR. SMITH: Cordevista?
MR. PHILLIPS: Yes.
MR. SMITH: No. I can distinctly tell you no county commissioner has any ownership interest in our project.
MR. PHILLIPS: Including Virginia Highlands, LLC.
MR. SMITH: Correct. Let me be very, very clear on that. No planning commissioner or county commissioner or any staff person has any involvement within our project.
Now, you may be confusing that with a different project that it appears he has ownership in a
MR. PHILLIPS: What project is that? (Inaudible.)
MR. AMODEI: Go to the recorder's office.
MR. SMITH: Yeah, go to the recorder office.
MR. PHILLIPS: That's our Storey County
MR. SMITH: I'll stop right there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: My last one, I promise, for both of you. He's probably got a historical aspect to this. Have you or your company or -- and co-op of companies, or any companies that either one of you know about, that operate at the level that you do, have they ever been refused by a government entity, be it a county government, state or city, have you guys ever wanted to put a project in and it was refused by that area's government entity, and if so, what happened after that?
MR. SMITH: We -- in the history of my career, we have not had a denial.
MR. AMODEI: In the history of mine, I've had plenty, and we didn't sue on all of them either.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: But that's a lawyer's job is to (inaudible).
MR. AMODEI: I know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Do you know of any companies that operate at the level that you do that have run into a refusal like we're talking about, hopefully talking about, here? Do you know of any?
MR. SMITH: You know what? I'm sure I probably do. I don't know them off the top of my head, though, but, yeah.
I don't know if we've covered all the questions or comments.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: I don't really have a question, but I think I wanted to just sum up a few feelings I have that I think might be shared by people here.
It had been mentioned that the point we were in California this would not be happening, people wouldn't have this kind of presentation. And your presentation is very good, and it's great that you honor the people in this county by bringing this sort of information and trying to be so open about what you plan to do.
But I moved here 20 years ago from Santa Cruz
County, and I can assure you 20 years ago in Santa Cruz County you would not even probably have gotten a listen down at the county much less 20 years later now that you could have done a development of this size or this intensity in Santa Cruz.
I understand there now that if your house burns down, you can't even rebuild it there's such a moratorium on building because people want to retain their quality of life in that area.
I'm sure there are other areas in California where they welcome development, but most of the areas where people truly want to live, development isn't quite that easily done.
You spoke about a five percent growth in Storey County, and I'm no expert on growth figures, but I would assume that that growth is not necessarily a residential sort of growth.
I've lived here for 20 years, and I think what Storey County would like to do, and I don't know if our planning commission has backed us up in our Master Plan, but we would like to see controlled growth.
The people who have lived up here, I live in the Highlands, but I also spend a lot of time in town, we've seen what's happened to the Carson City-Reno
corridor, also south to Gardnerville, north to Red Rock, and up the Pyramid Highway. We don't want to see that happen here.
And we would like -- you mentioned, well, this is a project where from the get-go we can decide exactly how that 8,000 acres is going to be used because you will work hand-in-hand with us to have anything that we desire as far as how that is planned out done according to reasonable requests.
Well, I think that is really where the great problem is, is that it is 8,000 acres and it is such a huge development. If you were a developer who was coming here and, say, wanted to build 200 houses over there, that might be something that people could live with, though I live in the Highlands and that concern about people from your community coming in and using our community as a recreational area, because we are far extended than what you have, because I don't think people quite understood, and I'm sure I'm correct in thinking that it's not one or two homes per acre. That's what the, 8,000 would come out to if you divided the number of homes in there, but the homes will be more dense. We don't want those people coming into the Highlands. And what if you were -- if your development
was okayed, and as in the situation with the Highlands, I'm sure in hindsight, even the people who live in the Highlands would have liked to have seen it developed better and overseen more by the County and more carefully approved than the situation is now.
So when you're coming to us with an 8,000-acre development and wanting the whole thing granted, people just cannot swallow that. It's too big, it's too scary. There are too many implications of things that might bite us in the butt later with that being okayed.
When I was at the Highlands presentation, at that time you had mentioned the golf course, and that just made everybody's hair stand up. Now I have not heard anything about a golf course, so maybe that's gone.
But the other thing, too, you talk about this being a mixed community, perhaps of cluster homes, apartments, and more high-end homes. I really haven't seen a community like that anywhere in Reno. It's like medium or low income or really nice. It's like Arrowhead Creek or Bridle Path Estates or -- I mean, I really haven't seen any new projects of any substantial size that house people who are low income. I've seen some apartment complexes down near downtown, but not anything
in the outlying areas, and so that seems puzzling to me, too.
Right now homes are growing daily. If you put in a development, it automatically has to have this infrastructure of fire and police and schools, but if the homes aren't selling very well, what's going to pay for that? Where is all this money going to come from that you say you're going to give back to us?
I think that kind of covers my feelings, and I don't really expect you to answer because all of this is rather nebulous and up in the air as to whether the economy is going to improve that vastly.
I'm a professional. I have a video production company. And let's say I had a studio in TRI. I really don't think I would want to live in Cordevista. I really don't. I think I'd want to live somewhere a bit nicer. Even though I know you've planned a nice community, I'd want to get away from there when I was through working. And I'm not so sure that people -particularly up here -- now, I'll finish up my remarks -I think a lot of the people up here don't necessarily live that close to where they work. They live where they want to recreate on the weekends and feel an identity with where they live when they come home, and it's not
necessarily where they work. That's all.
Oh, one more thing. I'm sorry. Sorry.
I was at a county commissioners' meeting last year when NDOT was making their annual presentation, and Senator Amodei was speaking for Painted Rock, and at that time there really wasn't any dissension in the room about Painted Rock, and I think the process they were going through at that meeting was fairly boilerplate.
But he mentioned that Virginia City, in its heyday, that 35,000 people lived here and certainly we could accommodate that many more now, and that really rubbed me the wrong way because right now Virginia City supports a population of what, between 800 or a thousand? And we have no infrastructure here to support 35,000 people.
And back from 1859 to say the next 20 years, this town was basically an industrial town, and sure it had some schools and things like that, but basically people made their money and went away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: (Inaudible.)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: But making that -- it just rubbed me the wrong way to hear Senator Amodei to compare this town 200 years ago -- over a hundred years ago to a present-day, the present-day
situation. We're a really little county with a really small infrastructure, and this is like a big elephant coming into our living room and saying, "I want to live here now."
MR. SMITH: Right. Well, let me -- I can't recall all of them, but I'll touch base on some of it.
Not everyone who works in TRI will live there. That's what is beautiful about our country; they can pick anywhere they want to live.
However, having those jobs and those housing next to it, it would be logical and just for other areas they wouldn't want to live.
When you talk about size, where you live currently, Virginia City Highlands is 25,000 acres of land. That has been absorbed and digested by it.
Ours is 8,000, and I want to put these to scale in here. When you talk about 8,000 is so big and all this, Virginia City Highlands happens to be three times the size of what we're proposing in here, so -?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: Wait. But how many homes are in the Highlands presently and how many times homes are in your development?
MR. SMITH: Well, this is old-style development of where you cut them into squares and do
ones and fives and forties. This is development that in the current day you can't make the economics work to develop a road system in here and have the County support that road with the taxes that had to go through 40-acre and 5-acre parcels. The economics do not work on it. And this type of zoning is classified as old-style zoning. That's why you go in and you do cluster houses together and you put them closer, so that the County can digest the tax burden of that.
The same thing with TRI that is coming in. When you talk about this thing is so big and all that, I want to go back. The County has approved a 102,000-acre project that will create 600 million feet and 180,000 jobs. When you put that to the scale of our project, we -- at full build-out, if we were to build this, we could possibly handle ten percent of the employees that happen within TRI. That's how big TRI is.
So when you do put it into scale, that at its full build-out that it potentially could only handle ten percent of all of TRI, that's how big that project is.
And then when you go to the physical side and say that your existing development that you live in is three times the size we're looking at, those kinds of scales are -- within the county, these type of things
have already occurred. Painted Rock, like I say, is just -- was just approved for, you know, one to two units per acre or what will put in about 10,000 employees.
What we've come back and said is, if 8,000 is too large, then we'll come back and we'll phase it in the size of Painted Rock. We'll put down it into 2,000-acre phases, so that just what you've approved currently we'll set this one up so that it's the same size as the previous one that was approved in there. So I don't know if I'm answering -- you had a litany of things.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: I was just making a statement, actually.
MR. SMITH: Well, I want to address them. That's why I'm here tonight, and I appreciate you coming. But it's something that you've taken your time. I've come here specifically to hear those, so that I can answer them, or if there's something that we can work on, I want to work on it and take it to the planning commission and say, here's a concern, here's what we want to do to address that concern. otherwise we would not hold these meetings. These meetings are not just for you and me to miss our dinner and our kids. They're here so that we can hear them.
That's why when we started I think we had six boards, and now we're up to 18 boards, because every meeting we have another concern that comes up, and we're trying to address that and go back to the county commissioners and say, "Here's an issue. Here's how we're tying to address it."
So I can't recall all of them. You had a litany of them, but if there was one in particular that you want me to address -- want me to readdress, I would be happy to.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: The only thing I would like to add to that is Douglas County, in their -- amended their Master Plan to three percent growth, and I consider the growth in Douglas County to have been far, far more -- if you take away TRI -- to be far, far more than Storey County. And if they can limit their growth to three percent, why can't Storey County do that?
MR. SMITH: Well, that's a different question than our application. That's something that should be requested.
That was one of the things you said about the five percent. That is actually population. We went back to 1960 and came to 2007. That is five percent a year
your population has grown in Storey County, to answer that. That was one of your other questions.
But that is a different question than what our application is.
And I'm going to summarize. I don't know if all the questions are, but when you take a look at our application, it's very simple. It comes down to this board here, which is, there's current zoning for special industrial on that property, which we do not think is best for the county or for the property that's out there.
And so the question is, do you -- does Storey County want special industrial zoning? Is that what is best for it? Or is the proposed mixed-use project better? And this is really the question we have in front of the planning commissioners.
But the development of the property will occur in some way. So when you say we don't want growth or we don't want these things, the property will be developed in one way or another, the question is in which way it should be developed. We think this is the better way, and that's our application.
Anything else? I don't want -- I see some people moseying out. I don't want to hold everyone, but I want to make sure I've answered or addressed all the
questions that are out there. If not, I'll open the bar and buy drinks at the Delta or something.
But I want to thank all of you. I mean
it sincerely. Taking an evening to come here, I know, is an evening of
yours, and I appreciate you taking the time to come down.
(The meeting adjourned at 7:41 p.m.)
PEGGY HOOGS & ASSOCIATES
STATE OF NEVADA )
COUNTY OF WASHOE. )
I, PEGGY B. HOOGS, a Certified Court Reporter and notary public in and for the County of Washoe, State of Nevada, do hereby certify:
That as such reporter, I was present on Wednesday, July 13, 2007, at Piper's Opera House, Virginia City, Nevada, and I then and there took verbatim stenotype notes of the proceedings had and testimony given therein;
That the foregoing transcript is a full, true and correct transcript of my said stenotype notes, so taken as aforesaid;
That the foregoing transcript was taken down under my direction and control and to the best of my knowledge, skill and ability.
DATED: At Reno, Nevada, this 16th day of July 2007.
Converted back to text from the public PDF document by Jed Margolin, citizen