To: Mr. Blake Smith Date: 4/23/07
From: Larry Prater, Storey Co. Planning Commission
Re: Cordevista Development
Copies: Dean Haymore, Storey Co. Planning
Dear Mr. Smith:
The following are questions and concerns that I would like you or your consultants to address at the next public hearing in Rainbow Bend on May 3rd.
1. The Drainage section of the Conservation Plan of the project scope states that proposed retention and detention of storm water on the project site will "stop all flooding in Lockwood." Historically, flooding of the Long Valley Creek through Lockwood has occurred after two or more days of continuous rain has saturated the soils in the upstream drainage basins. In this condition all contributing runoff basins are proportionate stormwater contributors based upon their contributory areas. Your preliminary studies address the Lousetown Creek, Long Valley Creek and Cordevista basins, but do not address other significant basins north of the Lousetown and Cordevista basins. If these other basins are taken into affect, Cordevista appears to contribute only about a quarter of the stormwater flow through Lockwood. While detention of stormwater on your project site will help to alleviate the severity of future flooding through Lockwood, the statement that it will stop all flooding seems far from accurate. Please clarify.
2. The project scope states "the 8600 acre project will be a low intensity development that will range between 1.0 an 2.0 dwellings per gross acre." Based on an assumption of 2.5 occupants per dwelling, the community could ultimately have a population of 43,000, or more than ten times the county's current population. Further, based on your use of the gross acreage for the development density, the acquisition of additional undevelopable acreage could result in more population and increased density in the developable areas. For us to have an accurate view of the scope and density of the project we need to know the proposed maximum number of dwellings on the developable acreage only.
3. Your reluctance to disclose your source of water for the project is understandable. However, without that information we are forced to speculate on its source and delivery. You have repeatedly stated that absolutely no Storey County ground water will be used, leaving the Truckee River at Lockwood as the closest source. Based on Truckee Meadows average summer water usage of 800 gallons per day (gpd) per connection and peak usage of 1600 gpd per connection, and a community buildout with 13,000 connections (8,600 acres with 1.5 units per acre) you will need a delivery and
Apr 23 07 11:02a P.2
treatment system for 1200 gpd per connection, or about 16 million gallons per day. An efficient delivery system from Lockwood to Cordevista , 4-plus miles away and 1000 feet higher, would require a 24-inch diameter pipeline and multiple pump stations. Assuming Truckee River water as the source, a $60 million dollar treatment plant would be required. Assuming groundwater from some more distant source, treatment would not be required but piping and pumping would probably offset the treatment costs. Pumping costs alone from Lockwood to the site could range from $2,500 per day in the winter to $10,000 per day at summer peaks. Granted, these are all "back-of-the-envelope" calculations, but they have been corroborated by an engineer with the Truckee Meadows Water Authority. My question is: based on the obviously substantial first and continuing costs of delivering potable water to the project, how can your proposed development compete with other developments in the area?
4. Where will the development's sewage treatment effluent be discharged?
5. You have pledged that there will be no future access roads to Cordevista through Lockwood or Virginia City Highlands. However, once the development is completed, you are gone, and the majority of the county's population is there, it seems inevitable that the Cordevista residents will demand more direct and quicker access to Reno, Sparks and Virginia City. How can you guarantee that the roads will not be built?
6. You have argued that the primary justification for the development of Cordevista is to provide a residential balance to the rapid commercial/industrial growth of the Tahoe Reno Industrial Park (TRI), and that good planning practices require such a balance. But the question arises, good for whom? The commercial and industrial enterprises choosing to headquarter in TRI are not demanding that Storey County provide housing for their employees. They recognize that the Truckee Meadows has a large existing employee base and that there is plenty of room for residential growth in nearby Fernley and Silver Springs. It seems that the only beneficiary of the Cordevista development is you, the developer. Please clarify.
7. In addition to the above, sound planning practices discourage
spot zoning. The Cordevista site's existing zoning, Special Industrial,
is compatible with TRI's industrial zoning on the north, south and east
The Forestry zoning to the west is buffered by a major drainage, Long Valley
Creek, and permits only very low residential density, i.e., one unit per
forty acres. In my opinion, permitting a 13,000 unit or larger residential
development at that location would constitute a classic case of spot zoning.