Fact Finder: Did Planning Commissioners Do Their Homework ?

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Updated: 5/02/2013 12:51 pm
Plans for a rock crushing operation on a hillside in northeast Reno met with fierce opposition from residents.   The plant,  If approved would have been built just feet from several homes near Socrates and Gaslight Lane.

  But the Reno Planning Commission voted 6 to 1 in favor of the project.

"My thoughts are anybody that lives in Reno should be very scared of the Reno Planning Commission,"  said Lee Mccord who lives in the area where that project had been proposed.

Former planning commission chairman Dennis Romeo, now a local radio host, cast the lone dissenting vote on the Gaslight project.  Romeo told News 4 he was surprised by the way his fellow commissioners voted.

"Actually yeah, I was a bit puzzled,"  Romeo said.
 
That decision was appealed to the Reno City Council which voted, less than a month later,  to overrule the planning commission in a 7-0 vote against the project.

Fred Turnier is Reno's director of community development.   News 4 asked Turnier is the planning commission's vote was a mistake.

"I wouldn't say it was a mistake.   It's all part of the public process, Turnier said.

Turnier says that process is set-up to allow for appeals and that's what happened in this case.

We wanted to know if the planning commissioners actually visited the site to see it with their own eyes. Dennis Romeo says he did, and then voted no.

"It just wasn't the right fit for that property," Romeo told News 4.

But none of the commissioners who voted for the project would return our phone calls.   The city's community development director couldn't say for sure whether any of those commissioners actually made a site visit before casting their vote.

"I don't know if they visited the site.  I do know they passed it hundreds of times," Turnier said.

Resident Lee Mccord was present when the planning commission voted.  She say only Dennis Romeo, the chairman at the time, indicated at that meeting that he'd actually been to the site.  

Mccord says that's a big concern.

"Laziness.  Too lazy to really look and see what was going on," Mccord said.

Turnier says the city encourages members of the planning commission to visit sites before they vote on projects. But it is not a requirement.      he says it could be written into the by-laws if residents speak up and demand it.

"If that is something the community would like to see where planning commissioners actually visit the site, I would recommend that they send emails or reach out to the city,"  Turnier said.

Planning commissioners are appointed to their positions, to serve four year terms.  They are paid about $80 per meeting.   Once again, News 4 reached out to all of the commissioners who voted for the Gaslight project and none of them returned our calls.  

If you'd like to give your input to the city on whether planning commissioners should be required to make site visits before voting on a project... Contact the city's community development department at 321-8302 or send Fred Turnier an email at turnierf@reno.Gov.   ¤W0 17 ]] C2.5 G 0 [[


 

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