Reno City Council approves University farm rezoning request

Reported by: Ashley Cullins
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Updated: 3/28/2013 8:50 am
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- A rezoning issue over university land took center stage at the Reno City Council meeting tonight.

The council approved a request by the University of Nevada to rezone 104 acres of UNR farmlands in a 4-2 vote.

The land that will be rezoned is located off of Pembroke Drive and South McCarran Boulevard near the university. Rezoning the land makes it possible to use it for commercial development if the University decides that's a good business move.

The chambers were packed as people ranging from agricultural students to young children spoke out in opposition of rezoning the 104 acres of the university's 1,000 acre main station field laboratory.

Advocates of ranching and farming say the rezoning is a way for UNR to pad its budget, but university president Marc Johnson says it's an opportunity to protect the land and its value.

Former Councilwoman Jessica Sferazza says parceling out land is a slippery slope. "The community would be losing a treasure because once you start piece-mealing development, the more development comes," Sferazza said. "We've seen that with other open space areas in the community."

The current council however voted to approve the request to rezone, and while they do value the public's concern Councilwoman Neoma Jardon says is it's a move based on logic not emotion.

"It came down to the facts, and the facts were there that it's the university's property to rezone and it was appropriate to do so tonight," Jardon said.

The university says that Wolf Pack Meats would not be impacted as a result of the zoning change.
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