Landstar Companies is still vying to build multi-family townhomes on the vacant 7.7-acre lot located on 2255 S. Los Altos Parkway, but residents of Sparks are pushing back. Last week, Sparks City Hall was full of residents against the 75-unit project and doing whatever they can to halt the developer’s progress.
The Planning Commission received 126 requests of opposition, including 30 people who expressed their concerns during the June 7 Public Hearing. Residents cited concerns about increased traffic, overcrowding, and grading if the project is to go through. One resident said that she moved to the Vistas from another part of Sparks to get away from traffic and for more safety, but that as the area becomes more impacted it’s slowly becoming hazardous to walk her dog there.
“When does quality of life come into play? I hope you understand that quality of life in the City of Sparks is much more important than letting another builder come into town,” she begs of the commissioners.
Another resident spoke up believing that the proposed development is not consistent with the City of Sparks Comprehensive Plan (despite City staff stating that it is), it’s not compatible with the existing plan use, and that the commissioners need to recognize and consider how many homeowners are adamantly opposed to this project.
“I can’t imagine cramming more people in, the school classes are already overcrowded and busting at the seams. I don’t even let my kids ride bikes in the neighborhood now, and that’s not right,” another resident says.
“I wouldn’t have bought my home if I thought a new development would’ve been built behind me. I’m concerned about privacy,” another person says.
In the beginning of the meeting, a representative of Landstar asked the Commission to vote for a continuance- tabling the discussion until July 5 and give the applicants more time to go back and address some of the concerns regarding density, unit height, access, and parking. However, Sparks’ residents were not interested in shelving the development for further discussion.
“Deny the continuance and vote down the project now,” one resident says. “Next week there are 40 more homes going in near our neighborhood, granting a continuance is a ploy to get this approved when people are going to be out of town,” another added.
Sparks City Planner Ian Crittenden stated in the beginning of the meeting that a multi-family development was originally approved in the 1988 Vistas planning area handbook, but that some of the verbiage in it is outdated. Therefore, the area would need to be rezoned to accommodate multi-family housing in Sparks’ newer zoning standards.
After the public comment period, the Planning Commission voted to either issue Landstar a continuance or send it to the Sparks City Council to vote. The motion to issue a continuance for July 19 was denied in a 4-3 vote. The following motion to seek approval from City Council was then passed in a 6-1 vote.
It was clear that the public was not happy with the vote to move it to City Council instead of squashing the issue completely, marked by a few “boo’s” echoing throughout the room.
“We really do have the crown jewel in Washoe County. So all I have to say is don’t screw it up,” an audience member said about how he feels about development in Sparks.