County approves major housing developments (2023)

After hearing from residents who expressed strong opposition to the development of proposed units near Casey Road and Birch Lane, Churchill County Commissioners voted unanimously on January 18 to approve a project consisting of single-family homes, townhomes and apartments will exist.

After nearly three hours of comment and discussion, the commissioners unanimously approved a 31-acre preliminary subdivision map on Coleman Road.

The 3-0 vote on the Birch Lane development comes almost nine months after commissioners approved on April 22 a new code structure to simplify existing neighborhoods and a third code for intensive multi-family housing units. At that meeting, local residents living near the proposed development told the commissioners that they were concerned their rural way of life would change.

The current development requires 619 single family homes and multi-family homes on 107.2 acres north and south of Birch Lane. According to the district, the number of apartments includes a provision for the developer to build a district park.

During the public comment period, county residents tried to reason with the commissioners early in the discussion, but just before the vote, the commissioners said they would approve the bill.

Public Works Director Chris Spross explained the two agenda items in detail. He said Old Stone's development process began in 2021 with an application for townhouses, apartments and townhouses. He said a housing needs analysis completed in 2019 and 2021 found the county lacked affordable multi-family housing. He said up to 2,300 housing units, including 550 homes for Navy families, could be needed over the next five years.

According to the Navy, the Naval Air Station is missing several hundred housing units and 13-15% of the seafarers live in another county. Contract employees do not receive housing assistance from the US government.

According to the assembly, the living space is divided into 101 single-family houses, 108 semi-detached houses or semi-detached houses and 408 apartments. The owners will belong to a Homeowners Association (HOA) and the monthly fees will help maintain the roads and proposed park. The two-storey apartment buildings are being built to the east of the residential buildings.

Developer Michael Railey said the trails and trails are owned and operated by the HOA but can be used by the general public. The development takes place in phases. Railey said Churchill County and the Nevada Department of Transportation conducted traffic studies.

Local residents then got involved in the development. None of the speakers spoke out in favor of the development because of the planned apartments. Jackie Ugalde, who lives on Lattin Road, said the project conflicts with her property, noting there will be a fence between her property and the extension.

"Too many people, too many buildings in one area," he questioned the project. "I'm not against growth, I'm against overbuilding in one area."

Ugalde said the developer could reduce the number of buildings on an acre. He also questioned why new homes if Fallon isn't growing with the business.

In contrast, hundreds of Churchill County residents commute to work in Fernley and the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center. The Lahontan Valley News reported in April 2022 that statistics from the Churchill Business Development Association show that about 43% of employed Churchill County residents commute to work from the area.

As of November 2022, Churchill County has an unemployment rate of 4%. The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reports 10,998 workers: 10,558 are employed and 440 are unemployed.

Another resident, Eddy Delgado, said he was concerned about the noise and the water.

"I feel like this is not the time to do something like this," he said.

Brent Huntsinger said it was difficult to fight the growth, but he questioned the proposed growth for the area.

"Townhouses don't sound so bad," he said, adding that apartments could be built near the air station.

Huntsinger said he was concerned about the traffic that could be encountered at the Shecker Cut-off-Allen Road junction.

"I don't want growth to be part of the problem," he said.

Also, Ann Brown, a Dallas Drive resident, said traffic would increase in both directions. Another local resident said the increased traffic would result in a gridlock.

Jim Souba, who testified at the April meeting, does not like the plan.

"It all sucks," he said. "The public is against it."

Souba asked the commissioners if they would allow this type of project next to their homes. Mike Kubiak, a contractor at the base for 25 years, questioned the scale of the development.

"He's trying to put 10 pounds of trash in a 5-pound bag," he said to applause from onlookers.

Other speakers commented on water shortages, a possible rise in crime or the city's annexation.

Railey tried to calm the concerns. He said a traffic study did show a reduced number of vehicles, but his information was met with laughter. He said the sizes of the lots will range from one-third to one-half an acre and assured the homes would be within the development. Railey added that the maximum height for residential buildings will be 35 feet.

Commissioner Justin Heath, a Fallon native who served in the Marine Corps and then as a corporal in the Navy, said the area lacks housing for veterans. He also said young people and high school seniors are leaving Fallon because of a lack of affordable housing.

A handful of people behind the cameras yelled at Heath and told him he lived across the street from the development. Heath said he will vote for development. Ghetto followed, saying he too would vote for him. Commission chairman Bus Scharmann added the third vote.

Commissioner Myles Getto said his friends wanted to stay in Fallon but couldn't. In response to a person who quipped that every housing development or housing development should be in Hazen, Ghetto replied.

"I'm not for doing this to Hazen," he said.

Ghetto said residences should have the option of living closer to the city.

The commissioners also scraped two agenda items that were rejected by Churchill Coty's planning committee in December. Both lawsuits concerned properties on Coleman Road west of Venturacci Lane. The district has owned the property for more than five years. The county acquired the property because it is at the best point for crossing the Carson River and will serve as a new north-south transit corridor extending south of Moody Lane.

Churchill County, on behalf of the community, also wants the developers to build an apartment building. One proposal focuses on an application for a multi-family development called Riverstone Apartments and will be built on approximately 32 acres.

As with the day's opening discussion on development, county resident Michael Reese questioned the need for luxury housing units in the country. He fears that the population growth will lead to overcrowded streets.

"Coleman Road is a dangerous road," he said.

Brett Cahill told commissioners there was "plenty of room for CAPS" in relation to the Churchill Animal Protection Society facility, about half a mile south of NAS Fallon's front gate on Pasture Road.

Another speaker, James Sterling, questioned the need for 440 homes, calling the project "not a good idea". Other speakers said traffic will increase on Coleman Road. Justin Ibarra said there was no point in cramming so many people into one small space.

After the final speaker spoke, Heath requested a motion to overturn the planning commission's recommendation. Ghetto and Scharmann followed Heath's example.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Aracelis Kilback

Last Updated: 12/06/2022

Views: 5926

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Aracelis Kilback

Birthday: 1994-11-22

Address: Apt. 895 30151 Green Plain, Lake Mariela, RI 98141

Phone: +5992291857476

Job: Legal Officer

Hobby: LARPing, role-playing games, Slacklining, Reading, Inline skating, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Dance

Introduction: My name is Aracelis Kilback, I am a nice, gentle, agreeable, joyous, attractive, combative, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.