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Sparks City Council Meeting 7/23/2018

Planning and Zoning Public Hearings and Action Items: 11.7

Title: Second Reading, Public Hearing, discussion and possible adoption of Bill No. 2743, an Ordinance to rezone real property approximately 7.72 acre in size located at 2255 Los Altos Parkway, Sparks, NV from PD (Planned Development – The Vistas) to MF2/PUD (Multi-Family Residential – 10-14 Units Per Acre / Planned Unit Development). (PCN18-0019) THIS ITEM WILL BE HEARD AT 6:00 P.M.
Petitioner/Presenter: Landstar Companies, LLC/Ian Crittenden, Senior Planner
Recommendation: The Planning Commission recommends that the City Council adopt Bill No. 2743, an ordinance rezoning real property approximately 7.72 acres in size located at 2255 Los Altos Parkway.
Financial Impact: None.
Business Impact (Per NRS 237):
A Business Impact Statement is not required because this is not a rule.
Agenda Item Brief:

This is a request from Landstar Companies, LLC to rezone a parcel approximately 7.72 acres in size located at 2255 Los Altos Parkway from PD (Planned Development – The Vistas) to MF2/PUD (Multi-Family Residential – 10-14 Units Per Acre / Planned Unit Development). This rezoning request is coming forward for City Council consideration along with a request for approval of a development agreement. On June 7, 2018, the Sparks Planning Commission voted to forward recommendations of approval to the City Council for the rezoning and development agreement requests.


This is a request from Landstar Companies to rezone a parcel approximately 7.72 acres in size from PD (Planned Development – The Vistas) (Exhibit 1) to MF2/PUD (Residential Multi-Family – 12-14 units per acre) (Exhibit 2).

The site is located at 2255 Los Altos Parkway (Exhibit 3).  It is a vacant site that is part of The Vistas Planned Development.  The Vistas Master Plan and Community Design Standards (hereafter, The Vistas Handbook) was approved in 1988 by Special Use Permit (SUP), which is how planned development handbooks were processed at that time. The Vistas Handbook is the oldest planned development in Sparks and predates the current planned development provisions of the City’s zoning code.

At the time The Vistas Handbook was approved, the subject site was designated as Vista Village East (Exhibit 4 at 1-2).  Vista Village East (Exhibit 5 at 2) is described in The Vistas Handbook as:

     12. Vista Village East and 13. Vista Village South

       These two projects are envisioned to be identical to that of Vista Village West. In fact, these two projects may be developed and operated together with Vista Village West to achieve scale economies in management.  Each site includes 5 to 6 acres, about 64 homes and densities of a dozen units per acre.

Vista Village West (Exhibit 5 at 1) is described in The Vistas Handbook as:

     8. Vista Village West

      Vista Village West is an apartment or condominium project proposed next to the school and park sites.  The intent is to create a “village” feeling in the natural bowl that includes this project and the school, the park, the fire station, the community center site, and the “built edge’ of Vista Village South and Vista Village East.  The apartment structures, being more massive than single family homes and with the landscaped grounds around them, add to the potential for creating the desired village effect at the community’s core.  This 5-6 acre site will fit about 64 homes at an approximate density of 12 units per acre.

These descriptions indicate that this site has been intended for multi-family development since The Vistas Handbook was approved in 1988. 

Rezoning was previously requested for this site.  PCN17-0032 was heard by the Planning Commission on August 3, 2017.  At the meeting there was substantial public comment in opposition to this request.  The Planning Commission voted to forward a recommendation of denial to the City Council.  After the Planning Commission meeting but prior to City Council consideration, the applicant withdrew their request.

The applicant is now requesting the same change in zoning but in conjunction with the proposed Development Agreement. Typically, rezoning requests are not project-specific and conditions cannot be attached to approval. The requested zoning would, in the absence of a development agreement, permit up to 108 units to be constructed on this site.  A development agreement can prescribe how a site is to be developed, providing the Planning Commission, the City Council, and the public with project-specific information that can be considered at the time rezoning is considered. Such an agreement also allows the Planning Commission and City Council to place limits on or add conditions to approval of the rezoning request. If at some future date the applicant proposes to increase the unit count limit (75 units) or make another substantive change to the project described in the Development Agreement, it would have to be amended, which would require notice and a public hearing before the City Council.

On June 7, 2018, the Sparks Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the development agreement and rezoning requests. The written public comments the City received prior to the Planning Commission public hearing opposing these requests are attached (Exhibit 15).  The Planning Commission also received extensive public comment opposing these requests at the public hearing; the comments are included in the report of action for the Planning Commission attached to this staff report. The Planning Commission determined, however, that they could make the applicable findings and voted to forward recommendations of approval to the City Council for both requests. 


The applicant is requesting rezoning of this site from PD to MF2/PUD in accordance with the requirements of The Vistas Handbook. The MF2 zoning district allows up to 14 dwelling units per acre. As this site is 7.72 acres in size, the MF2/PUD zoning would permit up to 108 units. However, the applicant has requested to enter into the proposed Development Agreement to address concerns the Planning Commission and the public expressed at the August 3, 2017 public hearing related to the density and characteristics of the project that would be permitted on the site if rezoned for multi-family uses.

The proposed Development Agreement (Exhibit 6) limits the number of units on the site to a maximum of 75 units. In addition, per the project description, the units would be attached townhomes. Because of the zoning code definition, “multi-family” must be permitted if the site is to be developed with three or more townhouses attached to each other, as reflected in the project plan attached to the Development Agreement. While “multi-family” includes more than just townhouses, the rest of the proposed Development Agreement (including the exhibits) provides additional limitations beyond the zoning code’s definition of “multi-family.”

The subject site has been designated for multi-family development since 1988, when The Vistas Handbook was approved.  The Vistas Handbook requires that as areas become ready for development, they be rezoned appropriately for the development that is called for in the Handbook (Exhibit 7).

The handbook indicates that initially all of The Vistas Planned Development was zoned R-1-15, which allowed a maximum density of 2.9 units per acre.  As areas were brought forward for entitlement and development at a variety of densities (Exhibit 8), The Vistas Handbook required that they be rezoned to R-1-15/PUD to become developable, regardless of the density implied by the R-1-15 prefix.

The R-1-15 and R-1-15/PUD zoning transitioned to SF-15 and SF-15/PUD as the zoning code was updated.  This resulted in the SF-15/PUD zoning that currently exists on the west side of the Vistas (Exhibit 9).  The SF-15 zoning district only allows 3 dwelling units per acre, but the PUD suffix means that the standards from The Vistas Handbook apply and allow higher densities. 

A later zoning case, Z-8-91, determined that the R-1-15 zoning did not cover the entire Vistas Planned Development. Beginning with Z-8-91, areas ready for development were rezoned to PD and became developable under the standards set forth in The Vistas Handbook, which has detailed single-family development standards but no development standards for multi-family projects.  This means that under the current PD zoning this site cannot be developed as multi-family because there are no development standards for multi-family.  Rezoning to a multi-family zoning district, as required on page 26 of The Vistas Handbook (Exhibit 7), will provide the needed development standards. Those standards have been added to the proposed Development Agreement. In addition, any applicable design standards in The Vistas Handbook also apply. These design standards will promote compatibility and conformity of the development of this site with the rest of the Vistas.

This area was designated for multi-family development in The Vistas Handbook (Exhibit 4) at a density of 12 units per acre (Exhibit 5).  The multi-family zoning district in the Sparks zoning code that will accommodate that density of development is MF2.  The request to change the zoning of this site to MF2/PUD would be consistent with past practices.

The site has a Comprehensive Plan Land Use Designation of MF14 (Multi-Family Residential), which allows densities between 10 and 14 dwelling units per acre.  The request to change the zoning to MF2/PUD is thus in conformance with the existing MF14 Land Use Designation (Exhibit 10).

The adjacent properties are zoned PD (Planned Development – The Vistas, and Planned Development – Desert Highlands). The site is primarily bordered by other properties in the Vistas but a section in the southeast corner is bordered by properties in the Desert Highlands Planned Development. The adjacent properties are all either designated open space or have been developed with single-family residences. 

The development plan in The Vistas Handbook designated more multi-family developments near or adjacent to this site. Contrary to this designation, those other multi-family sites were developed as single-family homes. Staff was unable to find any language in The Vistas Handbook that allows for this reduction in density. Research into the case history for the other sites that were designated multi-family in The Vistas Handbook but developed as single-family has not provided any rationale to explain why the multi-family designation was not followed. 

One outside agency, the Regional Transportation Commission, responded to the City’s request for comments by affected agencies. That response is attached as Exhibit 13. 

The applicant is requesting this rezoning to MF2/PUD to develop this property as a townhome project in compliance with the multi-family land use designation contained in The Vistas Handbook.  Staff is recommending approval of this request for the reasons discussed in the findings below.


The request, as submitted, is consistent with the City of Sparks Comprehensive Plan.


The Comprehensive Plan Land Use Designation for the site is MF14 (Multi-Family Residential), which allows residential densities between 10 and 14 units per acre.  The MF2 zoning is in conformance with the MF14 Land Use designation.  Rezoning from PD to MF2/PUD will not create any inconsistencies or conflicts between the Comprehensive Plan and the zoning because MF2 is a permitted zoning district in the MF14 land use.

The Land Use Plan Goals and Policies in the 2016 Comprehensive Plan that are relevant to this proposal include:

Goal H1           Facilitate development of housing that is available, affordable and accessible to a diverse and growing population, including senior citizens.

Policy H1         Ensure there are sufficient appropriately zoned areas with the infrastructure, public facilities and services necessary for the production of new housing.

Policy H2         Promote a variety of housing types throughout Sparks, including within mixed-use settings, to expand the choices available to meet the financial and lifestyle needs of a diverse population and workforce.

Policy CF1        When reviewing new development, the City will not approve an application unless City services can be provided at acceptable service levels.

This site has been designated for multi-family development since the adoption of The Vistas Handbook in 1988.  The site is located within a mature planned development. This is the last undeveloped site in the Vistas.

Rezoning this site to MF2/PUD is consistent with the MF14 Comprehensive Plan Land Use designation and supports Goal H1 and Policies H1 and H2 of the Comprehensive Plan as the proposed use would provide an additional housing option in the area and would provide for more housing, compared to single family zoning, to meet the current high demand for housing.

A memo from the City Engineer addressing the adequacy of City infrastructure that will serve this site is attached as Exhibit 16 to demonstrate compliance with Policy CF1 of the Comprehensive Plan.  

For these reasons, the Planning Commission determined that substantial evidence supports a finding of consistency with the City’s Comprehensive Plan. 


The project is consistent with the surrounding existing land uses.

The surrounding uses are:





Single Family Residential



Single Family Residential



Single Family Residential



Single Family Residential


The surrounding residential properties have a Comprehensive Plan Land Use designation of LDR (Low Density Residential), which allows residential densities from 3 to less than 6 dwelling units per acre. The Planning Commission concluded that the proposed zoning of MF2/PUD can be compatible with the adjacent single-family properties. The proposed use of this site, pursuant to the Development Agreement, is townhomes. The approval of The Vistas Handbook determined single-family and multi-family residences to be compatible uses by locating them adjacent to each other in the development map (Exhibit 4). Possible impacts to adjacent single-family properties, streets, and infrastructure from the proposed MF2/PUD properties will be addressed during the tentative map process required by the Sparks Municipal Code for new townhome projects. 

The location of multi-family projects adjacent to single-family projects is a common occurrence, and in this case, has been anticipated since 1988.  Many planned developments in Sparks have multi-family uses adjacent to single-family residential uses. Pioneer Meadows, Kiley Ranch South, Kiley Ranch North, Foothills, Miramonte, and Wingfield Springs all have multi-family developments adjacent to single-family homes. Additionally, MF2 is the lowest density multi-family zoning designation, allowing 12 to 14 dwelling units per acre. Pursuant to the proposed Development Agreement, the actual density will be less than 10 units per acre. The subject site is primarily adjacent to open space that will set the townhomes back from the surrounding properties.      


Public notice was given and a public hearing held per the requirements of the Sparks Municipal Code.

Public notice was published in the Reno Gazette-Journal on May 24, 2018, and notices were mailed to all property owners within 750 feet of the subject property (269 notices) on May 24, 2018. The Planning Commission and the City Council meetings function as the public hearings for this item.

  1. The City Council can adopt Bill 2743 to rezone the property at 2255 Los Altos Parkway.
  2. Should the City Council continue its consideration of the accompanying Development Agreement to its August 13th meeting, the City Council should also continue consideration of this rezoning request to the August 13th Council meeting.
  3. The City Council could remand the rezoning request back to Planning Commission with direction.
  4. The City Council could deny the rezoning request.

Recommended Motion:

I move, based on Findings Z1 through Z3 as set forth in the staff report, to adopt Bill 2743 to rezone real property approximately 7.72 acres in size located at 2255 Los Altos Parkway, Sparks, Nevada from PD (Planned Development – The Vistas) to MF2/PUD (Multi-Family Residential – 10-14 Units Per Acre / Planned Unit Development).

Attached Files:
     02 - Exh1 through 5 PCN18-0019.pdf
     03 - Exh6_PCN18-0019_DevelopmentAgreement.pdf
     04 - Report of Action and Public Comment PCN18-0019.pdf
     05 - Exh7_8_9_10_13_16 PCN18-0019_VistasHandbookRequirement.pdf
     01 - PCN18-0019_Rezoning_Ordinance with Exh A & B.pdf
     AI 11.6 and 11.7 Traffic Letter Final from TrafficWorks.pdf

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