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Sparks City Council Special Meeting 11/9/2018

General Business: 9.1

Title: Consideration and possible Council direction to the City Attorney’s Office whether to appeal to the appropriate court for judicial review and/or seek other appropriate legal remedies regarding the Regional Planning Governing Board’s October 11, 2018 denial of the City of Sparks’s proposed amendment to the Regional Plan to relocate the existing regional utility corridor that crosses the Wildcreek Golf Course property located at 3500 Sullivan Lane (FOR POSSIBLE ACTION).
Petitioner/Presenter: Chester H. Adams, Sparks City Attorney/Brandon C. Sendall, Assistant City Attorney
Recommendation: The City Attorney’s Office takes no position on this item because no direct substantive legal rights accruing to the City are involved, but nevertheless requests City Council direction at the October 22, 2018 City Council meeting in order to advise the City Council that statutory deadlines for a possible legal action exist.
Financial Impact: None.
Business Impact (Per NRS 237):
    
A Business Impact Statement is not required because this is not a rule.
Agenda Item Brief:

On October 11, 2018, the Regional Planning Governing Board (Governing Board) voted on the City of Sparks’s proposed amendment to the Regional Plan to relocate the regional utility corridor that crosses the Wildcreek Golf Course property.  Six votes in favor of the proposed amendment were necessary for approval.  Only five members of the Governing Board voted to approve the proposed amendment, resulting in denial.

During the public hearing on the proposed amendment, several members of the Governing Board may have based their denials on issues or concerns that were allegedly not appropriate for denying a proposed amendment and that may have been beyond the scope of the agendized item that was before the Governing Board.

This agenda item provides City Council notice of the statutory deadlines to appeal and an opportunity to direct the City Attorney’s Office to petition the appropriate court for judicial review regarding the Governing Board’s denial of the City of Sparks’s proposed amendment to the Regional Plan.



Background:

The 2012 Truckee Meadows Regional Plan (Regional Plan) designates specific corridors as regional utility corridors.  An existing utility corridor currently traverses east-to-west through the site located at 3500 Sullivan Lane (the Wildcreek Golf Course property). 

The City of Sparks has no direct substantial legal issues to protect in this matter.  Instead there are simply notable expectations of legal entitlements that may accrue in the future.  For instance, Washoe County School District (WCSD) is negotiating with Washoe County and the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority to acquire the Wildcreek Golf Course property and plans to relocate the existing electric transmission line.  Moving the transmission line would require amending the Regional Plan to relocate the existing regional utility corridor.  However, the only bodies that can propose an amendment to the Regional Plan are the regional planning bodies themselves or a local governing body.  Therefore, because WCSD has no actual legal standing to bring a proposed amendment, WCSD requested the City sponsor an amendment before the Regional Planning Commission to relocate the utility corridor to a different portion of the Wildcreek Golf Course property.  At its July 23, 2018 meeting, the City Council voted in favor of sponsoring the amendment to the Regional Plan.

On October 11, 2018, the Regional Planning Governing Board (Governing Board) voted 5-4 (one member was absent) on the proposed amendment to the Regional Plan, with five votes in favor of the amendment and four votes against the amendment.  However, under State regional planning statutes, an amendment to the Regional Plan must be approved by a majority of the total membership of the Governing Board, which is comprised of 10 members.  NRS 278.0276.  Therefore, the proposed amendment failed to carry the six votes necessary for approval.

During the public hearing on the proposed amendment, several members of the Governing Board based their denials on issues or concerns that may have been beyond the scope of the agendized item, including possible traffic and stormwater runoff concerns surrounding a potential school that may be built in the future on the Wildcreek Golf Course property.  Sparks staff informed the Governing Board members during the public hearing that these concerns were irrelevant, and that such concerns would be better addressed during future Conditional Use Permit applications that would be heard by the Sparks Planning Commission and City Council.  Sparks staff also stressed that traffic and stormwater runoff concerns were beyond the scope of the Governing Board’s agenda item.

However, because the City Council previously voted to sponsor this proposed amendment to the Regional Plan, staff seeks City Council’s direction regarding whether the City of Sparks should initiate litigation against the Governing Board through the filing of a petition for judicial review or other legal action in the Second Judicial District Court, in and for Washoe County.



Analysis:

The City Attorney’s Office may only commence civil actions upon receiving the express prior permission of the City Council.  SMC 2.05.020(I); Comm’n on Ethics v. Hansen, 134 Nev. Adv. Op. 40, 419 P.3d 140, 143 (2018).  Therefore, the City Attorney’s Office requires the City Council’s direction and authorization to petition for judicial review of the Governing Board’s decision.  A petition seeking judicial review of a Governing Board decision must be filed within 25 days after the date of filing of the Governing Board’s decision.   



Alternatives:

The City Council may choose to direct the City Attorney’s Office to take no legal action regarding the Regional Planning Governing Board’s October 11, 2018 denial of the City of Sparks’s proposed amendment to the Regional Plan to relocate the existing regional utility corridor that crosses the Wildcreek Golf Course property and provide the City Manager with alternative direction.

 

Alternatively, the City Council may choose to direct the City Attorney’s Office to petition the appropriate court for judicial review and/or other appropriate legal remedies regarding the Regional Planning Governing Board’s October 11, 2018 denial of the City of Sparks’s proposed amendment to the Regional Plan to relocate the existing regional utility corridor that crosses the Wildcreek Golf Course property.



Recommended Motion:

Alternative 1:

The City of Sparks has no direct legal interests to promote or protect in this matter and I therefore move to direct the City Attorney’s Office to take no legal action regarding the Regional Planning Governing Board’s October 11, 2018 denial of the City of Sparks’s proposed amendment to the Regional Plan to relocate the existing regional utility corridor located on the Wildcreek Golf Course property.

 

Alternative 2:

I move to direct the City Attorney’s Office to petition the appropriate court for judicial review and other appropriate legal remedies regarding the Regional Planning Governing Board’s October 11, 2018 denial of the City of Sparks’s proposed amendment to the Regional Plan to relocate the existing regional utility corridor located on the Wildcreek Golf Course property. 



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