Sparks City Council Meeting 5/22/2017 2:00:00 PM

    Monday, May 22, 2017 2:00 PM
    Council Chambers, Legislative Bldg., 745 4th St. , Sparks, NV

General Business: 9.2

Title: Consideration of and possible action on a Tentative Map request for 448 townhome lots on a site approximately 165.5 acres in size in the NUD (New Urban District – Miramonte Planned Development) zoning district located at the end of Belmar Drive, Sparks, Nevada. (PCN17-0011)
Petitioner/Presenter: Fort Apache Homes, Inc./Karen Melby, AICP, Development Services Manager
Recommendation: Planning Commission and staff recommend approval of the tentative map for Miramonte Townhomes associated with PCN17-0011
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 by Fort Apache Homes for a Tentative Map for a 448 lot townhome subdivision in the Miramonte Planned Development (Exhibit 3).  The site is 165.5 acres in size and has a zoning designation of NUD (New Urban District).  On April 6, 2017, the Sparks Planning Commission voted to forward a recommendation of approval to the Sparks City Council (Exhibit 2).


The applicant is requesting a tentative map for a 448 lot townhome subdivision (Exhibit 4).

The Miramonte Planned Development Handbook was approved in 2005 and amended in 2006, 2007, and 2014.  The undeveloped area in which this townhome subdivision is proposed has been designated for townhomes/apartments since the original recordation of the handbook in 2005.  The 2005 approval designated this site for up to 14 dwelling units per acre and the proposal would develop the site at 12.8 dwelling units per acres.


This application for a Tentative Map is an initial step towards approval of a 448 lot townhome subdivision.  The site will require a large amount of mass grading to provide access and produce a buildable area for the 448 townhomes.  The preliminary plan indicates this is feasible.  Final grading and utility plans to be submitted with the Final Map must demonstrate that the grading and infrastructure for the project complies with all applicable requirements.

This site is primarily accessed from Los Altos Parkway via Belmar Drive with a proposed secondary access from Iridium Way that would also serve as an emergency access.  The proposed primary and secondary access roads to the site would have to cross sizable ravines that run along the west side of the site.  The way the applicant is proposing to cross this ravine requires an earthen fill (up to 50 feet) with culverts to convey storm water. Due to the height of the fill needed to cross the ravine, both crossings will be considered dams and will need to be approved by the State Engineer (Condition 7).

This proposed development will add traffic to Los Altos Parkway and at the intersection of Los Altos Parkway and Vista Boulevard.  Based on the traffic analysis submitted with the tentative map application, the applicant is proposing to extend the westbound left-turn pocket on Los Altos Parkway to 400 feet of striped storage length.  This complies with the recommendations in the March 7, 2017 Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) letter (Condition 4). 

The project site may be outside the Sparks Fire Department’s 6-minute response time.  Further analysis must be submitted with the final map.  If upon further analysis it is determined that this location is not within the 6-minute response time, additional mitigation measures, as reviewed and approved by the Fire Chief, will be required (Condition 14).

There are 12 findings required by Sparks Municipal Code to approve a Tentative Map (NRS 278.330-278.353).

Tentative Map Findings


The request conforms to the Comprehensive Plan and zoning ordinances.

The Comprehensive Plan Goals and Policies that relate to this proposal include:

GOAL MG9:          Promote compact development to reduce the number of miles of roads, sidewalks, sewer and other infrastructure needed per capita and to manage the geographic area to which the City and other public agencies must provide services such as police and fire protection, emergency medical services and code enforcement.

Policy C4:             Require sidewalks for pedestrians on all street networks within the City.

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

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 EV10:        Require, prior to or with applications for land-use approval (Tentative Maps, Administrative Review or Conditional Use Permit), all development projects on greenfield sites of 20 or more acres to demonstrate they are fiscally positive to the City for a period of at least 20 years. 

The Miramonte townhome subdivision is a part of a mature planned development.  The land use for this project has been approved since 2005 and has been assumed in buildout calculations and models since that time.  This project will, if approved, provide an alternative to single-family detached housing and apartments in this area of Sparks.  The compact nature of a townhome subdivision requires lower per capita infrastructure costs.  City services, with the possible exception of meeting the Sparks Fire Department’s 6-minute response time standard, can be extended to this site at acceptable service levels, as was anticipated with the approval of the Miramonte Planned Development Handbook.

As required by Policy EV10, the applicant submitted a fiscal analysis.  New Economics and Advisory, Inc., the applicant’s consultant, projected that the proposed development will be fiscally positive for the City over a 20-year period with a net cumulative surplus of $220,000 at year 20.  The assertion made in the fiscal analysis is that the development’s future residents will produce a large increase in Consolidated Tax (CTAX) revenues to the City.  The analysis assumes that nearly all the development’s future residents will move there from outside of Washoe County or that the Washoe County homes they vacate will be backfilled by people from outside the county.

In their report to the Planning Commission, City staff expressed reservations regarding these assumptions in the applicant’s fiscal analysis.  In staff’s view, growth in housing units results from population increases.  The residents that will occupy these housing units are likely either already Washoe County residents or will move here for jobs and will occupy available housing; less than a majority will move here simply for housing.  While the applicant’s fiscal analysis does assume a 10.8% vacancy rate based on Washoe County’s current vacancy rate for single family homes, City staff believe  the projected revenues in the fiscal analysis are too optimistic.

At the April 6, 2017 Planning Commission meeting the applicant’s fiscal consultant explained that their revenue projections are based on a per household sales tax generation amount.  They applied that estimate to the new households in this proposed project.  The applicant’s consultant stated that housing demand indicates the need for new housing units beyond those needed to accommodate natural population growth rate.  This implies that that the new housing units created by this project will represent a countywide increase in population and households.  It remains staff’s opinion, however, that the fiscal analysis is too optimistic and the project may not be fiscally positive of a 20-year period.

Nevertheless, staff believes this project provides benefits other than its fiscal impact and that substantial evidence exists to support a finding of compliance with the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan.  While the availability of City services at acceptable levels (Policy CF1) will not be determined with certainty until additional analysis is done for the final subdivision map, the proposed project would: promote compact development (Goal MG9) with a density of 12.8 units per acre; will incorporate sidewalks (Policy C4); and, provides another housing type in this area of Sparks (Policy H2).  Notably, the fiscal analysis indicates that the base sales price of these units will be $270,000.  This is below the Reno/Sparks region’s current median home price of $319,000 (per the Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors March 2017 Market Report).  The addition of below median value priced homes is an argument in favor of this development.  Thus, while Policy EV10 may not be fulfilled, it is staff’s conclusion that this project fulfills Policy H2, Goal MG9, and Policy C4, and that overall the project advances the City’s Comprehensive Plan goals and policies.


General conformity with the City's master plan of streets and highways has been considered.

The proposed streets included in this project were approved with the Miramonte Planned Development Handbook. The tentative map does not deviate from the City’s master plan for streets and highways as the streets in the Miramonte Townhomes subdivision will be private.  The required street improvements on Los Altos and Vista are in conformance with the street design standards in the Miramonte Handbook.


Environmental and health laws and regulations concerning water and air pollution, the disposal of solid waste, facilities to supply water, community or public sewage disposal and, where applicable, individual systems for sewage disposal were considered.

This application was distributed to the agencies that provide basic services and administrate environmental and health laws including the Nevada Division of Water Resources, Washoe County District Health, State of Nevada Environmental Protection, Truckee Meadows Water Authority, and Washoe County Department of Water Resources.  Staff proposes a condition of approval requiring compliance with the requirements of these agencies including but not limited to addressing the conditions of the Washoe County District Health Department as stated in the letter from Bob Sack, Division Director, Environmental Health Services Division, Washoe County Health District dated March 6, 2017, which has been attached to this Staff Report (Exhibit 5) (Condition 3).


The availability of water which meets applicable health standards and is sufficient in quantity for the reasonably foreseeable needs of the subdivision has been considered.

The developer has estimated the water requirement for the development at 73.8 acre feet per year for domestic water.  The water rights needed to serve the project will ultimately be determined by the Truckee Meadow Water Authority and are either in place or will be dedicated with the final map which is a requirement of State Law (NRS 278.377) and is a proposed condition of approval (Condition 5).


The availability and accessibility of utilities has been considered.


The applicant has estimated the sanitary sewage flows for the development to be 392,000 gallons per day based on the report dated February, 22, 2017, prepared by PLACES Consulting Services.  Because the proposed land use for this property has been in place since 2005, the sewer model that the City developed assumes this level of development and volume of sewage for this location at ultimate buildout.  Staff proposes a condition requiring that the applicant perform a study that provides evidence that there is adequate sewer capacity to serve the project prior to the recordation of a final map (Condition 11).  Staff also proposes conditions that require storm water and drainage plans for the development be reviewed and approved by Engineering Division of the Community Services Department prior to the recordation of the final map for the project (Conditions 7 and 8).


The availability and accessibility of public services such as schools, police protection, transportation, recreation and parks has been considered.


The attached letter from Washoe County Schools (Exhibit 5) indicates that this area is currently zoned for Jerry Whitehead Elementary School, Lou Mendive Middle School, and Edward C. Reed High School.  Based on calculations provided by Washoe County School District, the project could generate approximately 46 students (19 elementary school students, 6 middle school students and 21 high school students).

Based on Washoe County School District estimates, Whitehead Elementary is not yet at capacity (99%) and this project will not cause it to exceed capacity.  Mendive Middle School is also not yet at capacity (98%) and this project will not cause it to exceed capacity. Reed High School has six portable units (12 classrooms) in place to provide temporary space for 300 additional students. This project will increase utilization at Reed High School from 113% to 114%.  High schools convert to double sessions at 120% utilization (per Washoe County School District Policy 6111).


Service will be provided by the Sparks Police Department.


The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) has reviewed this project.  Attached to this Staff Report is their letter (Exhibit 5).  In their letter RTC states that the applicant will be responsible for maintaining the policy Level of Service (LOS) of D along Belmar Drive and Los Altos Parkway.  Maintaining LOS D will require the extension of the left turn pocket for the intersection of Los Altos Parkway and Vista Boulevard to accommodate 400 feet of storage and any other improvements needed along Belmar Drive and Los Altos Parkway necessary to maintain the policy LOS.  The potential improvements needed to maintain LOS D (beyond the extension of the left turn lanes at Los Altos Pkwy and Vista Blvd) are not yet known.  A study associated with final design of Belmar Drive and Los Altos Pkwy will indicate what improvements, if any, are required to maintain LOS D on the affected roads.  This project will contribute to the Regional Road Impact Fee program, a program designed to provide funding for roadway improvements to maintain an adopted level of service.  The value of these fees will be determined with the final design for improvements.


Service will be provided by the Sparks Fire Department.  Fire Station 4 is the nearest fire station to this project.  The project site may not comply with the Sparks Fire Department’s 6-minute response time standard.  Further response time analysis must be submitted with the final map.  If upon further analysis it is determined that this location is not within the 6-minute response time, additional mitigation measures, as reviewed and approved by the Fire Chief, will be required for approval of the final map.


It is anticipated that NV Energy will provide electrical and gas services.  NV Energy was notified of this tentative map application but has not yet responded.  Electric, telephone, and cable services will be extended underground within the roadway right-of-way to serve this development.


The effect of the proposed subdivision on existing public streets and the need for new streets or highways to serve the subdivision has been considered.

The applicant submitted a traffic impact study prepared by Traffic Works with the Tentative Map application.  In the study, the developer’s consultant estimated that the project will generate 2,371 average daily trips with a pm peak hour of 206 trips.  The proposed improvements, as suggested by the study, to the public road network due to the traffic generated by this project is the extension of the left turn lanes at Los Altos and Vista to 400 feet of storage which RTC confirms as a necessary improvement to accommodate the anticipated traffic impact.


The physical characteristics of the land such as floodplain, slope and soil has been considered.


The property is located within FEMA Zone X. Based on the Preliminary Hydrology Report submitted with the tentative map, the project will not be adversely effected by the floodplain nor will it affect properties downstream. The proposed tentative map has been designed in accordance with the appropriate standards and complies with previous studies.


The proposed primary and secondary access roads to the site would cross a sizable ravine that runs along the west side of the site.  The method that the applicant is proposing to cross this ravine is an earthen fill (up to 50 feet) with culverts to convey storm water. Due to the height of the fill needed to cross the ravine, both crossings will be considered dams and will need to be approved by the State Engineer per NRS 535.010.  The City will need to inspect and, possibly, maintain these facilities, as determined by the State Engineer.


The entirety of the Miramonte Planned Development has a great deal of slope.  The handbook contains a slope analysis that addresses this site (Miramonte Handbook pp 4-5 and Exhibit B).  The proposed developed site will occupy approximately 35 acres (21%) of the 165 acre site.  The remainder of the site will remain as undisturbed open space.  This complies with the hillside regulations in the Miramonte handbook which limits the maximum disturbed area to 63 percent of the total area of the Miramonte Planned Development.


A final geotechnical report will be required prior to the issuance of any building permits.  The Sparks Building Official will require that per the Sparks Building Code (2012 IBC § 1803) any recommendations from that report shall be incorporated into the building permits to accommodate for the conditions.


The recommendations and comments of those entities reviewing the tentative map, pursuant to NRS 278.330 to 278.348, inclusive, have been considered.

NRS 278.330-348 requires any tentative map application submitted to the City be made available for review by the Division of Water Resources, the Division of Environmental Protection, and the applicable school district. The City has received comment letters (Exhibit 5) from the following agencies which are attached to this staff report:

  • District Health Department
  • Washoe County School District
  • Regional Transportation Commission


These agencies’ comments and recommendations are discussed in this staff report and/or addressed in the proposed conditions of approval (Exhibit 1).


The availability and accessibility of fire protection, including, but not limited to, the availability and accessibility of water and services for the prevention and containment of fires, including fires in wild lands has been considered.

The project site may not comply with the Sparks Fire Department’s 6-minute response time standard per Comprehensive Plan Policy CF9 (the six minute response time is calculated using GIS street centerline files that we do not have for this project).  As proposed per Condition 6, further analysis must be submitted with the final map.  If upon further analysis it is determined that this location is not within the 6-minute response time, additional mitigation measures, as reviewed and approved by the Fire Chief, will be required for approval of the final map per proposed Condition 14.


The application, as submitted and conditioned, will address identified impacts.

This section identifies project specific issues not discussed above such as:


Staff recommends that the Miramonte Townhomes be required to comply with the landscaping standards for residential developments located in SMC 20.04.006.  A proposed condition on the tentative map would require that final landscape plans be submitted with the final map and approved prior to recordation of the final map (Condition 13).


This project consists of townhomes.  Staff recommends that the architecture be required to comply with the standards for multi-family residential located in SMC 20.02.005.  A proposed condition requires that architectural plans that demonstrate compliance with SMC 20.02.005 be provided prior to approval of the final map (Condition 12).


Staff recommends that this townhome project be required to comply with the amenity and private open space requirements for multi-family development in SMC 20.02.005(3) (Condition 12).


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

Public notice for Tentative and Final Maps is accomplished by posting the agendas for Planning Commission and City Council meetings.  The Planning Commission and the City Council meetings function as the hearings for this item.


City Council can approve the Tentative Map.

City Council can deny the Tentative Map.

Recommended Motion:

I move to approve the Tentative Map for the Miramonte Townhomes associated with PCN17-0011, adopting Findings T1 through T12 and the facts supporting these Findings as set forth in the staff report and subject to the Conditions of Approval 1 through 15 as listed in the staff report.

Attached Files:
     Exh1_Miramonte TownhomesTM Conditions of approval.pdf
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