Sparks City Council Meeting 11/13/2017 2:00:00 PM

    Monday, November 13, 2017 2:00 PM
    Council Chambers, Legislative Bldg, 745 4th St., Sparks, NV

General Business: 9.7

Title: First Reading of Bill No. 2728, a general ordinance rezoning a site 7.72 acres in size from PD (Planned Development – The Vistas) to MF2/PD (Residential Multi-family) located at 2255 S. Los Altos Parkway, Sparks, NV. (FOR POSSIBLE ACTION)
Petitioner/Presenter: Mike Master, Landstar Companies/Jim Rundle, Planning Manager
Recommendation: This is a first reading of the bill. No action is required.
Financial Impact: N/A
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 Landstar Companies to rezone a site approximately 7.72 acres in size from PD (Planned Development – The Vistas) to MF2 (Residential Multi-Family).  This rezoning request is in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan and the Planned Development Handbook has designated this location for multi-family development since 1988.  The site is located in the Vistas, a mature Planned Development.  There was substantial public comment on this item, all of which was in opposition to the request.  On August 3, 2017, the Sparks Planning Commission voted to forward a recommendation of denial to the Sparks City Council (Exhibit – Planning Commission Report of Action).


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

This site was designated as Vista Village East at that time (Exhibit 4, Pages 1 and 2).  Vista Village East is described (Exhibit 5, Page 2)  in the Vistas Planned Development 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, Page 1) is described in the Vistas Planned Development 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, and 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.

Taken together, these descriptions expressly provide for this site to be developed as a multi-family project.

At the August 3, 2017 Planning Commission Meeting, there was significant public comment in opposition to this rezoning request. A total of 84 people were documented as being opposed to the rezoning, 27 of which spoke on the matter.  The remaining 57 had their names read into the record as being in opposition.   


The 7.72 acre site has been designated for multi-family development since 1988, when the Vistas Planned Development Handbook was approved.  The Vistas Planned Development Handbook requires that as areas become ready for development they be rezoned appropriately for the development that is called for in the handbook (Exhibit 8).

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.  In a later case (Z-8-91) it was determined that this zoning did not extend to all of the site.  Previous to the approval of Z-8-91, areas in The Vistas brought forward for entitlement were rezoned to R-1-15/PUD at a variety of densities (Exhibit 6), 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 has been updated.  This resulted in the SF-15/PUD zoning that exists on the west side of the Vistas (Exhibit 7).  The SF-15 zoning district only allows 3 dwelling units per acre but the PUD suffix means that the standards from the Vistas Planned Development Handbook apply and allow higher densities.

Beginning with Z-8-91, areas ready for development were rezoned to PD and became developable under the regulation of the Vistas Planned Development Handbook. The handbook provides detailed single family development standards but no development standards for multi-family.  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 district, as required on page 26 of the handbook (Exhibit 8), will provide the needed development standards.  

This area was designated for multi-family development (Exhibit 4) at a density of 12 units per acre (Exhibit 5).  Per the current Title 20, the multi-family zoning district that will accommodate that density of development is MF2.  The request to change the zoning of this site to MF2/PD would be consistent with past practices and helps to identify that this property would still be a part of the Vistas Planned Development.

The site has a Comprehensive Plan Land Use designation of MF14 (Multi-Family Residential), which allows densities from 10 to less than 14 units per acre.  This request to change the zoning to MF2/PD is in conformance with the MF14 Land Use designation (Exhibit 9).

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

The development plan for The Vistas designated other multi-family developments near or adjacent to this site.  Those other multi-family site were developed, contrary to this designation, as single family subdivisions. Staff was not able to find any language in the handbook which allows for this reduction in density.  Research on the case history for the other sites that were designated multi-family in the handbook but were developed as single-family has not clarified why the handbook’s multi-family designation was not followed.

Prior to the August 3rd Planning Commission meeting, City staff received 12 phone calls and numerous emails and letters from the public in opposition to this rezoning request.  A copy of the emails and letters attached as Exhibit 15.

City staff met with the homeowner’s association for The Vistas on June 26th to discuss the zone change request. Their initial concern was that rezoning the parcel to MF2 would pull the parcel out of the Vistas Planned Development. They also asked why the applicant was having to rezone the property.  Staff explained it is a requirement of the planned development handbook. The homeowner association’s other concerns were about the traffic impacts that a multi-family project could potentially generate, that two story buildings would block views, and having multi-family development in the middle of a single-family area.

The applicant is requesting this rezoning to MF2/PD in order to develop this property as a multi-family project in compliance with the multi-family land use designation contained in the handbook.  Staff recommended approval of this request to the Planning Commission.  However, after hearing substantial citizen testimony in opposition to the rezoning request during public comment, the Planning Commission voted to forward a recommendation of denial to the City Council, citing an inability to make finding Z2. 

The legal description is attached as Exhibit 10, Pages 1 and 2, and the list of corporate officers for the applicant and the property owner are attached as Exhibit 11, Pages 1-9.  The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) was the only outside agency that responded to the City’s request for comments by affected agencies.  RTC’s response letter stated that they did not have any comments or concerns at this time (Exhibit 12).  The entire application for this request is also attached as Exhibit 13.



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


  1. The Comprehensive Plan Land Use designation for the site is MF14 (Multi-Family Residential) which allows residential densities between 10 and less than 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 with the Comprehensive Plan because MF2 is a permitted zoning district in the MF14 land use.
  1. 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 in The Vistas Planned Development Handbook for multi-family development since the handbook was adopted in 1988.

The presence of multi-family adjacent to single-family is a common occurrence, and in this case, has been anticipated since 1988.  Rezoning this site to MF2/PUD is also consistent with the MF14 Comprehensive Plan Land Use designation and Goal H1 and Policies H1 and H2 of the Comprehensive Plan.

A memo from the City Engineer addressing the adequacy of City infrastructure that will serve this site is attached as Exhibit 16 (and attachments) to demonstrate compliance with Policy CF1 of the 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.  By approving The Vistas Planned Development Handbook, a previous City Council determined that single family and multi-family uses were compatible, as reflected by their adjacency on the development map (Exhibit 4).  Possible impacts to adjacent single-family properties, streets, and infrastructure from the proposed MF2/PUD properties would be addressed during the Administrative Review process required by the Sparks Municipal Code for new multi-family projects.

Many planned developments in Sparks have multi-family adjacent to single-family residential. 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.  The subject site is primarily adjacent to open space that will set back the multi-family from the surrounding properties. 

However, the Planning Commission felt that the location of this site, in a mature single-family planned development, was not consistent with the surrounding uses.  Accordingly, the Planning Commission cited an inability to make finding Z2 as the basis for recommending denial to the City Council of this rezoning request.


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 July 20, 2017 and notices were mailed to all property owners within 750 feet of the subject property (269 notices) on July 19, 2017 (Exhibit 14). The Planning Commission and the City Council meetings function as the public hearings for this item.



This is a first reading

Recommended Motion:

This is a first reading. No motion is required.

Attached Files:
     Exh A & B to Ordinance_LegalDescription.pdf
     PCN17-0032 Report of Action.pdf
     Exhibits 1-16.pdf
     Bill 2728 PCN17-0032_Rezone_Ordinanc Vistas 7.72 Ac.pdf
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