Sparks City Council Meeting 3/26/2018 2:00:00 PM

    Monday, March 26, 2018 2:00 PM
    Council Chambers, Legislative Bldg., 745 4th St. , Sparks, NV

Planning and Zoning Public Hearings and Action Items: 11.2

Title: PUBLIC HEARING, discussion and possible certification of a Comprehensive Plan amendment to change the land use designation from Open Space (OS) to Commercial (C) on a portion of a site approximately 67.4 acres in size and located at 500 Highland Ranch Parkway, Sparks, NV (PCN17-0035).
Petitioner/Presenter: Bruce Investment Group/401K, Applicant/Karen L. Melby, AICP, Development Services Manager
Recommendation: The City Council certify the amendment.
Financial Impact: The applicant submitted a fiscal impact analysis for this case. The findings are discussed in the Analysis section, under Finding CP2, of this staff report.
Business Impact (Per NRS 237):
A Business Impact Statement is not required because this is not a rule.
Agenda Item Brief:

This agenda item asks the City Council to certify a Comprehensive Plan amendment changing the land use designation from Open Space (OS) to Commercial (C) on a portion of a site comprised of two parcels totaling approximately 67.4 acres in size and located at 500 Highland Ranch Parkway. On November 16, 2017, the Sparks Planning Commission approved this Comprehensive Plan amendment. On January 24, 2018, the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Commission found this Comprehensive Plan amendment in conformance with the Regional Plan.


The subject properties are generally located at the southwest corner of the Pyramid Highway and Highland Ranch Parkway (Refer to Exhibit A – Vicinity Map). The request covers two vacant parcels, 4.97 acres and 62.43 acres in size, totaling 67.4 acres.

This request to amend the Comprehensive Plan is associated with two other requests regarding the subject site for:

  • Approval of an Impact Fee Service Area Number 1 (IFSA #1) Development Agreement; and
  • Rezoning of the entire site from A-40 (Agricultural District) to C2 (General Commercial).

Case History

On September 8, 2016, an annexation petition for the subject parcels was reviewed by the Sparks Planning Commission, which voted to forward a recommendation of denial to Sparks City Council. The City Council approved the annexation petition on October 24, 2016.

On March 13, 2017, the City Council directed staff to negotiate and prepare a development agreement pursuant to NRS 278.0201 concerning the development of the subject parcels (refer to Exhibit B). The intended purpose of the proposed development agreement was to address the timing and any phasing of development, along with the entitlements necessary to develop the properties. The development agreement was also expected to address the possible inclusion of the properties in IFSA #1.

The City Council approved Resolution No. 3304 on December 12, 2016, thereby adopting the capital improvements plan and updated impact fee schedule for IFSA #1. The purpose of the impact fees imposed in IFSA #1 is to require new development to contribute to the cost of additional public facilities needed to meet the added demands on public facilities. The fees contribute to sewer, flood control, parks and recreational and fire station facilities within the boundary of IFSA #1 with the goal of maintaining current levels of service. Inclusion of the subject properties in IFSA #1 would provide a plan and funding mechanism for the provision of public facilities and services to serve development on this site.

Staff received a letter, dated September 21, 2017, from Garrett Gordon, the property owner’s representative, that effectively withdrew the property owner’s request for a development agreement (Refer to Exhibit C).

On October 18, 2017, the owners of the subject property filed a petition with the City to include the subject property within IFSA #1.

On October 19, 2017, the Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the property owner’s requests to amend the Comprehensive Plan land use designation and rezone the property. The Commission continued its consideration of these items to their November 16, 2017 meeting over concerns regarding whether the proposed Comprehensive Plan amendment conforms with Goal 3.5 (the so-called “concurrency” requirement) of the Truckee Meadows Regional Plan. The Commission did so to provide staff and Mr. Gordon time to reach a development agreement, based on the willingness Mr. Gordon expressed to the Commission on behalf of the applicant, to delay development of the subject property until it was included in IFSA #1.

Following discussions between staff and Mr. Gordon, an abbreviated development agreement was prepared as a companion item to the property owner’s Comprehensive Plan amendment and rezoning requests.

On November 16, 2017, the Sparks Planning Commission voted to forward a recommendation of approval to the City Council of the proposed development agreement (See attached Planning Commission Report of Action). At that same meeting, the Planning Commission approved the Comprehensive Plan amendment and voted to forward a recommendation of approval to the City Council of the rezoning request.

On January 24, 2018, the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Commission found the Comprehensive Plan amendment in conformance with the Regional Plan.

On February 27. 2018, the City’s Enterprise Fund Advisory Committee (EFAC) reviewed the proposed Capital Improvements Plan and Updated Fee Schedule for IFSA #1. The proposed updates to the plan and fee schedule provide for the inclusion of the two parcels that are the subject of the Agreement to be included in IFSA #1. The EFAC recommended approval of the updated capital improvements and fee schedule. The next step is for staff to request that the Planning Commission, acting as the Capital Improvements Advisory Committee, review the updated plan and fee schedule and forward a recommendation of approval of the land use assumptions, proposed capital improvements plan and associated fees to the City Council. This action was scheduled for March 15, 2018.


Highland Ranch consists of two parcels totaling 67.4 acres. The property is designated on the Sparks Land Use Map in the Comprehensive Plan as Open Space (OS) and Commercial (C). Of the 67.4 acres, approximately 14 acres are designated Commercial and approximately 53 acres as Open Space (Refer to Exhibit D – Existing Land Use). The applicant is requesting a land use designation of Commercial (C) for the entire site of 67.4 acres (Refer to Exhibit E – Proposed Land Use).


Finding CP1: The proposed Comprehensive Plan amendment would be in conformance with the Regional Plan land use/intensity designation.

The Truckee Meadows Regional Plan Goals and Policies relevant to this project are:

Goal 1.1 Between 2007 and 2030, at least 99% of the region’s population growth and 99% of the region’s jobs growth will be located in the Truckee Meadows Service Areas (TMSA).

The properties are located within the City of Sparks portion of the TMSA.

Goal 2.3 Local governments will review and revise their master plans to include management strategies for areas with natural slopes greater than 15 percent but less than 30 percent.

The applicant has requested a Commercial land use designation on the entire 67.4-acre site. The current land use map has approximately 53 acres designated as Open Space, including at least 31 acres with steep slopes. The Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency (TMRPA) Development Constraints Map designates part of the property as development constrained. The Sparks Comprehensive Plan includes policies, discussed in Finding CP2 below, that will restrict disturbance and development of areas characterized by steep slopes and unique geological features. Hillside development is further regulated by Section 20.04.011 of the Sparks Municipal Code. A slope analysis will be required to further define the developable area before there can be any development on the site.

Goal 3.5 The Regional Plan will coordinate the master plans, facilities plan, and other similar plans of local governments and affected entities to ensure that necessary public facilities and services to support new development are or will be available and adequate at the time the impacts of new development occur (i.e. concurrency).

Regionally, Goal 3.5 has been interpreted to mean that necessary public facilities and services must be in place, or that there must be a plan and a funding mechanism to provide them, concurrent with new development. The City of Sparks has generally sought to provide for concurrency when entitlements such as land use and zoning approvals are granted. The proposed Development Agreement, also scheduled be considered by the City Council on March 26th, stipulates that the site will be incorporated into ISFA #1 prior to any development on the site, allowing for concurrency to be addressed with development of the site.

The fiscal analysis submitted by the applicant indicates an interest in developing the subject properties for commercial and/or multi-family uses. Because the site was only recently annexed (December, 2016), no city infrastructure or services have been extended to serve potential commercial or multi-family uses at this location. The property is located outside of the six-minute response time standard the City has adopted for Fire/First Response service. If the site is included in ISFA #1, its development will contribute toward the costs of a fire station and additional sanitary sewer, storm drainage and park facilities and/or improvements, thus providing a basis for satisfying the concurrency requirement (Refer to FIA Memo7-14).

Finding CP2:    The Comprehensive Plan amendment would implement the goals listed within the Sparks Comprehensive Plan as listed in the staff report.

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

Goal MG1              Support economic vitality by providing a non-residential land use base.                            

Goal MG2              Foster diversity in the land use mix including residential, commercial, industrial, employment and recreational areas citywide.

Policy MG5            When reviewing master plan amendments for sites over 5 acres, the City will evaluate or cause to be evaluated: a) the impacts on existing and planned facilities and infrastructure; b) the impacts on existing and planned public services; c) the proposed land use in relationship to existing land uses; and, d) the fiscal implications for public service providers of the proposed land use changes as documented in a fiscal impact analysis.

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

Policy RC22:          Maintain development restrictions and standards in the Sparks Municipal Code as necessary to conform to policies in the Truckee Meadows Regional Plan pertaining to Development Constraints Areas and for slopes with gradients over 30%.

Policy RC23           Require new developments to preserve and protect significant natural amenities, unique features (e.g. rock outcroppings and drainage ways) and other natural features.

Approval of the rezoning request would support Goals MG1 and MG2 by adding land for non-residential uses. It should be noted, however, that there are approximately 157 acres of undeveloped land with commercial land use and zoning designations within the vicinity of the subject property. In the future, the intersection of Highland Ranch Parkway and Pyramid Way may develop as a commercial node in the Spanish Springs valley.  

Review of Comprehensive Plan amendments, per Policy MG5, requires a fiscal impact analysis. The applicant submitted a letter dated July 14, 2017 to update the full analysis dated June 6, 2017. The analysis estimates that approximately 36 acres of the 67.4 acres are developable. The actual developable area would be determined after a slope analysis per SMC 20.04.011.

Per the applicant’s fiscal analysis, under Scenario 1 (36 acres of general commercial uses) the estimated cost to the City of Sparks for serving the subject properties is $2,196,506 through 2036.  The estimated revenue through 2036 is $4,812,955, producing a projected net surplus of $2,616,449.

The fiscal impact analysis included a Scenario 2 (200-unit apartment complex and 110,000 square feet of self-storage facility). The analysis estimates the cost to the City of Sparks to provide services under this scenario to be $6,152,065 through 2036. The estimated revenue to the City is $7,063,590 for a projected net surplus of $911,525.

The fiscal impact analysis assumes that any streets, gutters, curbs and sidewalks will be privately owned. In the proposed development agreement that is a companion item to this request, the property owners and the City recognize and agree on this assumption and acknowledge that nothing in the development agreement requires or obligates the City to accept dedication of any streets, gutters, curbs and/or sidewalks on the subject property.

If the subject parcels are eventually included in IFSA #1, development of the site will contribute to the construction of a fire station to serve the area and storm drain, sewer and parks improvements. Provided the development agreement is approved, it is staff’s view that the requested Comprehensive Plan land use amendment supports Goal MG5 and Policy CF1.

Policies RC22 and RC23 require that new development provide for the protection of natural features such as steep slopes. Section 20.04.011 of the Sparks Municipal Code regulates project sites over 10 acres with slope gradients of 10 percent or greater over 25 percent or more of the site. This section of the code requires that the site be analyzed to identify the maximum allowable disturbed area by slope categories. The required analysis will determine the total area that can be disturbed on the site. Any development on the subject site must comply with Section 20.04.011 of the Sparks Municipal Code.

Finding CP3: The Comprehensive Plan Amendment would be compatible with surrounding land uses.

The surrounding land uses and zoning are summarized in the following table:




Land Use / Zoning




Open Space (OS), Employment (E) and Commercial (C) / Washoe County (GR)




Open Space (OS)/ Washoe County (OS)




Commercial (C)/ NUD (New Urban District – Kiley Ranch North Planned Development)




Open Space (OS)/Lands Owned by the United States of America and designated by Washoe County as OS


The Highland Ranch parcels are located on the western side of the Pyramid Highway. The Kiley Ranch North Planned Development on the east side of the Pyramid Highway has 157 acres designated commercial, including a site for a proposed hospital. None of the commercial uses planned for Kiley Ranch North have been developed to date. The areas to the north and west are vacant lands with steep slopes. The subject site and the property to the north have formerly been mined for aggregate. The proposed commercial land use on the subject properties will be compatible with the surrounding land uses.

FINDING CP4: Public notice was given and a public hearing held per the requirements of Nevada Revised Statutes and Sparks Municipal Code.

Public notice was published in the Reno Gazette-Journal on October 6, 2017. The Planning Commission and City Council meetings function as public hearings for this matter as required by the Nevada Revised Statutes and Sparks Municipal Code.

The neighborhood meeting required by NRS 278.210.2 for the proposed Comprehensive Plan land use amendment was conducted by the applicant’s representative on October 11, 2017. Three people attended the meeting. The applicant’s representative presented the Comprehensive Plan land use amendment and the rezoning request. Those in attendance did not have any specific concerns over the requests and expressed interest regarding future development in the area. 

  1. The City Council can certify the Comprehensive Plan amendment to change the land use designation on a portion of the subject site from Open Space (OS) to Commercial (C).
  2. The City Council can remand the Comprehensive Plan amendment to the Planning Commission.

Recommended Motion:

I move to certify the Comprehensive Plan amendment to change the land use designation from Open Space (OS) to Commercial (C) on a portion of a site approximately 67.4 acres in size and located at 500 Highland Ranch Parkway, Sparks, NV, based on Findings CP1 through CP4 as set forth in the staff report.

Attached Files:
     01 - Exh A VicinityMap.pdf
     02 - Exh B and C-City Clerk Ltr and Correspondence.pdf
     03 - Exh D and E Existing Land Use and Proposed Land Use.pdf
     Planning Commission Report of Action.pdf
     05 - FIA Memo 7-17.pdf
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