Sparks City Council Meeting 2/24/2020 2:00:00 PM

    Monday, February 24, 2020 2:00 PM
    Council Chambers, Legislative Bldg, 745 4th Street, Sparks, NV

Planning and Zoning Public Hearings and Action Items: 11.1

Title: SECOND READING, Public Hearing, discussion and possible adoption of Bill 2772 to amend Title 20 of the Sparks Municipal Code to revise definitions and the map, permitted uses, and sign standards for the MUD (Mixed-Use District) zoning district (CA-3-19).
Petitioner/Presenter: City of Sparks/Jim Rundle, Planning Manager
Recommendation: The Planning Commission recommends that City Council approve the Code Amendment (CA-3-19) to Title 20 of the Sparks Municipal Code to revise definitions and the map, permitted uses, and sign standards for the MUD (Mixed-Use District) zoning district.
Financial Impact: No direct financial cost.
Business Impact (Per NRS 237):
A Business Impact Statement is not required because this is not a rule.
Agenda Item Brief:

At the October 14 and November 12, 2019 City Council meetings, the City Council directed the City Manager to prepare amendments to Title 20 of the Sparks Municipal Code, which governs zoning and development, to allow tattoo parlors in more locations and modify permitted uses and sign standards for the MUD (Mixed-Use District). The amendments to Title 20 proposed by this agenda item would revise definitions, permit tattoo parlors in additional zoning districts, and change permitted uses, including adding select auto-oriented uses and fulfillment centers. The proposed amendments would also clarify the land use map and revise parking and signage standards for the MUD zoning district.


In 2011, the City of Sparks undertook a comprehensive revision of Title 20 of the Sparks Municipal Code, which governs zoning and development (Title 20). Title 20 regulates the use and improvement of land including the location, soundness, and use of structures.

In 2015, after numerous workshops and stakeholder meetings, the Planning Commission recommended approval of the new code and the City Council approved the ordinance adopting the new zoning code.

The City has been using the amended Title 20 for over four years and continues to refine and consider modifications to this document. These refinements allow the zoning code to evolve over time to address new issues and land use circumstances and trends as they emerge.

The amendments to Title 20 proposed by this agenda item would revise definitions and permitted uses and parking and signage standards for the MUD (Mixed-Use District) zoning district. The City Council directed staff to prepare these proposed amendments during their meetings on October 14 and November 12, 2019. Specifically, staff received direction to consider potential amendments to allow automotive-oriented uses and internet sales uses in the MUD and tattoo parlors in additional zoning districts.

The Planning Commission unanimously forwarded a recommendation of approval to the City Council at its January 16, 2020 meeting.  


The heart of Title 20 is the Use Table (Section 20.02.013). As discussed in the Background section, staff was directed by the City Council to prepare Title 20 amendments to permit additional auto-oriented uses in the Mixed-Use District (MUD), formerly the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) district. When TOD development standards were originally adopted in July of 2009, there was a concerted effort to limit the number of auto-oriented uses in the corridor. As a result, auto-oriented businesses that pre-dated the TOD district became non-conforming uses.

While the City’s master plan for density and intensity in this corridor is increasingly coming to fruition, the demand for certain auto-oriented uses endures. In order to allow such businesses to continue serving the growing number of residents in the MUD corridor, this amendment proposes the addition of “Auto Repair (light)” and “Car Wash” as permitted uses, subject to approval a Conditional Use Permit (CUP), in the Mixed-Use Commercial portion of the MUD zoning district (see Exhibit E). Auto Repair (light) allows replacement of filters, fluids, and tires; emissions testing; and similar activities. Auto Repair (light) does not allow auto body work. Staff proposes that these two uses be permitted subject to a CUP to provide the Planning Commission the opportunity to evaluate specific project proposals, particularly when a site is located in proximity to residential uses, and add  mitigation measures as conditions of approval if necessary to enhance the compatibility of the use with the surrounding properties. Notably, the Auto Repair (light) and Car Wash uses are currently permitted in the C2 (General Commercial) and C1 (Neighborhood Commercial) zoning districts by CUP. This proposed amendment would not permit heavy auto repair or vehicle sales, which are currently limited to the I (Industrial) zoning district.

Another proposed change to the Use Table is the addition of “Auto Detail” as a specific permitted use. Auto detailing is currently included in the Car Wash use designation. However, the uses are different in terms of noise, hours of operation, and general intensity. Auto detailing is typically done by hand, as opposed to the automated equipment used at most car washes. Auto detailing businesses tend to operate during typical business hours while car washes often operate into the evening or even as 24-hour operations. Accordingly, staff proposes splitting Auto Detail from Car Wash and permitting the former in the MUD/MUC, C1, C2, and I zoning districts, as reflected in the Use Table (Exhibit E, page 5). A definition for Auto Detail has been added to Section 20.08.002, Definitions, (Exhibit H, page 4). Staff views auto detailing as similar in intensity to Auto Repair (light) as this use could include vehicle bays within a building; a parking standard of one parking space per 500 square feet of floor area is therefore proposed for the Auto Detail use, as reflected on page five of Exhibit F.

This proposed amendment also includes changes to the map found in Section 20.02.006, which depicts the different land use designations within the MUD zoning district. The revised map identifies four areas that are zoned PD (Planned Development), which are outlined by blue lines and labeled by name in blue text:  Sierra Crest Apartments, Marina Village, Marina Landing, and the Legends at Sparks Marina. While the map reflects the underlying Comprehensive Plan land use designations, these four planned developments are governed by the standards in their respective handbooks, not the MUD standards. The revised map is intended to alert users of Title 20 of the need to consult the handbooks for these planned developments to determine permitted uses and applicable design standards. This amendment is depicted in Exhibit D.

This set of proposed amendments to Title 20 also reflect City Council’s direction to staff to prepare changes to Title 20 to permit tattoo parlors in additional zoning districts.

The proposed changes to Title 20 would permit tattoo parlors in additional zoning districts by removing “Tattoo Parlors” as a separate use in the Use Table and including tattoo parlors in the definition of Personal Services. This change would permit tattoo parlors to be established in the MUD-MR (Mixed-Use Residential), MUD-DT/VS (Mixed-Use Downtown/Victorian Square), C1 (Neighborhood Commercial), PO (Professional Office), and I (Industrial, subject to locational criteria) zoning districts. This would be in addition to the MUD/MUC, C2, and TC districts where tattoo parlors are currently permitted.

As currently defined in Section 20.08.002 of Title 20, Personal Services includes numerous uses including beauty shops, laundries, tailors, dry cleaners, nail salons, pet groomers, and massage establishments. A beauty shop can offer “permanent makeup” and, notably, the Washoe County Health District (WCHD) does not differentiate between establishments providing tattoos and those that offer permanent makeup because the WCHD categorizes both procedures as “invasive body decoration.” Reflecting this approach, staff drafted changes to the definitions of Personal Services (Exhibit H, page 22) and Tattoo Parlor (Exhibit H, page 30) in Section 20.08.002. Tattoo Parlor as a separate use would also be stricken from the Use Table (Exhibit E, page 5). Exhibit B illustrates the areas within the city of Sparks where Personal Services are currently permitted and, thus, where tattoo parlors are proposed to be allowed.

On December 19, 2019, Sparks staff conducted a public meeting to solicit input on these proposed zoning regulations from Sparks businesses licensed to operate tattoo parlors. Staff mailed notices to eight such businesses. Unfortunately, no members of the public attended (Exhibit C). 

Section 20.08.002 of Title 20 currently includes a definition of “Fulfillment Center” but also includes fulfillment center in the definition for “Wholesale Distribution, Warehousing and Storage.” The Use Table includes Wholesale Distribution, Warehousing and Storage but not Fulfillment Center, resulting in the latter only being permitted where the former is allowed, which is currently limited to the I (Industrial) zoning district. With this amendment, staff is proposing to split Fulfillment Center from the definition of Wholesale Distribution, Warehousing and Storage and identify Fulfillment Center as a separate permitted use under the broader category of Retail Sales (Exhibit H, pages 13 and 33). According to the proposed Use Table, Fulfillment Centers would be allowed in the MUD/MUC and I zoning districts (Exhibit E, page 5).

The proposed changes to Title 20 would clarify the definition of Warehousing, Distribution and Storage to more clearly identify that the intended use is for storage of goods to be transferred to and sold by another entity. A Fulfillment Center would allow goods to be packaged, sold, and shipped to a retail customer.

For the Fulfillment Center use, staff reviewed several parking standards. The Institute of Transportation Engineers Parking Generation Manual indicates that an average rate of peak parking demand for warehousing and/or distribution uses is 0.39 vehicles per 1,000 square feet of gross floor area (GFA), or one per 2,564 square feet of GFA. The American Planning Association’s Parking Standards range from one space per 700 square feet to one space per 2,000 square feet of GFA. Additionally, parking standards may be based on the number of employees. However, this would obligate the City to track the number of employees at a site, which would be difficult because number of employees is typically not information the City requests as part of a land use application. The City’s own parking requirement for Warehousing and Distribution is one space per 2,000 square feet of GFA. Fulfillment Centers also have a significant accessory office use, which has a parking standard of one space per 800 square feet of GFA. Based on this research, staff is recommending a parking ratio for Fulfillment Centers of one space per 1,000 square feet of GFA.

Finally, the proposed amendments would revise the sign standards in the MUD to reinstate a tool certain parcels had been provided previously that was removed by the adoption of the MUD zoning district. In 2003, the City of Sparks approved an In and Out Burger restaurant at the corner of Pyramid Way and Victorian Avenue. In response to the applicant’s request for a sign that would be highly visible from Interstate 80, the City Council amended the City’s sign ordinance to permit taller signs than were otherwise allowed in the TC (Tourist Commercial) zoning district on sites that met certain criteria, including but not limited to an orientation to Interstate 80. These signs are identified as “Gateway Signs” in Section 20.04.010(I)(7). When the TOD zoning district (now the MUD district) was subsequently adopted, the City rezoned certain parcels from TC to TOD. This removed the ability of certain parcels to construct gateway signs similarly to the height of the In and Out Burger sign. The amendments to Section 20.04.010 (Exhibit G) would restore this ability for sites that previously had this opportunity. The proposed changes would also permit a gateway sign to include a digital display.

Additionally, staff used this opportunity to amend Section 20.04.010 to provide greater consistency in Title 20 by removing “see SMC” references (for example, by adding a definition of a Freestanding sign (Exhibit G, page 4)) and making grammatical corrections.  

  1. Council can adopt Bill 2772 for approval of CA-3-19 as presented.
  2. Council can modify Bill 2772 and approve CA-3-19 with modifications.
  3. Council can reject CA-3-19.

Recommended Motion:

I move to adopt Bill No. 2772 amending Title 20 of the Sparks Municipal Code to revise definitions and the map, permitted uses, and sign standards for the MUD (Mixed-Use District) zoning district. (CA-3-19).

Attached Files:
     01 - Ordinance and Exhibit 1.pdf
     03 - Exhibit 3- Neighborhood Meeting.pdf
     04 - Exhibit 4- MUD Map.pdf
     05 - CA-3-19 Report of PC Action.pdf
     02 - Exhibit 2 Tattoo Parlor Map.pdf
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