Sparks City Council Meeting 9/14/2020 2:00:00 PM

Meeting Link:
Meeting Dial-in #: 669-900-6833 Meeting ID: 967 1206 9902

General Business: 9.14

Title: First Reading of Bill 2777 to amend the final approved plan for the Legends at Sparks Marina, revising sign standards for movie theaters and other matters related thereto, for a site approximately 148 acres in size generally located north of I-80, south of Prater Way, and west of Sparks Boulevard, Sparks, Nevada in the NUD (New Urban District – Legends at Sparks Marina) zoning district. (PCN20-0025/PD20-0005)
Petitioner/Presenter: RED Sparks SPE, LLC/Dani Wray, Planner II
Recommendation: Instruct the City Clerk to read the Bill by title and set the date for the public hearing and second reading.
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 to amend the Planned Development Handbook for the Legends at Sparks Marina to modify development standards for movie theater signs. The amendment codifies the as-built condition of the signage for the movie theatre. On August 6, 2020, the Sparks Planning Commission voted to forward a recommendation of approval to the City Council for the proposed amendment.


This is a request to amend the Planned Development Handbook, Legends at Sparks Marina, Destination Retail Development (Handbook) development standards related to signs for movie theaters and related matters. This is a “clean-up” item to rectify a procedural error in the original approval of the sign modifications.

The site is generally located northwest of the Sparks Boulevard/Interstate 80 interchange and east of Sparks Marina Park in Sparks, Nevada on an approximately 148 + acre site in the NUD (New Urban District – The Legends at Sparks Marina) zoning district (Exhibit 3 – Vicinity Map).

The City Council originally approved the Handbook as PCN06028 in 2006 and most recently amended the Handbook in April of 2020, revising development standards for buffer walls, hotel parking, and other related matters.

Prior to recording amended handbooks approved by City Council, staff conducts a final review to ensure all modifications have been accurately incorporated. Following approval of the April 2020 amendment to the Handbook, staff and the property owner’s legal representative identified a discrepancy between the owner’s version of the Handbook and the City’s history of approved Handbook amendments. The owner’s records reflected modifications to the development standards for movie theater signs. However, the City’s records do not reflect that an application for modifications to movie theatre sign standards was submitted, that public hearings were held to approve the modifications, or that such modifications were approved or recorded. 

While the proposed modifications to the Handbook’s movie theater sign regulations were not formally approved, movie theater signs were installed consistent with those proposed sign standards. The City’s building permit records reflect the following:

  • A building permit application for movie theater signs was filed on January 6, 2014, and approved by the Planning Division on January 28, 2014; and
  • The building permit was issued and finally approved on July 19, 2016.

In addition, the modifications to movie theater sign standards proposed with this request were inadvertently included in the latest approved version of the Handbook. Although the proposed changes were included in the document that was approved on April 13, 2020, those modifications were not properly considered and noticed, and therefore must be considered by both the Planning Commission and the City Council in public hearings.


This request is to amend the final approved plan (the Handbook) for the Legends at Sparks Marina. The proposed amendments modify movie theater sign standards and change the regulating authority from the Sparks Municipal Code to the Handbook.

Currently, the movie theater sign requirements in Chapter 2, Section VIII: Signs in the Handbook are based on sign standards for the (TC) Tourist Commercial zoning district. The proposed amendment eliminates the application of the TC sign regulations for movie theater signs located outside the interior mall area of the Legends shopping center and modifies the movie theatre sign standards as follows (Exhibit B to Ordinance – Legends at Sparks Marina Handbook):

7. Movie Theater Signs

Movie theater building signs located within the shopping center plaza, and free-standing and monument signs located anywhere in the development, shall be subject to the requirements of the Planned Development Handbook.  Theater signs located outside of the shopping center plaza shall be subject to the criteria as outlined in the Planned Development Handbook.

The existing standard for all IMAX wall signs allows for internally illuminated letters three feet in height and 17 feet in length. The proposed modifications allow for one IMAX wall sign with internally illuminated letters nine feet in height and 45 feet and six inches in length. This reflects the as-built condition of the IMAX movie theater signs. The addition of two canopy signs is also proposed to reflect the as-built condition of the site.

SMC 20.02.012(G), Modification of Final Approved Plan, outlines the requirements for amending a final planned development handbook.

Findings for Modification of Final Approved Plan

SMC 20.02.012(G)(6) includes ten findings that the Planning Commission and City Council must consider when reviewing a proposed modification of a final approved plan for a planned development. Those findings are discussed below.

PDa:  The amendment is consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Truckee Meadows Regional Plan and otherwise consistent with Nevada and federal law.

The Comprehensive Plan Goals and Policies relevant to the Handbook amendment are:

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

Goal CC1:                 Ensure that Sparks’ physical environment, services and amenities make it a city of choice for residents and businesses.

Policy EV2:               Enhance Sparks’ appeal to visitors to the region by strengthening arts and entertainments offerings.

Goal EV4:                 Maintain a physical and regulatory environment that facilitates innovation, entrepreneurship and small business development while providing for long-term environmental and regulatory changes.

The requested modifications to the section of the Handbook regarding movie theater signs clarify the types and dimensions of allowed signage. As proposed, the modifications provide for IMAX movie theater signage that reflects the value of the theater as an attraction for both local residents and visitors, supporting Goal CC1 and Policy EV2. The modifications also provide a placemaking design element particular to the Legends commercial and entertainment development in support of Goal MG2 and provide an incentive to retain the existing movie theater attraction in support of Goal EV4.

PDb:  The amendment is consistent with the surrounding land uses.

The proposed amendments to the Handbook do not change the types of land uses permitted within Legends Planned Development, only certain development standards related to movie theater signs, and only in a manner that brings the Handbook in line with the as-built condition of the signs. Therefore, this amendment does not adversely impact surrounding land uses.

PDc:  Will be fiscally positive to the City for a period of at least 20 years if the site affected by the modification, removal or release is 20 or more acres and the modification, removal, or release involves permitted uses, residential density, or nonresidential density.

A fiscal analysis was not required with this amendment because there are no proposed changes to densities or types of land uses.

PDd:  Furthers the mutual interest of the residents and owners upon the provisions of the plan.

As discussed in Finding A above, the proposed modifications to movie theatre sign standards serve as a placemaking element, identifying the movie theater within the Legends development, and will not adversely affect adjacent residential uses.

Pde:  Will not impair the reasonable reliance of the residents and owners upon the provisions of the plan.

There are no proposed changes to the land uses permitted by the Handbook, and the proposed amendment brings the Handbook into conformance with the current condition of the site.

PDf:  Will not result in changes that would adversely affect the public interest.

The public interest is served by the modifications to movie theater signs as they provide a recognizable and easily seen placemaking device for a key attraction within the Legends development, and the signs have been completed in conformance with the proposed Handbook.

PDg:  Is consistent with the efficient development and preservation of the entire planned development.

As the only proposed changes to the Handbook are to movie theater sign standards, the efficient development and preservation of the entire planned development are not affected.

PDh:  Does not adversely affect either the enjoyment of land abutting upon or across a street from the planned unit development or the public interest.

Modifying the movie theater sign standards to permit the existing signs supports a placemaking element for the planned development. The proposed modifications do not impact adjacent uses and will permit the continued use of the existing signs, which were approved by the City through the building permit process.

PDi:  Is not granted solely to confer a private benefit upon any person.

The movie theater signs serve the entire planned development and the public by providing for easy identification of an important tenant of the Legends shopping center, so the amendments do not confer a private benefit upon any person.

PDj:  Public notice was given and a public hearing held as required by the Sparks Municipal Code and Nevada Revised Statutes.

Public notice was given as required by the Sparks Municipal Code and Nevada Revised Statutes. The Planning Commission and City Council meetings function as the public hearings for this item. This request was noticed, at a minimum, to all property owners within the Legends Planned Development and within 750 feet of the Legends Planned Development boundary. A total of 107 notices were mailed to property owners on July 22, 2020. Public notice was also published in the Reno Gazette Journal on July 23, 2020. 


This is the first reading of the ordinance to rezone the subject property. Alternatives are not necessary.

Recommended Motion:

  This is a first reading. No motion is required.

Attached Files:
     01 - Planned Development Ordinance with Exh A & B.pdf
     02 - PCN20-0025 Report of PC Action.pdf
     03 - PCN20-0025 Legends VicinityMap.pdf
     04 - Owner Handbook Copy.pdf
     05 - Legends at Sparks Marina Handbook.pdf
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