Not-So-Charming Plan For One Of Reno's Oldest Neighborhoods

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The restructuring of a 20-year-old neighborhood plan has a group of Southwest Reno residents banding together to oppose city planners. The old "Newlands Neighborhood," within the borders of California and Arlington near downtown, is the area in question. Community development leaders want to update the neighborhood plan, which would include the rezoning of a few properties, but neighbors don't want to see any changes.

There's no doubt that Reno's old Southwest is filled with all the charm of any historic neighborhood. Giant trees, big front porches and brick homes are just a few reasons neighbors say they love it here.

"I love the neighborhood. I love the old trees. I love the community. I know all my neighbors. I talk to all my neighbors. We look out for each other.: said Desiree Misanko-Louvat, who has lived in the neighborhood over ten years.

After hearing word of the city's intention to update a two-decade old Neighborhood Plan, residents say they were less than pleased. Ted Schroeder is president of the Newlands Neighborhood Association, and a strong advocate for preserving the old charm.

"I've lived at 619 Marsh Avenue for 35 years. My children were raised here. Over the years, we've been faced with offices and commercial interest that would like to get a toehold in our neighborhood and we've been able to fight those interests off," said Schroeder.

Claudia Hanson with Reno's Community Development team says residents may be over reacting. She says changes to zoning would only include converting five properties on California Avenue. One would be designated for single-family housing, and two others would be zoned for commercial use. Two additional units on the edge of the Newlands Neighborhood would be re-designated as "mixed use."

"A lot of the information in there is out of date and we are tying to bring it to current terms. We are not trying to increase offices in the area. We are trying to maintain the residential area where it is and the office area where it is," Claudia Hanson\Deputy Director, Community Development - Planning.

Hanson says the original neighborhood plan was adopted in 1988...20 years ago, so she says changes are long overdue.

But residents who live in the Newlands area disagree. They think if they give the city an inch, they'll eventually want a mile...and furthermore, neighbors say the 20-year-old plan seems to be working just fine.

"We don't want any encroachment. We don't need any help. We're having fun. We're enjoying where we are. As somebody else said, just leave us alone," said Schroeder.

Neighbors say they are also very concerned about wasting tax dollars. Community development leaders say changing the Newlands Neighborhood plan will cost the city around $30,000. Residents say that money could be better spent elsewhere.

Community Development leaders met with residents Tuesday night at City Hall. They planned to discuss the plan in detail with local residents and hear public comment.