YMCA vs. Homeowners in Property Fight

By: Kara Tsuboi
By: Kara Tsuboi

On Tuesday, people living in the Westfield Village subdivision received a packet of information in the mail from the YMCA.

It's asking homeowners to deed away a portion of YMCA land that happens to be included in the original subdivision plan from 60 years ago.

"Back in 1946, the people who built the village created these covenants, these ordinances that would protect future developers from encroaching on the charm of our village," says homeowner Kathleen MacDonald.

She and other neighbors are concerned that when the YMCA vacates their land on Foster Drive for other locations, signing off on the CC&Rs gives the OK to multi-story, high-density townhouses or condos.

"The people of Westfield Village are here because of the charm of the neighborhood and we feel collectively that something that would tower over our village is not in keeping with thy we moved here in the first place. We're concerned about the impact it's going to have on traffic, crime and school zones."

Included in the packet homeowners received from the YMCA, was an architectural sketch from West Haven Development Group -- a prospective buyer -- for the Foster Drive property, confirming homeowners' fears.

No one from the Reno-based company was willing to talk on camera, but a press release states they'd be single family, detached homes, two to two and a half stories. No condos, no townhomes.

Westfield Village homeowners aren't buying it.

"What they're talking about doing is developing this property behind here, literally right up to the lot lin, which is basically 16 feet behind this yard. These townhouses, if you will, or condos they're going to build are going to be multi-story, looking down on the backyard or these homes."

Geoff Wise, who grew up in this Westfield Avenue house, says OK'ing the YMCA's request could send a message that the neighborhood is soft on regulation.

"To change these restrictions for one person allows the next guy to come along and say, "I would like to develop my property in a lawyer's office." That doesn't need to happen. This is a nice little neighborhood and should remain that."

Mark Liske, the YMCA CEO refused to speak on camera, but told us that if homeowners would agree to release the property from the CC&Rs, the Y could sell the land for the highest value.

The Public Relations company that represents both the YMCA and West Haven Development Group is working to arrange on-camera interviews with both CEOs. News Channel 8 will bring you that story as soon as possible.


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