Can Reno's Growth Be Controlled?

By: Auburn Hutton Email
By: Auburn Hutton Email

In Douglas County, officials plan to control growth by limiting the amount of new homes built. In June, they put a 2% cap on growth.

We asked Reno city officials if they too have a strategy to keep our population from skyrocketing. They say a growth cap is not the answer.

"We don't have caps like that. As long as people want to move here, because it is a nice place to live, we try to manage it in ways we think are succeeding," said Chris Good, with the City of Reno.

In the Spring of 2007, the city of Reno did a survey on 400 residents to see what they think about growth in our region. 70 percent said traffic and commute time is acceptable...62 percent said they like all the new developments...but there are still concerns.

"I do think it's growing too fast for our streets," said Donna Hubble of Reno.

"It's kind of hurt the quality of life here. There's so much traffic, you can hardly drive anywhere anymore," said Tom Etnyre, longtime Reno resident.

When it comes to urban sprawl, you can't make everyone happy. So Reno city planners say they're trying to be smart about it. Plans for building up, and not out are in place, along with creating communities where people can live, work and play all within a few blocks. It's either that, or try to stop growth altogether.

"There are consequences when you do that. Housing prices sometimes increase. You tend to drive away new employers you might be looking for."

Over the past 20 years, Reno's population growth has been fairly steady, about two percent...but in the last five years, that number has gone up a little...even as high as four percent. No one can predict where these numbers will go from here, but the city has begun an assessment as to the type of resources these new residents will need.

"The city is planning far ahead. I mean, we are looking decades ahead in some cases, to make sure we have the adequate infrastructure we need," said Good.

The population of Reno is currently around 215,000, but just seven years ago, the population was only about 180,000. This is the type of rapid growth the City of Reno is preparing for.


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