Plan for Apartment Complex in Spanish Springs Moves Forward

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RENO, NV -- A rural neighborhood has earned praise for its efforts to fight an unwanted zoning change, but that praise did not turn into votes, as Washoe County commissioners overwhelmingly ignored their pleas and sided with a developer.

It's a controversial issue that has residents in Spanish Springs outraged. The vote was three to one, which means the Master Plan amendment can now go through the Regional Planning Commission before the new development can be built.

They're debating more than 40 acres of land near Calle de la Plata and east of Pyramid Highway. A developer wants to build an apartment complex, but residents say it will bring bad news into the community.

More than 70 Spanish Springs residents went to a Tuesday night meeting to voice their opposition, only to come out disappointed. Matthew Chutter, who has lived in Spanish Springs for six years, says he just wants full disclosure from the developer.

"Before you do something, you have to be planning for that change and that's not occurring, they're just assuming that the proper accommodations will be made once the project will be in place," he said.

Increased traffic, overpopulation and crime are just some of the things they're worried the apartments would bring.

"All of these things are real problems and nothing is being talked about specifically, how they're going to be addressed before this project goes forward."

What residents do know is this one development could bring as many as 360 apartments to this rural section of Spanish Springs. It would make it an island of urban landscape, far away from anything else like it.

"I believe we need to have this kind of mixed use throughout all our valleys so that we can ensure people can live and work in the same place."

On the other hand, County Commissioner Vaughn Hartung, who has lived in the area for more than 26 years, says it will set an unwanted precedent.

"If this does pass a number of developers, a number of land owners will step in and change that land use designation and it becomes more valuable."

"We moved out there because we wanted to be out in the open; we didn't want to be with apartments right next door to us," Sandra Theiss, a resident of Spanish Springs for 12 years, said.

No word yet on when the RPC meeting will be.