Future of UNR Agriculture Land Now in Hands of City Council

RENO, NV - The future of 10 percent of farmland owned by the University of Nevada is now in the hands of the Reno City Council. Planning commissioners voted three to two for rezoning the property.

The decision came after after more than two hours of questions and public comments.

Two planning commission members are openly against the proposal, saying it's dangerous to build businesses on area that's prone to flooding. They also say building businesses will destroy the symbolism the open land holds.

"I'm here to oppose the proposal to annex and rezone part of the UNR farm station acreage referred to as McCarran strip," says Ann Louhela who showed her support not to rezone the land.

Louhela is with Nevada's Growing Farms Association. She wasn't afraid to speak out against the proposal to rezone about ten percent of land owned by UNR, that's now used for agriculture.

Chris Mendoza, who worked at the Agriculture Experiment Station says the land is a great tool for teaching students.

"You cannot put more warehouses out there, because there's no room we have plenty of empty warehouses so why build more," says Mendoza.

A major concern for both citizens and planning commission members is the flood history of the land.

The land is in a critical flood zone. Supporters are asking to raise the land, to avoid potential flooding.

"It's an ideal location for the business park and employment center because of its close proximity to I-80 and the airport," says Melissa Linde, the applicant of the proposal.

Earlier reports that "Wolf Pack Meats" would have to close if this land was re-zoned might be jumping the gun.

Commission members and the applicant made it very clear to the audience that the rezoning of the land does not affect the meat processing plant.

"The property which does not include the Wolf Pack Meat site has been shown on maps and identified as potential development for years the proposed uses are consistent with other uses of business parks to the west," says Linde.

Commission members had a difficult time voting on this proposal Wednesday night.

Some members feel that certain conditions need to be added to the proposal. One includes a full disclosure to potential land developers that the land sits in a critical flood zone, and two that it is right next to a meat processing plant.

Now, the proposal moves to the city council where they will decide the fate of the land.

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