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City of Reno to pay $4.5 million to settle Lemmon Valley flooding litigation

Swan Lake in Lemmon Valley.
Swan Lake in Lemmon Valley.(Ed Pearce/KOLO)
Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 5:43 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -The city of Reno said Thursday it has reached a tentative, global settlement to involving all state and federal claims related to Swan Lake flooding in the Lemmon Valley area in 2017.

The city agrees to pay $4.5 million to settle claims.

It was not immediately clear how many property owners will get the money and if they keep their property or move.

The Reno City Council is scheduled to review and possibly approve the settlement on May 12.

Heavy snowpack and rain from the winter of 2016-2017 ran into Lemmon Valley, filling Swan Lake and pushing the water into homes. Some of the Lemmon Valley property owners filed suit and won a court victory against the city for taking property without compensation and taking property for government use for the way the city managed runoff.

Other property owners pushed forward with litigation. This settlement resolves all claims.

“This global settlement is a significant step forward for proper stewardship of our delicate ecosystem in the North Valleys and underscores the importance of our ongoing efforts regarding sustainability in the Biggest Little City,” the city of Reno said in the statement announcing the settlement. “We’re committed to protecting all of our citizens and our environment, and it’s fitting that we arrived at this agreement on Earth Day.”

Attorneys for the Lemmon Valley property owners could not be reached for comment.

Donna Robinson, one of the original Lemmon Valley property owners who sued Reno, said there’s relief among Lemmon Valley residents it is ending.

“Some of the residents are happy they’re getting some money,” Robinson said. “There should have been more, but we know how the settlement process works.”

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