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SPCA of Northern Nevada appeal denied, Reno Iron Works to build facility next door

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 12:20 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - On Wednesday evening, the Reno City Council denied an appeal by the SPCA of Northern Nevada, allowing Reno Iron Works to start construction of a 40,000 square foot facility next to its shelter on Spectrum Boulevard.

After review of the staff report, the record on appeal, and information presented at the public hearing, the council voted four to three in favor of affirming the Planning Commission’s approval of the project.

“I believe in property rights and I believe in property rights that are the same for every property owner,” said council member Bonnie Weber before making the motion.

The agenda item was continued from the April 13, 2022 City Council meeting, where the two groups were given 30 days to find a new location for Reno Iron Works.

At Wednesday’s meeting, SPCA staff said there was a potential location in Tahoe. However, the steel company said many of its employees expressed not being willing to do the commute, even if a gas stipend was offered.

Construction of the facility will require the removal of a hill that currently acts as a sound barrier between the shelter and the shooting range at the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office training site.

According to an acoustical analysis done by the steel company, “the project will not be expected to exceed any existing noise level within the overall vicinity project.”

Throughout the meeting, the SPCA challenged the compatibility of the project regarding zoning and uses.

“I think it is incredibly clear here that an industrial metal fabrication plant is not a compatible use with an adoption center that houses dogs and cats in an indoor and outdoor environment,” said Jill Vacchina Dobbs, Executive Director of the SPCA of Northern Nevada.

The shelter’s veterinarian explained how not only noise, but vibration and dust from construction and facility operations, will impact the health of the animals, which are mostly rescues.

Owner of Reno Iron Works, Bill Pelter supports animal welfare. His constant companion is a rescue dog. He told KOLO8 News Now, the location between the shelter and the regional training center seemed to make sense and he’s hearing about the potential problems late in the game.

Both the company and the animal shelter kept saying that there is no bad guy in this situation.

Just hours before the meeting, the company and the shelter were still trying to come up with an agreement. Unfortunately, neither were able to compromise.

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