Officials to discuss federal lands bill proposal

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Officials with Washoe County and the cities of Reno and Sparks have been drafting up a federal lands bill proposal since 2016. The Truckee Meadows Public Lands Management Act would allow for federal lands to be recommended for development. It would also include creation of conservation and wilderness study areas.

Washoe County Assistant Manager David Solaro said the federal agency will be involved in determining whether the nominated land is appropriate for sale. He said once the land is deemed appropriate it will be sold at auction. "The process to determine appropriateness will include a review of cultural resources, review of environmental concerns, etc."

Solaro said there’s an ample amount of land that could be utilized. “There's about 40,000 to 45,000 thousand acres that could be developed at some point.”

He added, “Now this is also a fifty plus year look ahead as well, some of the concerns that people have is that this is a big area and there is going to be a lot of sprawl, but really Congress has to make this determination, so we are really trying to look forward for our future."

Officials said the money purchased to buy these lands will stay in Washoe County and benefit residents. Solaro said there are some concerns from residents like overcrowding and the wilderness study areas.

“We hear things like it’s going to create problems with like traffic congestion.” He continued, “There’s a concern about the wilderness study areas I think there’s a lot of misinformation about what that means.”

Officials will discuss the proposal at a public meeting and are encouraging residents who have concerns to attend. It will be held Thursday, February 20 at the Reno Sparks Convention Center between 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Solaro hopes to have the proposal introduced to Congress by the end of this year.

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