Top headlines from the Board of County Commissioners Meeting

by | Mar 26, 2024

The following are highlights from today’s Washoe County Board of County Commissioners meeting:    

1. Board approves public camping ordinance: The Board conducted a public hearing and second reading of an ordinance to prohibit public camping and certain activities such as having fires, blow torches, propane tanks, or parking of oversized vehicles on public property.

Chief Corey Solferino provided an overview of what the ordinance states and how it would be enacted in unincorporated Washoe County to align with the ordinances already in place in the cities of Reno and Sparks. He said that Reno has not made any arrests in the last year under its ordinance, and Sparks has used its ordinance to make an arrest only five times since 2016. 

“We’re trying to gain consistency with what’s happening in the cities of Reno and Sparks. We want to balance public health, public safety, public order,” Solferino said. “Our goal is not to incarcerate. Our team is out there connecting services to individuals. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach.” 

In addition to prohibiting public camping, the ordinance increases the Truckee River Corridor, prohibiting camping within 1,000 feet of the shore of the Truckee River. This preserves the health of the river and public safety.  

Commissioners voted 3-2 to pass the ordinance, with direction to the Sheriff’s Office to provide quarterly reporting so the Board can revise as needed.  

2. Board approves lease amendment to add affordable housing on Nevada Cares Campus: In April 2023, the Board of County Commissioners approved a lease agreement with Accessible Space Inc. (ASI) to build 50 units of supportive housing on the Nevada Cares Campus. The amendment extends the lease from 30 years to 60 years, and provides more ground area to accommodate up to 120 units of affordable housing in addition to the previously approved 50 units of supportive housing.

When the lease was approved last year, it was done with the intent to increase services and housing at the Cares Campus. This amendment provides that intended expansion and will provide future housing for those who cannot live on their own or who need placement outside of the homeless shelter. Additionally, this amendment directly addresses the Commission’s strategic goal of providing vulnerable services.  

3. Commissioner Garcia allocates District Special Fund to Truckee Meadows Bike Alliance: The Board approved an allocation of $5,000 from Commissioner Mariluz Garcia’s District Special Fund to the Truckee Meadows Bike Alliance for its 2nd Annual Ride Reno/Cycle Sparks event.

4. Board nominates members to Carson-Truckee Water Conservancy District and appoints a member to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Advisory Planning Commission: Per Nevada Revised Statutes, the governor of Nevada will appoint one member to a four-year term on the Carson-Truckee Water Conservancy District from at least two nominees put forward by the Washoe County Board of County Commissioners. The Board nominated Tyler Henderson (incumbent) and Micheline Fairbank. 

The Bi-State Compact that created the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) identifies the members of the TRPA Advisory Planning Commission. Each of the five local government agencies, having jurisdictions in the basin, has two seats on the Advisory Planning Commission (APC) – one position outlined as the chief planning officer and the other as a lay member of the community. The Board approved the appointment of James McNamara as the lay member for a two-year term.