As sprawl and new developments take over more and more of Reno, concerned citizens want to make sure renters who make up more than half of the population get notified directly.
This concerns new buildings and business coming into increasingly packed neighborhoods, but also renters who are getting completely displaced as their current residences are to be bulldozed away to give way to new developments.
A Letter to City Council
Last month, the Ward 4 Neighborhood Advisory Board sent a letter to Reno City Council asking for improvements in how renters are notified when new development is arriving.
The letter also notes less than 2,000 residents in Reno receive Ward specific email notifications, a paltry figure.
Our Town Reno caught up with one of the concerned neighborhood board members to find out more on this lack of engagement, and its inherent dangers.
What’s going on in Ward 4 these days?
“Sprawl is pretty intense. Almost every board meeting we have an annexation or a zoning change to make it more dense. Right now, within 750 feet of a project, it’s only the landowner who gets notification, plus any military installation and businesses, but not renters. What we’re trying to do is make sure renters get notices, people in apartment complexes get notices, all the residents in a mobile home park versus just one notice there.”
What about the public notice signs which go up around town concerning oncoming developments?
“Most of the notifications the city puts up are something you have to go out and find. You have to know that it exists, find that information and then you read it. It’s something people have to seek out.”
Why is it important for more residents to know about development which might be happening in their neighborhood?
“Being notified of things happening literally right next to you is a way to engage in the community, so that you have input into your own life. This is not about changing the existing law, it’s about improving it. You can do these things without changing the law.”
What about the university district where many residents were told about their situation through media reports, and journalists and concerned citizens knocking on their doors?
“That’s just not right. The only reason people knew about displacement in the university block is because people were telling them. This could happen elsewhere. Think about it: 53% of our population are renters. That’s a significant number of people who aren’t being told directly what’s happening where they live.”