to save the Ballardini Ranch
A Las Vegas senator has proposed a change in state law to prevent Washoe County from acquiring the Ballardini Ranch by eminent domain. Ballardini developers wrote the bill which passed the Senate Committee on Judiciary 6-1 on April 15 (with only Sen. Steven Horsford, D-N. Las Vegas, in opposition) and a senate voice vote on April 22. It passed a roll call vote in the senate 16-4 with one excused on April 25. (Sens. Raggio, Titus, Lee and Horsford were opposed. The bill was recalled later in the day and Sens. Mathews, Townsend and Rhoads changed their votes to opposition, so the final passage goes into the record books as 12-7 with one absent and one excused.)
Reno Gazette-Journal letter from Herb Rubenstein
(3rd of three letters at the above URL)
Gazette-Journal Guest Editorial
Reno Gazette-Journal Editorial: Legislature should stay out of dispute
STANDING FIRM (7-27-2004) A standing-room-only crowd of more than 250 rises as one in support of the acquisition of the Ballardini Ranch. Washoe County Commission Chairman Jim Shaw asked for the indication as a way to save time given the hundreds of testimony cards he had received in support of the project. In contrast, only three citizens indicated opposition in writing. For more, see news headlines, below.
THANKS TO THE MORE THAN 250 WHO ATTENDED!
WASHOE COUNTY COMMISSION
TUESDAY, JULY 27, 2004
WASHOE COUNTY COMMISSION CHAMBERS
1001 EAST NINTH STREET AT N. WELLS AVENUE
TRANSCRIPT, Southwest Truckee Meadows Citizen Advisory Board, 5-20-2004
This is our last chance to save the Ballardini Ranch, so please come to
this critical public hearing. Please let everyone know that it's now or
never and that attendance is crucial to the outcome.
On July 19, former Washoe County Commissioner Ted Short wrote the following:
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PUBLIC AND TO OUR PUBLIC OFFICIALS
The time has finally come for the Washoe County Commissioners, consistent with the near unanimous support of our public citizens, support that has been stated and restated for over 20 years, to acquire the entire 1,019-acre Ballardini Ranch, using any and all legal tools that are appropriate.
The Ballardini Ranch has long been sought by the public, supported by elected officials, as a critical piece of the open space puzzle to implement along the western foothills of the Truckee Meadows. A plan has been envisioned for many years to link approximately 1,400 acres of property then belonging to the Redfield/ArrowCreek Development (which has since been dedicated or committed to be dedicated by the Redfield/ArrowCreek Development to Washoe County) with the 1,019-acre Ballardini Ranch. The two properties, upon acquisition for public use, would provide approximately 2,500 contiguous acres of majestic, serene, and a completely unique haven for deer and other critical wildlife, and, of course, for people, the most important of whom are our future generations. This opportunity will not return.
After much work by public citizens, cooperation with Redfield/ArrowCreek Development, and the full support of the public officials, the 1,400-acres have been dedicated by ArrowCreek to fulfill this plan. Now it is up to the Washoe County Commission, which has shown steadfast support for the acquisition of the entire Ballardini Ranch for many years, to take the final step to acquire the entire 1,019-acre Ballardini Ranch. If exercise of the right of eminent domain becomes the only option, it should be undertaken. It is a process used consistently by public entities, and is based upon priorities for public use. Certainly the Ballardini Ranch should have the highest priority. The process also guarantees the owner of property full fair market value, and as the counsel for the Evans Creek, LLC has stated publicly in the past, it is only a matter of price. Accordingly, this is a fair option to undertake.The public and our public officials should consider the following:
The Ballardini Ranch is an extraordinarily beautiful, environmentally pristine parcel, rich with Nevadas heritage, which provides tremendous access for our citizens to the U.S. Forest Service and the mountains to the west, access which is unparalleled by any other land in the Truckee Meadows.
In 1998, the Ballardini family sold the Ballardini Ranch for $8.5 million. Thereafter the County determined to take steps to acquire the entire 1,019-acre Ballardini Ranch and placed the issue before the voters to approve bond funds for its acquisition. In 2000 the voters approved $4 million in a public vote to acquire the Ballardini Ranch. It amounted to a decision by the voters that this acquisition was of paramount interest to the public.
Efforts have been made to negotiate with the current owner of the Ballardini Ranch, Evans Creek LLC, a Minnesota entity, but all such efforts have been completely unsuccessful.
To augment the $4 million in bond funds, Washoe County applied for federal funds under the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act for $15 million. The funds were approved for use by the County to acquire the Ranch. Technically, an additional 10% was part of the commitment, allowing for a total of $16.5 million of federal funds; together with the $4 million bond money, a total of $20.5 million was available for purchase of the Ranch.
Last fall, the owner of the Ballardini Ranch thereafter publicly notified the federal government that it was not a "willing seller", which notice disqualified the County from those funds, and therefore prevented the County from making an offer at fair market value to purchase the Ranch.
An individual has come forward to loan the County $20 million, on flexible terms, to augment the $4 million to acquire the Ballardini Ranch, making approximately $24 million available for that purpose. This is a unique and extraordinary gesture, which has never before occurred in Washoe County.
The recently released staff report of Washoe County reveals that the entire Ballardini Ranch has been appraised at approximately $19 million. Considering the fact that $24 million is now available for its purchase, it should be purchased quickly, without delay. Remember, it was acquired in 1998 for $8.5 million.
If the Ballardini Ranch is not acquired by the public but is developed in the densities previously sought by the current owner, those densities would require Skyline Boulevard, McCarran Boulevard, and Ridgeview to be widened, causing a traffic nightmare and snarl of the kind our valley has never seen.
We were saddened by the loss of the opportunity to purchase the Ponderosa Ranch. We should not let this happen with respect to the Ballardini Ranch. Lets do it right this time, with no delay.
There comes a time when our quality of life values must take precedence. Now is the time.
I urge the Washoe County Commissioners, working with the City of Reno, to the extent joint efforts will assist in achieving success, to acquire the entire 1,019-acre Ballardini Ranch once and for all, by any legal means possible, including exercise of the right of eminent domain. The County Commission will be presented with three options; Option 1, to purchase the entire Ranch; Options 2 and 3, to purchase less than the entire Ranch. Only Option 1 should be exercised by the Washoe County Commissioners. If the County Commissioners are going to do it right, do it completely right. To acquire anything less than the entire Ranch would be like acquiring only half of Central Park, or locally, half of Rancho San Rafael. Lets do it right this time, and do it now.
It is up to the County Commissioners, the guardians of the public trust, to at this time take the steps to achieve the will of the public.
Now is the time. Please do it
Please Contact the Washoe County Commission
Call (775-328-2005), fax (775-328-2037) or write your Washoe County commissioners and let them know your views. Be sure to tell them to acquire the ranch completely with Option-1.
Jim Shaw, Chair
Jim Galloway, Commissioner
David Humke, Commissioner
Pete Sferrazza, Commissioner
Bonnie Weber, Commissioner
[UPDATE: Mrs. Weber cast the only vote against public acquisition on July 27, 2004.]
Washoe County Commission
P.O. Box 11130
Reno, Nevada 89520
[2005 UPDATE: Commissioner Shaw has since been replaced by Commissioner Bob Larkin, who now sits as vice-chair. Commissioner Weber now chairs the body.]
Any contributions to Protect Our Washoe are welcome. It is a purely volunteer effort and your help will be most appreciated. Checks payable to "Protect Our Washoe" may be mailed to the address, below.
and armed guards at Ballardini Ranch
public roads policy is the right one for now
County files condemnation action
developers sue Washoe County
(8-10-2004): The developer's appeal of the Regional Planning Commission
denial of the Ballardini southern half application was pulled from the
Washoe County Commission agenda. A report was made to the commission
at the meeting.
P. O. Box 20397
Reno, NV 89515
You may send your contribution to help fund the fight to the above address. Thank you.
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