Protect Our Washoe

Fighting to save the Ballardini Ranch
and for a better quality of life

NEWSFLASH 9-29-2004
Washoe County Commission backs open public roads policy
Ballardini family files legal action

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Autumn on the Ballardini Ranch
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copyright © Phil Demanczuk



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Protect Our Washoe was established in the 1970s and has worked on a wide range of public interest issues. We successfully opposed the "A-Line" route for U.S. 395 South between Reno and the Mt. Rose Highway. More recently, P.O.W. provided input to the 2030 regional transportation plan.

In 2002, we continued our longrunning efforts to preserve the Ballardini Ranch and successfully opposed attempts to increase the density of the neighboring ArrowCreek development.

We'll keep you posted. If you are not already on our mailing list, please request inclusion and please consider supporting our work by sending a contribution to the address, below.

Thank you.

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.



TUESDAY, JULY 27, 2004
3:30 P.M.

Commission agenda

County staff report, analysis and recommendations

Sign and circulate a petition to the commission

TRANSCRIPT, Washoe County Commission, 7-27-2004

TRANSCRIPT, Washoe County Planning Commission, 6-29-2004

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:


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 Nevada’s 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. Let’s 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. Let’s 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

                            Ted Short

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




copyright © Phil Demanczuk

Watch this website for more important announcements.

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     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.

Thank you.


NEW Regional Transportation Commission 2030 Road Plan

NEW Gunfire and armed guards at Ballardini Ranch
Reno Gazette-Journal 11-3-2004

New public roads policy is the right one for now
Reno Gazette-Journal Editorial 9-30-2004

Washoe County Commission backs
open public roads policy

Ballardini family files legal action
Reno Gazette-Journal 9-29-2004

The tragedy unfolding in the back yard

What happens when animals are left with inadequate habitat
by the Truckee Meadows' urban expansion
Reno Gazette-Journal 9-26-2004

Washoe County files condemnation action
in district court after talks with developer fail

Reno Gazette-Journal 8-28-2004

Ballardini developers sue Washoe County
Reno Gazette-Journal 8-14-2004

BULLETIN (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.
AGENDA (Item 26c, 5:30 p.m.)

Court battle likely after commission votes 4-1 to acquire Ballardini Ranch
Reno Gazette-Journal 7-28-2004

PHOTO: Residents stand to support acquisition of ranch

Owners say Washoe County undervaluing land
Reno Gazette-Journal 7-27-2004

Ballardini Ranch Preservation Worth One More Try
Reno Gazette-Journal Editorial 7-26-2004

County Commission considers Ballardini acquisition
Reno Gazette-Journal 7-25-2004

Man offers city, county loan to buy Ballardini Ranch
$20 million: Officials plan to reopen negotiations to buy Reno property, or consider condemning the parcel.

Reno Gazette-Journal 6-26-2004

Letter to the Washoe County Commission and Reno City Council
from Steven T. Walther 6-25-2004

"A race is on to find money to buy the Ballardini Ranch and preserve it as open space because the owners now are asking the Reno City Council to annex the northern portion..."
Reno Gazette-Journal Sept. 19, 2003

In-depth historical background and issues
Reno Gazette-Journal Feb. 9, 2000

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2005 Archive

First half of 2004 Archive




2000-2001 NEWS ARCHIVE


Protect Our Washoe
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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