There have been several stories in recent days about the founder of Blockchains’s plan to build a “Smart City” out at TRI. I had heard about Smart City but wrongly assumed that it was referring to Painted Rock since Blockchains owns Painted Rock. Painted Rock is part of the Storey County Master Plan for residential housing of between 2000 to 4000 homes.
But…it’s not Painted Rock.
According to the news reports and the Channel 2 and 4 reports …it is a development the size of Reno in TRI proper. High-density residential, shopping, schools, theaters…everything. Maybe it’s going to straddle Lyon and Storey Counties at TRI…we don’t know. Even if it is a development half or a quarter the size of Reno it is BIG.
I have made a public records request for information regarding Smart City so I can get the facts from our county leaders. They say that they will get me something by November 8th. Once I have that I will let you know what it says. I had previously asked Planner Austin Osborn if residential was allowed at TRI after Elon Musk stated that he was going to have housing for his employees on the gigafactory premises. His response was that the Master Plan did not allow for residential at TRI. SO….I have to wonder how Blockchains can build this project in TRI.
You need to know what may be coming and decide if you are willing to accept it.
I was in a meeting in Lockwood last year when Commissioner Lance Gilman propped up several drawings of a possible “city center” concept at TRI. So Lance did his job of at least talking about the possibility. It’s been mentioned a few times in other meetings but no specifics and certainly nothing about the potential for the staggering size of it.
There were hints.
We had the Opportunity Zone switch between Dayton and TRI ….facilitated by Lance and Dean Heller. HERE is a link to Pat Whitens letter to the governor requesting the Opportunity Zone designation for TRI mentioning “smart town”. It was written in April of this year. Then there is the pipeline deal. I now have to wonder if the pipeline deal is really for manufacturing and server farms or for this Smart City?
The county has known about this for a while…and haven’t told us exactly what it is or the potential scope. They have been making moves behind the scenes. They may say that they were bound by Non-Disclosure Agreements. We all understand the need for secrecy in a negotiation….but I have to ask….how long do those agreements bind you? Government is supposed to be transparent with regard to things that will affect its citizens…..will they let us know only when the deals are done and we have no input into what will affect us? Recall that the Tesla abatements were done without Storey County at the table and originally without having a service agreement included in SB1. Has this happened here?
A development the size of Reno.
Regardless of its size, there are a few questions that I will have. I hope that you each also think about it and come up with a few questions of your own and ask them directly of the Commissioners by attending the meetings or sending an email.
The biggest question is…Where does the water come from? Short of installing a pneumatic tube into the Mississippi River and sucking it our way I can’t imagine where it will come from.
Other questions are:
What is the time horizon for this thing?
Besides the Opportunity Zone designation are there abatements in store for this?
Who pays for the infrastructure?
What happens to the horses?
Will Long Valley or Lousetown become a freeway thru the Highlands?
What happens to Lagomarsino and other environmental treasures?
Will I80 get widened…if so then what is the impact to Lockwood?
Can 50 handle the traffic…can Mark Twain?
Will 6 Mile become a freeway?
How many more ATV’s will the highlands have zooming around on our roads?
Our property values will go up, which is good if we’re selling…but will our property tax bill go up?
Lastly, I want to make my position clear:
I am for the residents of this county FIRST …..TRI second, and for balancing the needs of our residents with the corporate needs at TRI. I am not anti-growth. I am against growth at any cost…..I have to wonder what the real cost of this thing will be on us all.