New ordinance could shape future development in Reno's Midtown

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New ordinance could shape future development in Reno's Midtown

Midtown

The City of Reno is imagining the future look and feel of Midtown.

The City of Reno is imagining the future look and feel of Midtown. City Council Members are currently drafting a zoning ordinance to make it a more walkable and urban neighborhood.

If Reno approves the new ordinance, developers will have more freedom to build dense urban corridors with condos or residences. Council Member Jenny Brekhus, who represents much of Midtown, says this kind of development is not really possible at the moment.

"It [the current restrictions] could prevent someone from doing what you see in commercial areas like Midtown, which are storefronts or retail on the bottom and then maybe two or three one or two units on a second level, which would be a great new product we haven't seen come on yet."

Under the ordinance, more housing units could also be built in the residential areas. Brekhus says the change is minimal, but Sam Gettle, who owns several properties in the area, says increasing the number of units could be devastating for the historic neighborhood.

"Don't be fooled into increasing the density to prolong a totally failed and unstable plan."

Gettle says a major problem is that California speculators own many of these residential properties and have failed to maintain them over the years.

Bryan Raydon with Marmot Properties says his company would like to have density. He says more homes near Virginia Street is vital to growing that commercial corridor in Midtown, as well.

"The Midtown success story is based on rooftops and the proximity to rooftops, and reducing density only serves to hurt that."

The ordinance also requires developers to set aside a certain amount of space for parking lots on their properties. The council is expected to vote on the new rules next week.