Southeast Connector gets City Council approval, despite opposition
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After a lengthy public hearing Wednesday night, the Reno City Council approved the necessary permits for the second phase of construction of the Southeast Connector. The council was split with a vote of 4 to 3.
The Upper Southeast Communities Coalition, which is one of the groups that appealed the plan, was out in full force to voice its opposition.
Kim Rhodemyre, the head of the group, catalogued the dangers of the project, including the risks of building in a flood storage zone and exposure to methylmercury and other toxins in the soil. Rhodemyre said the council has denied special use permits for similar reasons in the past.
"Yet, here we are sitting next to and on the very last areas of flood storage on heavily contaminated soil that RTC wants to move around in communities that are now going to get more water in flood events; yet you have not denied a single thing in regards to this project."
Rhodemyre was followed by a slew of citizens who said when they bought their homes in the area, they had been told this road would not be built.
Representatives of the Regional Transportation Commission disputed most of the claims made by Rhodemyre, saying the road would reduce flooding through conservation measures and infrastructure. They said they've identified the areas with the greatest concentrations of mercury and plan to pick those up and remove them.
Ultimately, 4 council members agreed with the RTC, including Dwight Dorch.
"I think they improve it (the flooding). Everything they do is improving the situation, at least based on the testimony presented today."
The project will lay three and a half miles of freeway from the South Meadows/Veterans Parkway intersection to Pembroke Drive. It now goes to the Regional Planning Commission for further review.