Officials doubt rumors of Storey boundary line changes
Appeal Staff Writer
Any possibility that state legislators would alter Storey County’s boundaries to put areas prime for residential development in Washoe County is remote at best.
But it is possible, at least theoretically.
Storey County commissioners said they have heard concerns from constituents and others that either Washoe County or Reno officials, or possibly developers, would pressure state legislators in the 2009 session to alter the Washoe-Storey boundary at the north end of Storey County.
“I’ve been hearing it since I have been in office,” said Commissioner Bob Kershaw, a county commissioner since 2000 who represents Lockwood, one of the communities that could be considered to go to Washoe County if state legislators were to consider a boundary adjustment.
“I’m sure for some people it would be very desirable, but I don’t see how they could do that without the cooperation of both counties, and this county is not on board with anything like that.”
Two state legislators say that although rumors of changes in county boundaries pop up from time to time, they weren’t aware of a move by anyone to put Storey real estate in Washoe County.
Assemblyman Bernie Anderson, R-Washoe County, said he hadn’t heard anything about a possible county boundary-line adjustment.
Anderson said that it was possible to alter county boundary lines and that it had been done in the past, but Assemblyman Tom Grady, R-Yerington, said it was unlikely to happen unless the commissioners of both counties wanted it to happen.
“It won’t happen unless someone presents it, and I can’t see that as very likely if the commissioners of the counties are opposed,” he said.
Grady said he had heard talk from time to time about changing boundaries or other actions, but nothing specific for the upcoming legislative session.
“A couple years ago they wanted to eliminate the (Storey County) school district and put it with Washoe’s,” he said.
In October 2006, the boundary between Washoe and Lyon counties near Fernley was altered to put 10 square miles in Lyon County, with the approval of both county commissions.
The move came about when Wade Development Corp. of Reno began planning a 6,000-home development on about 5,000 acres of land north of Fernley in what was then Washoe County.
Because the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s reservation is between the developed areas of Washoe County and the proposed development, services such as fire and police protection would have to come from Fernley. If Washoe County were to provide basic services to the development, it would cost about $150 million during 18 years, while the development would bring about $101 million in tax revenue during the same period.
Developers approached Lyon County about moving the boundary, which was approved when the legislature approved Assembly Bill 440 during the 2005 session.
Developers could be the winners in a boundary line move involving Storey County, but Kershaw said concerns that they were behind the rumors is “hearsay.”
He said some in Washoe County or Reno proper would like some elbow room.
“Reno has gone as far south as they can, and now they’re going north,” he said. “I’m sure they’d like to come east.”
Kershaw also said Washoe County officials’ desire for a north-south road could also be spurring the rumors.
Washoe County Manager Katy Singlaub said she has not heard any talk of boundary line changes.
“I’ve never heard of it, but that doesn’t mean someone else hadn’t heard something,” she said. “But the county commissioners haven’t talked about it and no position or plan is being considered.”
Kershaw said unlike the Washoe-Lyon boundary move, there was no support for anything like that in Storey County, and even attempting it against the will of the county officials would set an ugly precedent.
“If they do that, what’s next, TRI, and Storey gets nothing in return?” he asked, referring to the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center in Northeast Storey County.
Commissioner Greg “Bum” Hess also said some constituents had called him with their concerns.
“We have two state senators in (Mark) Amodei and (Maurice) Washington, and (Assemblyman Tom) Grady, and I don’t think they would let anything like that happen to the county,” he said. “We’re very capable of taking care of our borders and have been for quite some time. We’re not interested in changing boundary lines.”
Amodei and Washington did not return calls seeking comment.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or 881-7351.
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