1. Casinos do not belong in an area with schools and a college campus
There are several schools within a 3-mile radius of the casino(s), including two elementary schools (Brown Elementary School and Elizabeth Lenz), a middle school (Damonte Middle School) and three high schools (Damonte, Galena, and Bishop Manogue Catholic High School). Many of the school bus routes would pass directly by the proposed casino(s). In addition, the University of Nevada’s planned Redfield campus would be across the street from the proposed casino.
2. The proposed casinos will exacerbate traffic problems.
While the City of Reno is proposing a plan to promote “high intensity development” at the Mt. Rose Highway and South Virginia Street intersection, the proposed Redfield plan says very little about the impact on traffic. According to the plan, South Virginia Street will be a “future rapid transit corridor” which “will provide an attractive alternative to automobile use.” Apart from building a road to provide access to the proposed casino, the City of Reno’s plan acknowledges that “US Highway 395 and South Virginia Street will continue to be the primary regional access roads.”
Traffic congestion is already a serious issue at the Mt. Rose and Virginia intersection. According to the Washoe County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC), the Mt. Rose/Virginia intersection ranks as the 17th worst intersection for congestion in the County, seeing more than 5000 cars at the peak evening hour. In addition, the RTC has identified the stretch of South Virginia Street from the Mt. Rose Highway/Geiger Grade to 395 as far exceeding its planned level of traffic levels.
3. Creation of a new “regional tourism” center with gaming in South Reno will undercut taxpayer efforts to revitalize downtown.
Since 2000, almost $350 million taxpayer money has been invested in the City’s on-going effort to revitalize downtown and attract more visitors and tourists. In fact, members of the Reno City Council cited this large investment as a reason for denying the Atlantis’ request to build a new hotel-casino in south Reno in April, 2005. By creating what the City of Reno calls a new “regional tourism” center, the new casino(s) in South Reno could hurt the City’s effort to attract more visitors to the downtown tourist area, creating additional burdens for taxpayers.
4. Mt. Rose Highway is a scenic corridor that should be preserved
Currently, neon signs are prohibited along the Mt. Rose Highway because it is designated a Scenic Corridor by the City of Reno. In addition, signs are limited to no more than ten feet in height. The City of Reno is now proposing to scrap the standards of the Mt. Rose Scenic Corridor, allowing projects over 20 acres (including the Summit Sierra casino site) to have large neon signs if approved through a special use permit.
In addition, the Mt. Rose Scenic Corridor limits building height to 35 feet. However, City of Reno is proposing in the Redfield Regional Center Plan to exempt the Summit Sierra casino from these height restrictions.