Residents want to halt truck stop
Kristin Larsen (KLARSEN@RGJ.COM)
November 28, 2007

Some Northwest Reno residents plan to speak at tonight's Reno City Council meeting to prevent a truck stop from being built at Interstate 80 and Robb Drive.

Residents said they were concerned the 48-acre truck stop might result in increased pollution, constant truck idling noise, escalating traffic gridlock and a transient population in a residential neighborhood. Others said it would visually mar the area.

"You've heard of the NIMBY syndrome -- Not in my backyard," said Breese Burnley, a member of the Northwest Neighborhood Advisory Board. "The thing is this is the frontyard of northwest Reno. You'll be able to see it when you drive into town and from all over the whole west side of the valley."

Flying J purchased the property in 2002 with plans to develop a travel center, which is a combination of fueling stations, restaurants and retail, according to the project concept submitted to the city. The property currently is zoned single-family residential.

Burnley said the zoning might be their key to preventing a change in land use designation that would allow the project to be built.

Tonight's city council meeting is to determine the definition and zoning requirements for truck stops. Burnley said those in opposition to the Flying J Truck Stop plan to speak in favor of the proposed definition because it would require truck stops to be on industrial zone property.

"Given the property's location along Interstate 80 and the Robb Drive interchange, it is not well-suited for single-family residential," a Flying J proposal states.

Burnley said it's very clear that the property at Robb Drive and I-80 is not industrial, but residents must speak during tonight's public comment if they oppose it because he believes the residents have a chance to prevail over the developer's proposal.

"A lot of the (resident) apathy is based on the fact that we lose so many of these battles, but in this case, we have a good legal case," Burnley said. "There was no way that a truck stop was going to be in a residential area."

At the Northwest NAB meeting on Nov. 15, McQueen-area resident Ed Taylor said that he and his wife planned to start a "shoe leather campaign" by printing off fliers from and knocking on the doors of their neighbors to raise awareness.

One resident printed up 100 red and white signs reading "Stop the Robb Drive Truck Stop" to pass out at the Northwest NAB meeting and ran out of them.

Barbara Dominianni-Joy said she's concerned that three grade schools and McQueen High School are within walking distance of the truck stop. She said she worried what effects the transient population that truck stops tend to attract might have on the area.

Resident Ray Wojdynski said he'd like to see the area developed into a ball field or park. Flat, undeveloped land in northwest Reno is in short supply, and there aren't enough areas for children of the area to play, he said.

Wojdynski said he'd like to see the city buy the land to improve the community.

Some residents expressed concern that the local process of approving and denying developments doesn't take the concerns of nearby residents into account.

"Getting zoning changes is something that is not uncommon," Commercial Real-estate Agent Shannon Dressel said. "I'm concerned that if the surrounding neighbors are against something, it doesn't have the weight that it should."

Burnley said he agreed it was a problem, but this time zoning defies the proposed development.

"A lot of people spent years working on that McQueen Master Plan, and I've seen a number of developers come in and apply for a variance for any number of things," Burnley said. "What we need to do is stick to our plan. If we don't, it's like spitting in the face of those people who worked on it."