History Versus Housing

The heart of the historic Powning Conservation District at 700 Riverside Drive will soon be the site of a planned apartment building. The preparation is already underway, but construction is proceeding at the developer’s risk.

The building permits were appealed on May 4 and no decision has been made in the aftermath. The hearing lasted for over 7 hours and the legal and procedural issues at hand are far more complex than many might realize. A myriad of factors at hand include street abandonments and maintenance, public easements, parking requirements, and more, making this a serious and complicated matter.

You can read more details about the project itself here.

As a proud member of the Historic Reno Preservation Society, I wanted to share some information with you with regards to the valuable history surrounding the Powning Conservation District. The HRPS Board has expressed the hope that the design of this building might be revisited to ensure greater compatibility with the neighborhood’s unique historic character.

For many unfamiliar with the field of historic preservation, they may believe that historic character is entirely subjective or arbitrary, but that would be false. Historic character is in fact a measurable quality utilized by the Secretary of the Interior to assess historic and architectural significance.

In the case of Powning, there has been careful documentation and evaluation in a comprehensive 970-page architectural survey that led to its official designation as a local Conservation District in 2009. The City of Reno has also repeatedly affirmed the value of the city’s historic character from the adoption in 2008 of its first Historic Plan. The plan states that “Historic characteristics should be respected and maintained when possible and in new development should demonstrate an effort to retain the historic character throughout the City.”

At the end of the day, it’s entirely possible for a new multi-story apartment building, even in the heart of this district, to be designed to reflect its historic character. Yes, there is a critical need for housing in our community, however there is concern about the new apartment building’s form and massing irreversibly impacting the openness that characterizes this section of the riverfront.

Image courtesy of the Barber Brief

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Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

http://nealfincher.com/

https://www.snphomes.com/

Local Restaurants Support API Heritage Month

The entire month of May in Reno-Sparks is celebrating Asian Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month with an event called the Common Thread Asian Noodle Tour.

The event highlights 20 Asian-owned restaurants, offering special dishes for $10 or less. The event was organized by Michael Tragash, Yelp’s senior community manager in Reno and with a check-in on Yelp you can take advantage of these tasty dishes at a great price.

“As supporters of each other, I wanted to find out how we can work together to get some visibility for these businesses, owners and organizations, especially in light of the rising anti-Asian sentiment and incidents of Asian racial hate in our country,” Tragash said.

Hungry consumers interested in supporting businesses of The Common Thread can explore a variety of noodle specials, everything from bean thread noodles to pho to cheung fun, at a wide range of API-owned restaurants in greater Reno-Sparks.

Participating businesses include: Haru; The Coconut Downtown; Rice Box Kitchen; Silver Chopsticks; Viet Pho; Loco Ono; Bab Café; Kwok’s Bistro; Siu Asian Express; Maya’s South Indian Cuisine; Aloha Shack; Lanna Thai Café; Bangkok Cuisine; Moo Dang; Arario Midtown; India Kabab & Curry; Crawfish Asian Cuisine; Num Num Boba; Lolo’s Filipino Restaurant & Lounge; and Ijji Noodle House & Poke Don.

The Common Thread is a great opportunity to introduce people to the culture and food that Asian-owned restaurants provide right here in our local Northern Nevada community. While it might take more than one month celebrating, it’s a great way to get out and appreciate our neighbor’s culture and try some delicious new foods!

Read more about some of the local restaurant owners here.

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Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

http://nealfincher.com/

https://www.snphomes.com/

Priced Out Families Find Housing Hope in Reno Land Trust

Reno has quickly become one of the most desirable locations in the country and we can see that reflected in the demand of the housing market.

Reno was named the 21st least affordable city among the 100 biggest metro areas in the country, according the RealtyHop’s April 2021 Housing Affordability Index which was published on March 29. The median price of $444,000 for a home in Reno-Sparks means that a homeowner in the area would need to spend 41.20% of their annual income in order to own a home. This has put a strain on the population of Reno as citizens struggle to find affordable housing and rental properties.

A Reno-based non-profit, the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada (CFNN) is working to change that, even for just one property at a time. In 2018, CFFN created the Community Housing Land Trust (CHLT) in an effort to provide affordable homes to people earning less than the area’s median income (currently $79,600 for a family of four).

After two years of efforts, the CHLT has sold its first home. The “City Cottage” was a 1,000 square foot, two-bedroom, one-bath residence sold to a local couple of $225,000 in January this year. This was the first single-family home ever sold by a community land trust in the state of Nevada.

The City Cottage buyers will own the home and lease the land from the CHLT. To qualify for a home through the CHLT, buyers must earn less than 80% of the area median income while earning enough so their housing expenses total no more than 35% of their monthly income. If and when the owners decide to sell, the property will be sold back to another income-qualified family.

In October 2020, the city of Reno donated property to the land trust — 2.5 acres of land in North Reno’s Golden Valley for 10 homes to be built and sold through the CHLT. The 1,400-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bath homes will be sold to buyers earning slightly less than 80% of the area median income. The prices of the homes are expected to be $100,000 less than comparable homes in the market, according to the land trust.

Click here to read more about what CCFN is doing to create affordable housing in Northern Nevada.

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Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

http://nealfincher.com/

https://www.snphomes.com/

Galena Creek Visitor Center Reopening this May

Happy spring from Reno-Tahoe!

The Galena Creek Visitor’s Center is one of my favorite places in town. They offer so much from kids camps, hiking tours to lectures. If you want to take advantage of the hiking trails in Suburban SW Reno, the Center is the place to be. The staff welcomes visitors and enjoys educating folks on the trail system. Please take the time to visit and even sign up for the newsletter. I always find something of interest. I can’t wait for the lectures to start again.

The Galena Creek Visitor Center has been closed due to guidelines pertaining to COVID-19, but are planning to reopen the center and begin in-person programs in May 2021. The Galena Creek Regional Park and trails remain open daily from 8 am to 7 pm.

When programs resume, you’ll be able to attend a guided nature hike on the first and third Saturday of every month from 10am to 12pm. They are a great way to stay active while learning about the local area. Each Saturday a specialist in their field will lead the hike along one of the Galena Park Trails while teaching one of many topics including local history, ecology, geology, weather, wildlife, birding, and more. Be sure to bring water, sunscreen, hiking books, and a brain eager to learn. Find out what topics are coming up in the weeks ahead by visiting their website or signing up for their monthly newsletter.

They also offer monthly seminars and educational enrichment programs. Coming up on May 15, One Truckee River will present “Promoting Pollinators in Your River-Friendly Landscape” on Zoom. You will learn about the importance of pollinators, theories on why they’re in decline, and how you can promote pollinators in your River-Friendly Landscape. Click here to register.

The center isn’t just for adults – they host fun and enriching year-round programs for kids. Coming up this year is their summer camp, a day camp full of engaging, creative, educational, and hands-on nature activities. Kids can discover the natural wonders of our local forests, creeks, lakes and ponds while promoting healthy cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development by creating positive memories while caring for the planet.

Bring out the explorer in yourself, the children around you, and your family and friends! We live in one of the most beautiful and accessible outdoor recreation meccas in the country.

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Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

http://nealfincher.com/

https://www.snphomes.com/

Apple Solar Farm Electrifies Reno

Apple is taking its investment into renewable energy in Nevada seriously.

The Turquoise Solar Project in Washoe County is now up and running. The farm produces 61 megawatts of direct current and is located east of Reno on roughly 180 acres within the master planned Reno Technology Park. On March 17th, Apple released the news of the project in partnership with Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company (GREC). GREC is the utility-scale renewable energy development company that owns Turquoise Solar.

“Turquoise … is very highly regarded in the solar power industry,” Charles Wheeler, CEO of GREC, said in a press release. “Completing it has been a huge accomplishment and is the product of a tremendous collaborative effort between the parties involved.

“… Despite an extremely challenging year across the country, 2020 was a year of growth for us, as we continued to bring amazing new wind and solar projects like this one online. During the year, our total investment income increased by 60% reflecting the strong growth we’ve achieved thanks to projects like Turquoise.”

The estimated $60 million project reached commercial operation in December and “has outperformed expected power generation to date, despite lower-than-expected levels of sunshine,” according to GREC.

Originally developed by Estuary Capital Partners and Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, Turquoise Solar was acquired by GREC in 2019. After construction began in November 2019, the project created 236 clean energy construction jobs of which 90% were filled by Nevada residents. With so much of Turquoise Solar being located on rocky desert terrain, the engineers found it challenging to design a plan for the site and partnered with TerraSmart to help.

“Thanks to the collaborative partnership with TerraSmart, this was another project where our team could design and engineer a solution for a solar project that had very unique terrain challenges,” Scott Canada, senior vice president of McCarthy’s Renewable Energy Group, said in a statement. “We are also grateful to the exceptional local craft workforce for their ability to work safely and efficiently during these challenging times.

“Their efforts ensured the commission of the Turquoise Solar Project, allowing for the generation of clean energy to power Apple’s data center.”

The site is already hard at work delivering 50 megawatts of renewable power to Apple’s data center at the Reno Technology Park, making it the company’s fourth renewable project totaling 270 megawatts. Turquoise Solar represents just one small piece of Apple’s $4.7 billion “Green Bond” initiative that aims to relieve an average of 921,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually (equivalent to removing almost 200,000 cars from the road).

“Apple is proud that for nearly three years we’ve powered all of our worldwide operations with 100 percent renewable energy,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, said in a statement. “In the process, we’ve charted a course for other companies and organizations to bring clean energy projects to communities around the world and help combat climate change.

“We’re excited to have the Turquoise Solar Project bringing new renewable energy to Nevada.”

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Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

http://nealfincher.com/

https://www.snphomes.com/

March Mortgage Market Forecast from the Experts

Thanks to the experts at Guild Mortgage here in Reno and to help navigate the current demanding housing market in Northern Nevada, below is the March mortgage industry economic forecast created by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

Every month the forecast is updated and provides insights into expert mortgage economists’ view of the current real estate industry. Some of the notable highlights of the March report are:

  • The total industry volume for 2021 is projected to drop to $3.184 trillion, down from $3.828 trillion in 2020.
  • The purchase loan volume for 2021 is projected to increase to $1.688 trillion, up from the $1.433 trillion in 2020. (Great info to share with our realtor partners!)
  • 30-year fixed rate mortgage rates are projected to go up 0.80% in rate from an average rate of 2.80% in 2020, to an average rate of 3.60% in 2021. They are projected to go up to 4.50% in 2022.

The report also shares a lot of great information on home sales, housing statistics, and home price appreciation trends and forecasts. I encourage you to take a look and leave me a comment below with any questions!

These economic forecasts from MBA are viewed to be highly credible and balanced. High quality information is more valuable than ever as we navigate the lack of supply in a high demand market. Click here to view the 2020 annual report from MBA for even more insight.

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Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

http://nealfincher.com/

https://www.snphomes.com/

Virginia Street Project Reaches Completion

Wider sidewalks. New landscaping and trees. Bike racks and benches. A cleaner and safer look and feel.

Washoe County’s Virginia Street Project broke ground two years ago, in September 2018. The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) accelerated construction of the $87 million project last March when most Midtown businesses closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sierra Nevada Construction helped to expedite efforts and Reno’s main thoroughfare reopened to two-way traffic through Midtown in mid-August.

The opening was three months ahead of schedule and showed off new crosswalks and roundabouts, center medians, and wider sidewalks, along with other upgrades.

Sam Sprague, owner of Micano Home and Garden in the Midtown District, said “It’s like a whole new world — what we had always dreamed of Reno being like.

Having wider sidewalks and a cleaner atmosphere to walk in and feel safe, I’m having a lot more hope than I ever felt when I had three feet (wide) of sidewalk. I’m seeing a lot more smiles out there and a lot more people. Business is up at least 35%, which is pretty big.”

For many businesses, it was a difficult journey while the project was going on. Prior to completion, many retailers in the area were struggling to lure customers to their doors. Kayla Sisson, co-owner of JoStella Coffee Co., opened her store on the corner of South Virginia and St. Lawrence Avenue just one year before SNC construction crews began their work.

“It was really hard because people didn’t want to come here because it was just orange cones and one-way streets and it was really intimidating for customers,” said Sisson. “It was hard to have a new business in the midst of that, and it went on for years.”

With the streets reopened and parking cleared, there’s nothing holding customers back from making it their first stop on a shopping day in Midtown.

“It’s kind of a destination now, where people come to Midtown, they walk around, grab coffee, they go to the shops, so it’s been really great,” said Sisson, noting JoStella Coffee’s sales are up 100% compared to January 2019. “The wide sidewalks really help. And just the fact that it’s an open new road and accessible, that’s all we ask for.”

Many businesses were forced to be creative and adapt to the pandemic, but the ever-present theme amongst Midtown entrepreneurs was hope and optimism. Especially now with two years of construction wrapped up and the pandemic coming to an end, there is a fresh feeling in the air. Some of the sidewalks before construction were 12 to 16 inches wide, and now they’re six feet (if not wider) making the area more walkable and more welcoming.

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Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

http://nealfincher.com/

https://www.snphomes.com/

Reno Now 4th Best Performing Large City in USA

The 2020 Milken Institute Best Performing Cities Report came out and Reno, Nevada once again is #1 in Job Growth and has moved up from #11 Best Performing to now 4th Best Performing Large City behind Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah.

If you start hearing people talk about Austin, remind them we are not too far behind. Reno is 4th in wage growth and 2nd in high tech Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. Metros are ranked on their performance, while indicators help identify the drivers behind their success or failure.

Key Findings

  • San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA, regains the crown as the best-performing large metro after 2014. The skilled workforce, abundant venture capital, and innovation and entrepreneurial culture support regional high value-added industries, including the expanding tech and biotech industries. The metro’s excellent performance in our five-year high-tech GDP growth (ranked first) illustrates this point.
  • Twenty-one top-performing large metros return from our 2018 Best-Performing Cities index. A substantial number of them are metros with dynamic tech sectors, including San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA; Provo-Orem, UT; Austin-Round Rock, TX; and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA. Others, like Reno, NV, continue to develop a diverse industrial base while experiencing rapid growth in the advanced manufacturing and technology sectors.
  • California secured four (San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA; Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, CA; and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA) of the top 25 spots among large metros. The Bay Area in Northern California consistently shows economic excellence powered by high value-added industries.

Biggest Gains

  • Recent rising demand in energy and natural resources, such as coal and natural gas, uplifts several resource-dependent metros in our index, including Tuscaloosa, AL; Grand Junction, CO; Odessa, TX; and Wheeling, WV-OH.
  • The Wheeling, WV-OH, metro is the biggest gainer among all metro areas in our index, jumping 111 spots to 70th place.
  • Other big gainers include California-Lexington Park, MD, and Clarksville, TN-KY, two regional economies anchored by the defense industry.
  • Still, other big gainers, including Sebring, FL; Carson City, NV; and Kingston, NY, have health care, retirement communities, and tourism driving their economic growth.

Thanks to EDAWN (Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada) for sharing this great report!

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Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

http://nealfincher.com/

https://www.snphomes.com/

EDAWN’s Plan for Zero Homelessness

Zero homelessness is possible. According to the New York Times, “nine communities in the United States have reached a rigorous standard known as ‘functional zero’ for chronic homelessness – a standard that indicates homelessness is rare.”

In the healthcare sector, a collaborative methodology was first pioneered to keep infectious diseases from spreading. The sole existing program that has proven to reduce or eliminate homelessness over time is a similar methodology. Here in the Reno community, there are more than 1,000 men, women, and children that are homeless. In order to combat this, there needs to be a plan rather than accepting the difficult problem as unsolvable.

In an article from EDAWN, they outline six critical phases to address the problem of homelessness:

Phase One: Prevention, coordination, and planning.

“There are things we are already doing to prevent long-term homelessness. A great example is the relocation and expansion of the Eddy house, with a new focus on training homeless youth to help them acquire the skills they need to get a job to escape a life of chronic homelessness. As for planning, over the past year, our local governments established the Community Homeless Advisory Board (CHAB), which meets regularly to work collaboratively to develop solutions. The CHAB commissioned a study by OrgCode Consulting, implemented some of the report’s recommendations, and recently joined Built for Zero. This national program helps communities achieve the goal of ‘zero functional homeless.'”

Phase Two: Provide facilities that enable the separate of men and women/children.

“The Record Street campus is overcrowded and unsafe. With the state’s help, our local governments acquired the former Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services (NNAMHS) campus. The campus was recently renovated and now provides homeless women and children wrap-around services in a safe environment as they engage in programs that move them on a path to self-sufficiency.”

Phase Three: Acquire land near the downtown and relocate the Record Street shelter.

“Setting up a safe and drug-free campus that provides a place for all citizens experiencing homelessness requires a larger area. There are ongoing plans to set up a campus that offers tents, accommodates pets and even campers in a secure environment where shelter, feeding, security, and wrap-around services are readily available.”

Phase Four: Address the funding needed to execute the plan.

“While there is some funding available to address our homelessness needs, the growing number of camps and working homeless, some as a result of pandemic related unemployment, is a clear indication that we must do more. While emergency shelter and food are vital, we need adequately funded wrap-around services and programs to help the homeless address and cope with some of the root causes of chronic homelessness, like drug and alcohol addiction.”

Phase Five: Aggressive enforcement and maintenance of the effort.

“Once the resources are in place, we must redirect our homeless to the resources and facilities to survive first, and eventually thrive. Getting more ambassadors and adding river rangers will help us identify and address new homeless. By avoiding the costs associated with cleaning up homeless encampments, countless emergency room incidents, and the diversion of our policing efforts, we will save resources that can address other community needs.”

Phase Six: Increase affordable housing.

“We continue to fall short of our growing housing needs, causing the cost of housing to go up due to supply and demand. These rising prices make it more difficult, if not impossible, for many people to find a place to live. That is why we must make every effort to encourage and support more housing construction, especially affordable housing.”

What do you think of EDAWN’s Plan? Leave me a comment below!

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Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

http://nealfincher.com/

https://www.snphomes.com/

Creative Ways to Solve Nevada’s Affordable Housing Shortage

Affordable housing is defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development as housing the costs no more than 30% of a person or household’s income. For people in the lowest income brackets, that’s next to impossible amid a global pandemic and an unforgiving job market.

Reno’s housing marketing is in a period of historically low inventory. There are only 41 affordable housing units for every 100 renter households earning between 31% – 50% of the median income. There are only 27 affordable units for every 100 renters making 30% or less of the area’s median income (according to an analysis of Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS) data from 2010 – 2014).

In addition to the housing shortage, there were also more than 7,000 people estimated experiencing homelessness in Nevada as of January 2019, a number that is believed to be undercounted. Affordable housing seems to come with a negative perception, often hindering its creation, in addition to the costs and hurdles that exist for developers. Despite these challenges, housing advocates and nonprofits are working to address this critical need.

Some of the solutions offer a health care facility, others a drive thru tent, and still others tiny houses. Click here to read the full article of the movers and shakers in our area who are addressing the affordable housing shortage.

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Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

http://nealfincher.com/

https://www.snphomes.com/

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