Messing up the Miramonte madness

On the up side, more than 150 of my neighbors showed up for the meeting with developers at Bud Beasley Elementary.

The parking lot was crammed. My daughter and I arrived as introductions were concluding.

“… And my last name is Mud, I guess,” said a chuckling developer. The joke didn’t fly. No easy crowd here, buster. Not when you want to toss up another 1,000 homes in our overbuilt neck of the woods.

Sure, it’s not nearly as horrifying as the 9,000-home community proposed for the Martis area. But no one in these parts is excited about glowing plans for Miramonte, a proposed hilly subdivision with 986 homes and possible 736 apartments off Los Altos Boulevard in Far East Sparks.

“How can we stop it?” one man asked.

One of the developers smirked, hah, hah. “You can purchase these properties to the east and decide you don’t want to develop it.”

Not funny. And not fully true. The planning and engineering folks at Wood-Rodgers, the company working on the project, have plenty of flaming hoops through which they must jump.

On Sept. 16, they’ll be in front of the Sparks Planning Commission asking for a Master Plan amendment to change the land use designation from lovely “open space” to less desirable “estate density residential” and far nastier “high-density residential.” The meeting’s at 7 p.m. at Sparks City Hall, 745 Fourth St. There’ll be a public comment time.

Developers need the area rezoned and annexed to Sparks. They need a special use permit for building on slopes of 10 percent or greater.

With organized opposition at every single city meeting, neighbors, you can keep the heat on.

OK, so here’s my critically thinking daughter. “We built our house here,” my daughter asked. “How can you tell other people they can’t build their houses here?”

Well, yeah, there’s that. I’m not a fan of nimbyism and not exactly against 1,000 homes and another multi-family apartment complex sharing my hill.

I am against another 1,600 cars sharing my morning traffic jam.

“What about traffic?” a brave soul asks. Cheers and applause. The developer mumbles something about the timing of traffic lights. Heh.

Maybe you’ve experienced something like driving on Los Altos at 7:30 a.m. At times, you’ll wait through three or four stoplights to get on Vista. Then the trek to I-80 is worse with all the Wingfield Springers on the road.

Getting back home, you avoid I-80’s Vista off-ramp and take McCarran to Greg Street. Hah! You fool! Everyone else is doing the same. The line to turn onto Greg from McCarran during rush hour inches along for what feels like hours.

Also, I’m worried about hundreds more students in already overcrowded schools. How about we require developers to pay for fresh new middle and high schools?

Mendive Middle is packed beyond its gills. The school, built for 950 students, has 1,166. Reed High, built for 2,175, has 2,328—more angst-ridden teens than any other high school in the district.

Then there’s construction traffic, water, fire protection and damage to what’s left of nature out here. We used to have deer and coyotes. Haven’t heard much howling lately.

Finally, there’s a widespread complaint that, when some bought their homes, real estate agents appeared to have said that the land to the east was owned by the Bureau of Land Management and wouldn’t be developed. (We recall being told something similar.)

Not true. Barker’s owned most of the land since 1991.

Hmm, class-action lawsuit?

We hissed and booed. Developers looked uncomfortable. That gave me Hope. My daughter, though, experienced Pity.

“I kind of feel sorry for them,” she said.