What: Reno Planning Commission Meeting
When: Wednesday, May 15, starting at 6 p.m.
Where: Reno City Council Chambers, 1 First Street

Reno Planning Commissioners will hear a presentation tomorrow night on the new Summit Club billboard which appeared last month hovering over Interstate 580 on property next door to Summit Mall and where apartments are under construction.

Scenic Nevada brought a photo of the new billboard to the Commission’s April 17 meeting and Commissioner Kevin Weiske asked staff for discussion on the billboard. We think the billboard permit may have been granted in error. The sign owner is Lamar Advertising and the billboard is located on property owned by Sierra Summit Club Apartments, LLC.

A public records request shows that the billboard permit was denied last November but after phone calls and emails from Lamar, the permit was granted the following month.

“I know that we went very meticulously through an LED (digital) sign that was proposed at Summit and it was denied,” Weiske said at last month’s meeting. “I’m not sure how this sign came up. I would like to discuss the proximity of the sign to the residential units and I would also like to be able to discuss conditioning future projects against billboards and (want to) know if that’s a legal option that we have in proposing conditions. And can we do that in the next 60 days, as it’s personally important to me.”

Summit Club Billboard

Item 5 on tomorrow night’s agenda is simply listed as “Off-Premises Advertising Display Presentation.” But city staff confirmed that the item is at Commissioner Weiske’s request and the Summit Club billboard will be discussed among other billboard issues. The staff presentation has not been posted on line as of late today.

No one can build a new billboard, unless they own unused permits that were left over when the city finally enacted the billboard ban adopted by voters in 2000. Lamar surrendered two to get the new permit to build the display along I-580.

Billboards are only allowed in certain commercial, industrial and mixed-use zones in Reno. The apartment property was re-zoned to mixed use, but billboards are prohibited if the previous zoning prohibited them. And we think billboards were prohibited at this location when it was part of unincorporated Washoe County. Reno annexed the property in 2005.

In addition, Lamar is required by state law to get a permit from the Nevada Department of Transportation because the billboard is located along I-580, which is under NDOT’s jurisdiction. Apparently, Lamar did not get a permit from NDOT before the billboard was constructed.

Scenic Nevada presented the results of our public records request to the city attorney’s office, planning staff and commissioners earlier this month. We’re hoping the discussion tomorrow night will include the issues we’ve raised. You can attend the meeting or to view the discussion online go to the city’s website tomorrow at 6 p.m.and click on video.