A recent study commissioned by the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada projects that, based on current job growth trends, regional developers will absorb the most desirable land parcels to accommodate projects by 2027. Further, the 48-page “Northern Nevada Vacant Land Analysis: Inventory & Implications for Economic Growth & Development Report” projects available land for industrial development will run out by 2041 “if nothing is done to expand regional access to land.” The report, prepared Dec. 8 by Las Vegas-based firm RCG Economics, analyzes current supply of developable land in the so-called “EDAWN Services Area,” which includes the greater Reno-Sparks region, Tahoe Reno Industrial Center area of Storey County, City of Fernley and the Northern Nevada Industrial Center in Fernley. Of note, the study does not include land in Carson City, Carson Valley or other Northern Nevada regions. “The number of parcels to accommodate large-scale development in the near- and medium-terms is limited and will likely face supply constraints sooner than smaller parcels, especially since most of the larger parcels are 30 or more miles from Metro Reno-Sparks,” according to a Dec. 21 press release from EDAWN. According to the report, there are roughly 25,500 gross acres remaining of developable residential and nonresidential land in the EDAWN Services Area, representing less than 5 percent of the total acreage in the region. Of that acreage, only 9,700 is deemed to be “above average,” according to RCG Economics. Meanwhile, to meet the needs of expected residential and nonresidential growth by 2050, the region is projected to require approximately 24,300 developable acres — 20,700 acres of residential; 2,100 acres of industrial; and 1,500 acres of office & retail. “Therefore, based on the estimated 9,700 acres of more-desirable lands available, demand for those acres would exceed supply by 14,600 acres,” according to the report. “… Barring an increase in more-desirable land, that demand would have to be met using the 15,800 acres of less-desirable land remaining.” Considering that — and the fact EDAWN continues to attract companies to the region that bring thousands of new high-paying jobs each year — the report’s main recommendation is for Nevada’s congressional delegation to pursue changes to federal law via the Truckee Meadows Public Lands Management Act to expand Northern Nevada’s public land disposal boundary. “The main reason for the study was to quantify the need for more land in the region and provide the data needed to support the passage of the Truckee Meadows Public Lands Management Act,” Mike Kazmierski, President & CEO of EDAWN, said in a Dec. 21 statement. “Once approved, the Act will allow for the auction of federal land just east of the City of Sparks to increase our land supply, with the proceeds of the sales used to provide resources for parks, river protection, Lake Tahoe, wetlands and other enhancements to our quality of life. “Access to this land closer to the metro area will allow for our continued growth, while avoiding the negative consequences of urban sprawl.”
SNPLMA allows the Bureau of Land Management to sell public land within a specific boundary around Las Vegas; revenue is split among the State of Nevada General Education Fund (5%), Southern Nevada Water Authority (10%), and a special account available to the Secretary of the Interior for various public trails upgrades, capital improvement projects and more. Sponsors of the EDAWN study, meanwhile, include the cities of Reno and Sparks; Washoe and Storey counties; and several developers, companies and business organizations, including the Nevada Builders Alliance, Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors, Truckee Meadows Business Coalition and NAIOP Northern Nevada (Commercial Real Estate Development Association). “It is imperative that we maintain our region’s economic vitality and continue to diversify our region,” Elizabeth Fielder, Chair of NAIOP Northern Nevada, said in a statement. “As such, we are proud to present this study as clear, striking evidence that we are running out of land in our region. The only solution to our affordable housing crisis is to build more houses. And the only way to do that is to have more land to do so. “A federal lands bill will pave the way for more affordable housing and more jobs for our current and future residents.” Go to landsbill.org to learn more about the Truckee Meadows Public Land Management Act.