Red Hawk suggested converting more than 25 acres of Open Space for about 70 new villages. The two entities entered into two separate residential construction tax agreements that required Red Hawk to build five local parks, the first two parks using a reimbursement agreement and the remaining three through a credit agreement.
According to City of Sparks staff, Red Hawk Park and Rose Garden were built and completed by the developer using a pay-per-building-permit method in which $1,000 was given to the city for each new home building permit. Though the third park, Pelican Park, was built the city said “it was not constructed in accordance with City standards nor was it ever dedicated to the city,” like the first two parks.
“When we got park three the developer sold the land to the developer who constructed the park, which was Silverado LP,” said Tim Thompson, senior planner for the city. “The developer was still responsible for building that park when they sold it because it was owned by Silverado who lost the land and it reverted to the county.”
Thompson said the city spent about $200,000 bringing the park up to code after purchasing it from Washoe County in an auction. He compared the agreement to giving Red Hawk a credit card with $1.2 million on it that was supposed to be used to build three parks. He said the city cannot agree to deal out more land to the developers when they have not lived up to their end of the bargain.
“They are supposed to build us a park. They didn't do it,” Thompson said of the situation. “What we are saying is we can't count that park because it was not dedicated to the city like the agreement stated. The next park should be build Silverton Shores Park. An argument can be made that it is considered as park three.”
Although Red Hawk Land Company did not return requests for interviews, a letter dated March 26 to the Sparks Planning Commission and City Council and sent from representative Jackie Seeno worded the group’s position on the issue.
“Staff’s current recommendation for denial contradicts its previous recommendations to the Planning Commission and the Planning Commission’s recommendations for the City Council,” Seeno wrote. “Staff had always known the facts on the parks and the claimed issues (mainly timing) throughout the process of development at Wingfield Springs. Any issues with the parks can only be solved with the tentative approval of the Handbook Amendment.”
Seeno went on to discuss the status of the remaining parks and stated that park three was constructed and acquired by the city in a tax sale who then put it in service including its maintenance. Seeno said construction has begun on Silverton Shores Park and said it will be completed before the issuing of building permit 2,200. Currently 1,999 building permits have been issued in the surrounding area.
“Staff was in full control of issuing the residential building permits to the permit applicants (in most instances to applicants other than Red Hawk),” Seeno said, “Granting at the time of building permit issuance the tax credits for park construction. The park issues that staff is now reporting as ‘new’ would have surfaced in 2004, around the timeline for park three. If these issues are in fact real, then staff has failed in exercising its duties and may have wrongly issued tax credits, thereby depleting the land available to Red Hawk.”
Seeno wrote in the letter that Red Hawk “strongly disagrees” with the city’s position and the land company fully plans to defend their position in the issue. The item, per the Sparks City Council, has been tabled until further notice and the council instructed the two entities to work together to find a solution.