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New bill would open land around Reno-Sparks to development

Senate Homeland Security
Greg Nash/Pool via AP
Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to discuss security threats 20 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Nevada Senator Jacky Rosen has unveiled a bill that would open thousands of acres of federal land around the Reno-Sparks area for development.

The long-awaited public lands bill, introduced by Rosen this week, is the first step toward expanding affordable housing in the area.

Most of the land in Nevada is owned by the federal government, which means development of those areas requires Congressional approval.

The Truckee Meadows Public Lands Management Act would open nearly 16,000 acres around the Reno-Sparks area to build more housing and spur economic growth. It also sets aside more than 900,000 acres for conservation and places more land into trusts for local tribes.

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Rosen said the main goal of the bill is to help ease the rising costs of housing.

“As I travel across Nevada, I hear from hard working families about the high cost of housing and rent. So by making land available for development, this legislation also will help increase the availability of housing and lower housing costs, while at the same time protecting hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands.”

Unique to this bill is a requirement that the county evaluate each parcel of land for affordable housing suitability before the county can sell it. Land purchased with the intent of building affordable housing will be sold at a discount.

All of the proceeds from the sale of federal land would also stay in the state.

Paul serves as KNPR's producer and reporter in Northern Nevada. Based in Reno, Paul specializes in covering state government and the legislature.