AB 277 is an act relating to land use planning, including restricting certain powers of local governments with regards to the planning, subdivision regulation, and zoning of lands located in national recreation areas, national conservation areas, and adjacent lands.
Sections 1-4 of this bill further defines the authority of local government in this State to enact certain changes relating to planning, subdividing, and zoning of certain lands located within any national recreation area, national conservation area or adjacent lands.
Section 5 of this bill repeals certain provisions of the Red Rock Canyon Recreation Area and Adjacent Lands Act which the Court held unconstitutional, and also repeals certain provisions of the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area Act.
We have an obligation to protect our public lands and conservation areas so future generations have the same opportunity to enjoy these beautiful and awe-inspiring lands that we do. Throughout the last couple of decades, there have been various efforts to deter developing and altering these iconic lands, including the Red Rock Canyon Recreation Area and Adjacent Lands Act and the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area Act.
- The Red Rock Canyon Recreation Area and Adjacent Lands Act and The Spring Mountains National Recreation Area Act were deemed necessary in 2003 and 2009, respectively, because of “the unusual beauty and…the rapidly increasing population and growth in the region around” both national conservation areas.
- The regulations within each act prohibited the use of any part of land situated within the national conservation area from being used for non-recreational purposes; it prohibited excavation, extraction or erection of any structure.
- Within those regulations, there were limitations. In regulating, local government shall not: increase the number of residential dwellings, establish any new nonresidential zoning restrictions nor expand the size of any nonresidential zoning district.
- In the Red Rock Canyon Act, the local government shall at its discretion, regulate landscaping, buffering, screening and signage.
- However, the Red Rock Canyon Act was found unconstitutional by the Nevada Supreme Court because it was a “local or special law” prohibited by Article 4, Section 20 of the Nevada State Constitution. “It was written too narrowly and only applied to the area near Red Rock, and violated the constitutional requirement that laws passed by the Legislature have general application.”
We believe that no local government should be able to encroach on our nation’s natural gems by enacting changes that would allow development in or around areas recognized for their beauty and importance to our natural heritage. Conservation areas like Black Rock Desert, Red Rock Canyon, and Sloan Canyon are staples of Nevada’s shared natural heritage. We cannot continue down the path of destructive development of these beautiful and iconic parts of our state.
AB 277 addresses the problems Red Rock Canyon Recreation Area and Adjacent Lands Act had by:
- Including ANY land located in or adjacent to a national conservation area in the State of Nevada – recognizing the necessity to protect these precious lands across the Silver State.
- These areas have been designated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as containing “some of the West’s most spectacular landscapes.” Currently, there are three national conservation areas in Nevada: Black Rock Desert-High Canyon, Red Rock Canyon, and Sloan Canyon, and several national recreation areas including Lake Mead, Spring Mountains, and Lahontan State.
- “The National Conservation Lands are a permanent, innovative and distinctive system of protected public lands and waters that stands proudly alongside the National Park System and the National Wildlife Refuge System as part of our national heritage.”
We have an obligation to protect our public lands and conservation areas so future generations have the same opportunity to enjoy these beautiful and awe-inspiring lands.