Help Us Preserve the Red Rock Overlay!
The Public Comment Period for Transform Clark County is now Open!
PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS ON THE RED ROCK OVERLAY BY MARCH 23!
WHAT IS HAPPENING?
SRR is encouraging participation in the “Transform Clark County” public comment period, in order to keep protections in place for the Red Rock Overlay. In reviewing the new draft, our experts noticed an important protection was removed (see Background), so your comments are important!
WHAT CAN I DO?
- Click on the button below to be directed to Transform Clark County comment site
- Search for Page 87 “Red Rock Overlay”
- Click on the Section Title and voice your comments in support of keeping Red Rock Rural!
SAMPLE COMMENT: “The protection from clustered development should not be removed from the Red Rock Overlay (section 30.48.330). Removing the protections or allowing the trading of development credits would open the door for smaller lot, higher-density development around Red Rock Canyon, which I am not in favor of.”
The “Red Rock Overlay” section of the Clark County development code provides protection for our beloved Red Rock Canyon. The existing Red Rock Overlay Section 30.48.330 has Site Development Standards that have been removed from the new draft. The pertinent clause that was removed states:
“Clustered development shall only be considered in conjunction with an approved major project…and may only be permitted within a specific development and then only if the overall density distribution results in a project site plan consistent with the goals and policies of the overlay district.”
If this important protection is eliminated, Red Rock Canyon would be vulnerable to multiple subdivisions with lot sizes inconsistent with the rural zoning. Clustered development — also known as Planned Unit Development, or the trading of development credits — allows houses to be built close together on smaller lots like they are in the more suburban parts of Las Vegas.
We believe that allowing the trading of development credits is inconsistent with the goals and policies of the Red Rock Overlay and is a threat to the area’s environmental health and recreational safety.
IF YOU AGREE, PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS TO THE PUBLIC RECORD. THANK YOU!
The Clark County Commissioners are rewriting Title 30 through Transform Clark County and considering changing the Red Rock Overlay, a set of protections adopted into the building code to keep the area rural. Commissioner Justin Jones presides over the Red Rock Canyon area and needs to know that you support these protections.
What’s Happening and Why?
In 2001, Clark County worked with the community to provide zoning protections for Red Rock Canyon. A gradual transition area was patterned successfully after other cities in beautiful, natural and sensitive areas like Phoenix and Sedona. After two years of public participation, the Red Rock Overlay Development guidelines were added to Title 30. The purpose was to develop design standards in and around the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area to minimize visual impact, maintain rural character, preserve wildlife habitat, prioritize safety on the scenic byway and minimize traffic impacts.
How does the Red Rock Design Overlay District protect Red Rock Canyon?
The private lands in and around Red Rock Canyon are subject to a rural design standard which:
- Protects existing rural zoning by prohibiting increases in density and intensity.
- Protects recreational safety by limiting additional ingress and egress from SR 159
- Preserves the rural atmosphere by prohibiting clustering, a development technique which allows for condensed urban spacing and increased density.
- Complements conservation by requiring a natural building envelope around all new construction which preserves animal migration corridors and the rural and scenic character of the area.
- Protects the view shed with ridgeline and height restrictions and low level lighting.
- Minimizes traffic impacts by prohibiting new nonresidential areas.
- Complements the natural environment with color palettes and architectural guidelines.
- Promotes eco-friendly landscaping with native desert plants and the prevention of non-native, invasive species.
These guidelines have been followed successfully for over 20 years. But now that Title 30 is being re-written, these protections are at risk. The harmful impact of non-rural, urban-style development in and around Red Rock Canyon would be irreversible. Your letter allows your voice to be heard. It is imperative that we ask Clark County to preserve these last remaining rural protections. The future of Red Rock Canyon is at stake.
Gypsum Resources Development Plan
On 10-4-22 a subdivision phase 1 project of 429 homes on 671 acres on Blue Diamond Hill was conditionally approved by the Clark County Commissioners. But for 20+ years, the public support to Keep Red Rock Rural remains united and strong! We are so grateful for your participation in writing letters, signing petitions and showing up to make your voice heard. This is one step in a long, complicated process and the fight is not over yet!
So, what’s next for development around Red Rock Canyon?
Here’s what you need to know
Support for Red Rock was Strong
The people who love Red Rock Canyon are strong and unified. There was a huge public outcry in opposition to the October 4th Red Rock Canyon subdivision application
- 1064 emails were sent to Clark County Commissioners
- 2421 petition signatures were collected
- Four rows of Save Red Rock people filled the Clark County Commissioners meeting chambers
Save Red Rock is a proponent of compliant rural development only, and has a history dating back to 2002 facing many housing proposals, from the initial Master Planned Community of 8,400 homes on 3,000 acres, to the current phase 1 project of a 429 home subdivision on 671 acres. During those 20 years there has been much litigation and Gypsum Resources is currently suing Clark County over these parcels.
Support Our Efforts!
We are always working to preserve Red Rock’s Rural landscape. Please support our ongoing efforts to maintain safety and serenity within this sacred land through advocacy, conservation, education and more.
This is Not a Done Deal
A series of conditions imposed by county commissioners must be met before final approval, including federal approvals, before any construction can begin. This phase 1 project is surrounded by National Conservation Area and assumes the use of a busy National Scenic Byway for all of its construction and commuter traffic. Since BLM is a public agency, Save Red Rock will keep you informed of any proceedings.
What is a Conditional Approval?
The October 4th subdivision application received an approval from the Clark County Commissioners with conditions that must be met prior to a full approval. In addition to compliance with federal law, the major conditions placed on this application include:
- No additional density will be allowed without proper land use approval
- Traffic study and compliance
- This application must commence within 4 years of approval date or it will expire
- Demonstrate paved legal access
- Fire/emergency access must comply with the Fire Code
Save Red Rock will continue to be vigilant to ensure that each condition is adhered to without request for waivers. Gypsum Resources has previously requested Waiver of Conditions in 2011 and 2019. At the October 4th hearing Commissioner Jones was direct with the applicant documenting the Applicant’s full understanding and acceptance of the conditions which helps prevent requests for future waivers of conditions.
How Does the Law Protect Red Rock Canyon?
Red Rock Canyon is protected by three major documents:
- Clark County Title 30 Development Code
- Red Rock Overlay within the Title 30 Development Code
- The 2010 Settlement Agreement between Gypsum Resources and County of Clark
Save Red Rock believes that the October 4th subdivision application conflicts with the law as determined by these three documents. However, the County Commissioners were instructed by the Chief Deputy District Attorney that there was not a conflict. This resulted in an unanimous and conditional approval by the Clark County Commissioners.
The applicant now has the task of complying with the conditions attached to this phase 1 subdivision approval. Save Red Rock will be informing and instructing everyone on each opportunity to fight to keep Red Rock Rural and protect Scenic Byway 159.
Save Red Rock has fought to protect the canyon on several fronts, with the community efforts resulting in many significant victories over the years, including lowering the speed limit on the scenic byway, creating safe 8-foot wide bike lanes, safety fencing for the wild burros and mustangs near the highway, and more accomplishments that can be found in our accomplishments page. Currently, Save Red Rock is fighting to KEEP RED ROCK RURAL, to preserve the rural character of the canyon, and to keep out future high density and commercial developments that would adversely impact the experience. Save Red Rock is working to notify people of the current threat of a zone change proposal in the canyon from rural to high density development that county commissioners will vote on soon. (See take action page.) If commissioners change a developer’s rural zoning to high density, he proposes to build a city of over 3,000 residents, businesses, and commercial institutions in Red Rock Canyon.
Top ways you can help:
Hear Both Sides of the Issue:
The developer’s presentation is at minute 0:20:00 and goes for about 40 minutes. The public response begins at: 1:02:15, starts with an adorable girl who fought her way to the front of the line to testify of her love of Red Rock (I vote for her!), proceeds with about 90 minutes of public testimony (everyone with different concerns, everyone with the same love of Red Rock), and ends with a plea to not approve this concept because you can’t bring back the character of Red Rock once this has been developed and you can’t unscramble the egg. click to see the video
See developer’s proposed plan and location map in this video:
What would allowing Southern Nevada’s third largest city to be built in Red Rock do?
- allow doughnut hole development miles from the nearest infrastructure
- favor a single developer over the public interest (of over 20,000 in opposition to this zone change)
- change the rural character of the canyon
- penetrate the mountain that blocks the canyon from the city, with another city
- introduce the congestion, haze, noise, and traffic that accompany high density development
- flood the dark sky in the canyon with light pollution from thousands of headlights
- cost taxpayers millions to maintain the infrastructure and pump the water 1000 feet up the hill
- impact and endanger tourists and locals seeking to enjoy the natural beauty of Red Rock Canyon with increased traffic volume and disparity
- impose an additional 10-15,000 cars each morning and night from their proposed 6 lane highway to the 4 lane SR 160
- choke the already-congested 2 lane corridors in the Southwest and Mountain’s Edge areas, such as Fort Apache, Durango, Buffalo, and Rainbow
- penetrate 2 major open space reserves, Arden Ridge Open Space and the Southwest Ridge Recreation Area
- directly overlook Red Rock Canyon’s only campground
- forever change the Las Vegas sunset view and natural skyline
- violate the Clark County Title 30 guideline to “correspond with the character and physical limitations of the land”
- violate the Clark County Title 30 guideline to “encourage the most appropriate use of land throughout the county”
- violate the Clark County Title 30 guideline to “protect existing neighborhoods and communities, including the protection of rural neighborhoods”
- violate the Clark County Title 30 guideline to “otherwise further the general prosperity, health, safety, and welfare of the community”
- create liability for the county with concurrent mining, building, and residential conditions
- violate the 2014 Clark County Comprehensive Master Plan provision that “proposed developments be compatible with adjacent land uses”
- violate the 2014 Clark County Comprehensive Master Plan provision that “discourages urban sprawl”
- violate the 2014 Clark County Comprehensive Master Plan provision that “encourages new development to be around existing or future transportation corridors”
written by Trent Billingsley and Heather Fisher, Nov. 17, 2016
A PERMANENT SOLUTION? We have dream — it is a long shot, but a “conservation easement” that could preserve lands surrounded by the Red Rock NCA once and for all. Learn more about the Conservation Easement ultimate solution and tell your County Commissioners to give the Nature Conservancy and others time to study this option.
Conservation easements protect land for future generations
- A conservation easement selectively targets only those rights necessary to protect specific conservation values, such as subdivision and high density development, and is individually tailored to meet a landowner’s needs.
- There is no one-size-fits-all conservation easement. Each one is individually tailored to meet conservation objectives and the needs of the landowner, such as the need to continue to derive income from the land through mining, at the same time potentially providing the owner with tax benefits.
- Because the land remains in private ownership, with the remainder of the rights intact, an easement property continues to provide economic benefits for the area in the form of jobs, economic activity and property taxes.
- A conservation easement is a legally binding agreement on the land in perpetuity. A conservation easement is legally binding, whether the property is sold or passed on to heirs.
- The rights conveyed in a conservation easement, such as the right to subdivide, have been established over two decades of case law as having real value.
- Conservation easements do not mean properties are automatically opened up to public access unless so specified in an easement.
- 3.2 million acres are currently held under conservation easement by the Nature Conservancy.
- All information from The Nature Conservancy website.