by KTNV Staff
LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A member of the Clark County commission defends the approval of a proposed housing development near Red Rock Canyon after it got the green light from commissioners on Tuesday.
The project has been talked about for decades. It calls for the construction of 429 single-family homes on 671 acres of land on top of Blue Diamond Hill, near state Route 159 and Blue Diamond Road.
“Although I and my colleagues on the County Commission would rather see this land preserved, the applicant has property rights to build at the density he bought,” Commissioner Justin Jones (District F) stated after the vote.
Jones noted the 429 homes approved Tuesday is a significantly smaller number than the 5,000 homes previously sought by developer and owner Jim Rhodes, who has built other developments, including Rhodes Ranch. That application conformed to the zoning density for the property, Jones noted.
“By contract with the prior applications from the developer for higher density, this application was recommended for approval by County staff and, for the first time ever, by the Red Rock Citizens Advisory Council,” Jones stated.
In response to concerns raised by Red Rock advocates, commissioners imposed a condition requiring the developer to work with the Bureau of Land Management on access to state Route 159, since it currently only has right-of-way for mining operations.
The county commissioners also imposed the following four conditions:
- developer must cease mining operations before starting construction on any phase of residential development
- developer must perform drainage study and show compliance
- developer must perform traffic study (including traffic onto SR159) and show compliance
- developer must demonstrate code-compliant access for fire and emergency vehicles
“If the developer fails to demonstrate compliance with these conditions and to commence work within 4 years, the approval will expire,” Jones explained.
Rhodes and his team from Gypsum Resources were at the Tuesday zoning meeting. Lisa Mayo, a representative for Rhodes, said the development will be good for the area.
“Our buildings will blend in with the landscape. We aren’t going to have pink houses or purple houses,” Mayo said. “It will be very environmentally pleasing and a community that I think a lot of people will enjoy.”
Members of the conservation group Save Red Rock were at Tuesday’s meeting and spoke about their concerns with the project and accessing state Route 159.
“We never, in 22 years, never said ‘don’t build,’ we just said ‘build what you bought,'” said Heather Fisher, the group’s president. “Follow the Red Rock design guidelines, build it rural — we just don’t want them increasing zoning, adding extra houses, changing the rules.”
According to county commissioners, the Gypsum mine which is in that location now must stop production as the project gets underway.
“Our vote today, in line with Red Rock CAC’s vote, respected private property rights while ensuring that reasonable protections are in place for residents of the Blue Diamond and other patrons of Red Rock Canyon,” Jones stated.
Fisher says Save Red Rock still plans to fight the project.
Mayo, with Gypsum Resources, says the next step is to work on water and sewer for the development. They could see dirt moving in eight months, and opening in roughly two years.