Originally published by Kristy Totten, Nevada Public Radio
Dec 14, 2016
Tensions over construction on Blue Diamond Hill have once again flared.
The hill overlooks Red Rock Canyon and is the proposed site of more than 5,000 homes.
On one side of the issue is Gypsum Resources, the land owner and hopeful developer. On the other is Save Red Rock, a conservation group that opposes the project.
This past week, Clark County sued both. The complaints are solely focused on Save Red Rock, but Gypsum Resources is named to bind it to the court’s decision.
County spokesman Dan Kulin described the lawsuit as a legal filing to have the court clarify the county’s rights and responsibilities surrounding Blue Diamond Hill. He also said it’s an attempt to avoid future litigation.
Save Red Rock attorney Justin Jones told KNPR’s State of Nevada the lawsuit is an attempt to silence his group.
“The lawsuit itself, despite what the county PR guys have said, seeks to bar Save Red Rock from raising concerns with [Jim] Rhodes’ proposal before the county commission,” Jones said.
Las Vegas developer Jim Rhodes bought the land in the early 2000s and is a manager of Gypsum Resources.
In 2011, Gypsum Resources introduced a concept plan to develop Blue Diamond Hill, and the county commission approved it with conditions. Those conditions included reducing the number of houses; removing commercial and industrial spaces; and building an access road that connects to State Route 160 to minmize traffic through Red Rock Canyon.
The process was put on hold while Gypsum Resources tried to negotiate a land swap with the Bureau of Land Management, but those talks fell through.
This year, Gypsum Resources put forward a revised plan with the conditions the county commission required in 2011.
A major question in the lawsuit is whether Gypsum Resources’ 2011 concept plan is still valid. Save Red Rock says the plan is expired, but the county says it is not.
Jones said Clark County changed its position for this lawsuit.
“It’s not just me saying it’s expired,” Jones said. “The county itself, in its own agenda filings this year, and the developer, have both said that it expired in 2011.”
The county argues that if the 2011 concept plan is still active, Save Red Rock should not be able to raise issues with the most recent plan because it’s “substantially the same, if not identical” to the 2011 plan, which has already been approved.
Clark County and Save Red Rock also disagree on whether the land parcels on Blue Diamond Hill are contiguous — a requirement the county says is met — and whether or not the Clark County Planning Commission incorrectly recommended denial for the 2016 concept plan.
Jones said Save Red Rock plans to fight back.
“There is no question that, on the face of this complaint, that the county has taken a position in favor of the developer and against conservation organizations like Save Red Rock, who merely want to participate in the process.”