Originally published by Jeff Gillan, News 3 Las Vegas
Wednesday, December 14th 2016
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — That plan spelled out some of the conditions developers, Jim Rhodes has to follow as he builds on an old mine, a plan that limited development to five-thousands homes, which would be just over the hill from Trent and Sheila Billingsley….who have called Blue Diamond, Red Rock home since 1995.
“So we won’t actually see a house on this cliff face – it’s all on the inside. But you would see it. You would see the light, you would see the pollution, and it’s right there. I mean, you don’t hide Boulder City…it’s not a secret,” Sheila Billingsley told me, as we took a tour down a quiet Blue Diamond Street.
The group’s president, Heather Fischer, says that’s not fair.
“We want to say when he asks for a zone change, we want to be able to say, for this area, that’s not appropriate. that’s all we’re asking for,” Fischer told me. For her, this battle is personal and started when a friend was killed by a construction truck on State Route 159 through Red Rock Canyon in 2003. Opponents of development worry a new housing development could bring hundreds of cars through the canyon. “This canyon needs to be an escape. It needs to be a place where people can get away from the city, and come out and enjoy nature and not deal with another city on top of it,” said Fischer.
Krater says Rhodes has been sensitive to what his Blue Diamond neighbors want.
“We continue to be committed to an open, honest and constructive dialog,” he told me. As for the development itself, “we think it’s very appropriate given the setting, and given the fact that we have not a natural site, but we have a site that’s been denuded by 80 years of strip mining activity,” said Krater.
In its filing, the Clark County says Rhodes subsequent filings met deadlines that kept the 2011 Concept Plan in force. In 2016, Rhodes filed another concept plan, which the Clark County Planning Commission denied on the basis that it did not meet current land use requirements for the property. The County is asking a judge to decide whether the Planning Commission denial was correct.
Meanwhile, Shelia Billingsley is upset at the county. “They’re really…feels like they’re choosing sides. Yes, when you read it, they’re definitely choosing sides,” she says.
A county spokesperson says the legal move is simply an effort to protect the county, should legal issues arise down the road.
In the meantime, this battle over the building, which has been going on for years, moves again to court and at the Blue Diamond General Store, clerk Michele Schaffer is watching.
“I don’t know that we can stop it. We’re going to make one gallant effort,” said Schaffer.