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Red Rocks under imminent threat of development
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ericandlucie


Jul 28, 2011, 7:54 AM
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Red Rocks under imminent threat of development
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This is getting serious: please read this post http://www.mountainproject.com/...evelopment/107227001 and get involved!


edge


Jul 28, 2011, 8:10 AM
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Re: [ericandlucie] Red Rocks under imminent threat of development [In reply to]
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Direct link: http://saveredrock.com/


In reply to:
Rhodes submits revised plan for developing Blue Diamond Hill

By Scott Wyland
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

Posted: Jul. 7, 2011 | 2:02 a.m.
Updated: Jul. 7, 2011 | 7:41 a.m.


Picture 7,000 homes in multiple villages complete with a town square, schools, a college campus, light-industrial shops, stores, restaurants, offices, spas and parks atop a mesa.

That's what Jim Rhodes envisions in a conceptual plan he submitted to Clark County for developing 2,500 acres of hilltop land overlooking the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

It's the latest plan for Rhodes, who has incited public outrage more than once in his quest to redevelop the former gypsum mine near a scenic area popular for hiking, camping, picnicking and rock climbing.

This proposal's maximum density would have 1,500 more homes than a plan he floated in 2003 that called for 5,500 homes and caused an uproar.

A conceptual plan is a somewhat loose illustration mixed in with a wish list of what a developer would like to build on his land.

Still, the 78-page document contains descriptions, charts and maps outlining Rhodes' most ambitious vision yet for the site known as Blue Diamond Hill.

One thing absent in the plan is the estimated cost.

"We have begun to do cost analysis," said Ron Krater, a planner for Rhodes' company, Gypsum Resources LLC. "I don't have any of those figures with me."

He said 7,000 homes is the "maximum threshold," though he thinks that at least 5,000 are needed to make the project viable.

The goal is to break ground in 2013 and do the work in several phases, said Krater, adding that it could take as long as 30 years to complete.

The company's market analysts predict the housing market will rebound in 2015, about the time the project would really get going, Krater said.

"We've got to plan for the future because we're assuming we're going to have a future," Krater said.

The proposal is already drawing criticism from many of the 250 residents of nearby Blue Diamond. They contend that dense development would mar Red Rock's majestic beauty and diminish their rural way of life.

Building a small village -- or even several -- on the hilltop would be OK, said Heather Fisher, a Blue Diamond resident.

"But a small city?" Fisher said. "It's just absurd to put it right in the middle of Red Rock. It's the wrong location."

When you consider the households would have multiple residents and people would work at the proposed businesses and college, the hilltop could be jammed with 15,000 people on a given day, Fisher said.

Eight years ago, county commissioners voted to limit the density on Rhodes' land to one home for every two acres. The state passed a statute mirroring the county's code.

Rhodes later filed a lawsuit challenging the restrictions.

Last year, a federal judge struck down the state law and was preparing to rule on the county's code. That prompted commissioners to vote 4-3 to let Rhodes apply for higher-density use.

One condition was that Rhodes meet with the public extensively before submitting any plans.

In the past 18 months, his representatives, including Krater, hosted open houses, workshops and roughly 400 tours of the proposed site. They also formed a "strategic council" made up of business people, government officials, planners and residents to discuss the project.

Fisher argues that the workshops were a public relations ploy.

Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, who voted against rescinding the code, agreed.

"It's pretending that folks have input," Giunchigliani said.

She said Rhodes lacks the funding and has walked away from past projects, making such a huge venture risky.

Commissioner Steve Sisolak, who voted to loosen restrictions on Rhodes' land, said he was open to what Rhodes could offer, especially if he creates jobs by attracting businesses to the site.

And how much commercial development is feasible there?

"That's a decision made by the developer and the private sector," Sisolak said.

The plan describes creating a commercial core -- or miniature downtown -- and several commercial nodes with an array of stores, shops and other businesses. Houses would be clustered into compact villages, rather than scattered around the property.

The idea is to create a self-sustaining community in which people can shop, go to school and even work, rather than going to other places to meet their needs, Krater said.

But one development expert expressed skepticism about the project.

Getting water, power, sewer, roads and other infrastructure to this fairly remote place could cost $100 million, and that's before the first house is sold, said Jeff Rhoads, who owns Argonaut Co., a real estate consulting business.

The land also will require heavy restoration from the decades of mining, Rhoads said, making the investment more costly in a weak housing market.

"It doesn't pencil out," Rhoads said. "It would be poor public policy to approve a development like this at this time. It's an island development, well outside the urban area."

Rhoads said he suspects that the developer is trying to make the land more attractive so he can swap federal land closer to the city.

But Krater said the houses and businesses will combine to create a unique community. Rhodes won't simply be adding structures that already exist in the area, he said.

"It must be at a higher concept, or else it will languish, just as a lot of the stuff did in Las Vegas," Krater said.

Contact reporter Scott Wyland at swyland@review journal.com or 702-455-4519.




Kartessa


Jul 28, 2011, 8:11 AM
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Re: [edge] Red Rocks under imminent threat of development [In reply to]
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Any way to say that as a foreigner, this development will directly affect how/where I spend my money, as I would no longer plan to vegas/red rocks should they ruin the place?


rangerrob


Jul 29, 2011, 5:02 PM
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Sonds to me like there will be some quality weekend houses for rent within walking distance of the cliffs! How many here have seen the eyesore that that old mine is?? How could a development look worse?


ceebo


Jul 31, 2011, 7:38 AM
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Why is this a big deal?.


Partner rgold


Jul 31, 2011, 8:48 PM
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rangerrob wrote:
Sonds to me like there will be some quality weekend houses for rent within walking distance of the cliffs! How many here have seen the eyesore that that old mine is?? How could a development look worse?

Whoa Rob, this isn't a few weekend houses, it is 7,000 houses packed together as well as facilities and a college campus of some kind. This will push the city practically right up to the canyons. You're going to have 20,000 or so people who are now in "walking distance of the cliffs" as you put it. It doesn't really take any imagination to conjure up the problems this will cause, graffiti, garbage dumping, defecation, crime, not to mention things like the increased demand for water. Not to mention that a whole bunch of Las Vegas developments are currently in various stages of failure, with some left bulldozed but unfinished because of a lack of buyers.

It is true that the current gypsum mine appears as a white scar on the hillside, but that will be nothing compared to a small city up there.

As for the idea that viewsheds don't matter to wilderness areas---I can't believe you really believe this--it is in any case moot, because the developers themselves, Gypsum Resources LLC, have devoted an entire section of their proposal to an analysis of viewshed impact, complete with fancy GIS mapping to illustrate what will be visible from where. In other words, they have (I think hypocritically) made the viewshed issue a critical one in their own documentation, and therefore made the issue an appropriate one to argue about even for those who really think that pushing the city to the very brink of wild lands is of no consequence.

I characterized the Gypsum Resources document as hypocritical because their analysis is based on what will be visible from roadways below the level of the development. Motorists will be spared jarring views, but hikers and climbers up in the canyons and walls will of course see the whole mess, as well as having to deal with the tsunami of urban crap that will inundate the area if that thing is ever built.


(This post was edited by rgold on Jul 31, 2011, 9:23 PM)


Partner rgold


Jul 31, 2011, 9:20 PM
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Re: [Kartessa] Red Rocks under imminent threat of development [In reply to]
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Kartessa wrote:
Any way to say that as a foreigner, this development will directly affect how/where I spend my money, as I would no longer plan to vegas/red rocks should they ruin the place?

Of course there is a way. I've done it and you can too. Write an email to each of the commissioners who are charged with ruling in the application for extra housing density. I've already cross-posted my letter on two sites, so rather than doing it again, have a look at

http://www.supertopo.com/...id=1565955&tn=42

The other post is on page 2 of the Mountain Project thread; I don't know how to link any closer than the top of the relevant page:

http://www.mountainproject.com/...lopment/107227001__2


ericandlucie


Aug 1, 2011, 2:40 PM
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Re: [ceebo] Red Rocks under imminent threat of development [In reply to]
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ceebo wrote:
Why is this a big deal?.

Geeeze! Have you ever been to Red Rocks? Here's why:



Kartessa


Aug 18, 2011, 6:10 AM
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Meeting was yesterday, what's the word?


ericandlucie


Aug 18, 2011, 7:09 AM
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Re: [Kartessa] Red Rocks under imminent threat of development [In reply to]
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I am afraid the preliminary plan was approved... this is a sad day. Thanks to all who helped and don't give up.

details here: http://www.mountainproject.com/v/red-rock-threatened-by-development/107227001__10

This is not the end of the fight though. The developer now has to file a detailed plan and that will have to be approved in the future. Stay tuned.


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