Las Vegas Sun

November 27, 2015

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Town board recommends against Wayne Newton museum

Wayne Newton Neighborhood Meeting

Entertainer Wayne Newton and his wife Kathleen listen to homeowner's concerns during a meeting at the La Quinta Inn Monday, September 20, 2010. Newton hosted the neighborhood meeting to discuss development plans that would include tours on his property. Launch slideshow »

Wayne's World

A jet plane can be seen on the property of entertainer Wayne Newton Tuesday, August 31, 2010. Newton, who lives at Pecos and Sunset roads, may create an attraction at the property which could include a museum and a theater where he'll perform after people complete a tour. STEVE MARCUS / LAS VEGAS SUN Launch slideshow »

Wayne Newton’s plan to build a museum and give tours of his home hit its first administrative speed bump on Tuesday when the Paradise Town Advisory Board turned down the entertainer’s application to the county.

After nearly three hours of discussion, in which dozens of residents spoke on both sides of the issue, the board voted to recommend denial of the application to the Clark County Comission, which will hear the item at its regular meeting on Nov. 17.

The commission, which considers the town board’s recommendation, will take a final vote for approval or denial.

Newton, who lives on 38 acres at the corner of Pecos and Sunset roads, did not attend Tuesday night’s meeting, although he personally hosted a neighborhood meeting in September. Jay Brown, a local attorney, and Greg Borgel, a prominent land use consultant, represented him.

Board members cited a concern for the project’s impact on the surrounding neighborhood, all of which is zoned for rural neighborhood preservation.

Newton’s plans call for a museum to be built north of Sunset Road, which is zoned for commercial use, and then buses would shuttle guests to Casa de Shenandoah for tours of Newton’s home and collections.

Newton would also headline performances in the museum’s showroom.

Although most people spoke to oppose Newton’s plans, a vocal minority praised the project for its ability to bring jobs to the valley — Newton has said the museum would provide about 400 jobs — and preserve the legacy of one of Las Vegas’s most famous entertainers.

Opponents wondered aloud how Newton’s property could be used for a commercial purpose. The official answer was: When a project is labeled as a museum, it is allowed to include residential property.

Residents from Equestrian Estates and Sierra Vista Ranchos, two nearby neighborhoods, said they worried such a prominent project — and the traffic it would bring — would infringe on the rural preservation zoning by exposing the area to heavy tourism.

Some questioned the traffic problems it could cause.

Newton proposed to privatize Tomiyasu Lane, which borders his property on the west, as a means of funneling the shuttle traffic and offered to pay for it. But residents along Tomiyasu vehemently opposed that plan, and the board also recommended denying Newton’s application to vacate the street.

Borgel suggested a gate on Sunset Road as an alternative. He estimated that buses would make six trips an hour. A comprehensive traffic study must be completed before construction could begin, according to county regulations.

Other people criticized Newton’s business partner, CSD, LLC, which is registered in Blanco, Texas, to Steve L. Kennedy for suing M.J. Harvey, a resident of the Paradise area who has spoke out against the project. The lawsuit accuses her of making false statements about the project.

One resident presented a letter that the company sent to Newton’s neighbors, which said the museum was “going to be built regardless” of the residents’ opposition.

Borgel pledged that Newton and CSD are willing to make compromises with the neighbors. He said the application — which included a use permit and 16 waivers of development standards — would be altered after the comments at Tuesday’s meeting before it was brought to the Nov. 17 commission meeting.

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