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June 2, 2015

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Clark County Commission:

Tie votes leave gun club’s hillside sign standing, for now

Image

Leila Navidi

The Desert Hills Shooting Club sign is seen from the road in Boulder City on Thursday, June 21, 2012.

Desert Hills Shooting Club Sign

The Desert Hills Shooting Club sign is seen from the road in Boulder City on Thursday, June 21, 2012. Launch slideshow »
Clark County commissioner Mary Beth Scow

Clark County commissioner Mary Beth Scow

Pro Gun Club

A tie vote over removing a massive hillside sign resulted in a two-week holdover but gave a symbolic victory to a small Clark County community and provided evidence that a new county commissioner won’t back down even when facing powerful local forces.

At the end of more than an hour of testimony and debate Wednesday morning over the “Pro Gun Club” sign, which is on a privately-owned hillside facing Boulder City, six county commissioners twice voted to a tie, 3-3.

This was the second time the sign issue was heard by county commissioners; the first was in June after the Planning Commission approved the sign by a 5-2 vote. Commissioners in June postponed a decision to obtain more information.

While compromises were offered to limit how long the sign could be in place and its size, Commissioner Mary Beth Scow refused to accept them. Scow, who took office in January, represents the district in which the Pro Gun Club resides. The club was formerly known as the Desert Hills Shooting Club.

“I consider this such an … overstep of decency to the community,” she said before casting her vote. Lawrence Weekly and Susan Brager voted with her.

Commissioners Larry Brown, Steve Sisolak and Tom Collins saw it differently. They argued denying the gun club the right to the signage could result in a costly lawsuit.

In addition, Collins said, while Boulder City city officials argued against the sign, those same officials will not help cover the cost of a potential lawsuit by the gun club owners. The club’s officers are not lightweights in local business circles; they include Sig Rogich, an advertising executive involved in state and national politics for decades, and Pete Eliades, owner of the Olympic Garden strip club.

Brown also said if the county lost a lawsuit, the Gun Club might be able to keep the sign on the hillside forever.

Before any votes, compromises were considered.

The first was to decrease the lettering from “Pro Gun Club” to “Gun Club.” Then it would only be up for three years or until construction of the Boulder City bypass was completed.

Gun Club operators say the large sign is needed now because the club is so far from thruways. County staff, who recommended not to approve the sign, said the completed bypass would bring the highway closer to the shooting range, negating the need for the sign.

Scow made a motion to eliminate the sign, even with the changes. That failed in tie vote.

Then Sisolak made a motion to shorten the sign’s life to 2½ years, regardless of progress on the bypass. That also failed 3-3.

Commissioners then unanimously voted to hold the proposal for two weeks, when presumably all seven commissioners would be in attendance. Chris Giunchigliani was not present Wednesday due to a physical therapy appointment.

Eliades’ Olympic Garden reside within Giunchigliani’s district, but she has been known to speak out against signage she finds offensive, such as the mobile signs emblazoned with near-naked women that snake up and down Las Vegas Boulevard.

Boulder City officials after the meeting said they had no idea how Giunchigliani would vote. Mayor Roger Tobler called the arguments by some commissioners that the county already did so much for Boulder City and its population of 15,000 “offensive,” especially given that the sign is on county – not city – property.

Giunchigliani said later Wednesday she wasn’t sure how she would vote. “I have to listen to the tapes of the meeting and hear everyone’s arguments,” she said.

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