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July 3, 2015

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County commission orders removal of hillside sign near Boulder City

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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 pair of powerful Las Vegas businessmen Wednesday morning lost their bid to keep a large sign for his shooting range painted on a hillside facing Boulder City.

That isn’t stopping Pete Eliades and Sig Rogich, whose Pro Gun Club sign is at the center of more than a year of controversy. After the Clark County Commission voted to force removal of the sign, which Boulder City residents called a visual blight, Jeremy R. Alberts, an attorney representing Eliades, promised a suit is on the way.

Eliades, known for owning the Olympic Garden strip club and other businesses, and Rogich, a longtime political consultant, are listed as the club’s officers in Secretary of State records.

By county code, the club has five business days before it has to remove the signage. If the club files an injunction against the county beforehand and a judge grants that injunction, the sign might remain until legal wrangling ends.

“It could be weeks, it could be years,” Alberts said of the length of future legal action.

Having spent past meetings talking about the pros and cons of the sign, commissioners engaged in little debate before Wednesday's vote. Two weeks earlier when the commission took up the sign, Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani was absent and the vote was tied 3-3.

She was present Wednesday, however, and after saying she watched debate on video from the previous meeting, she voted with those who opposed the sign.

The sign is on private property within an unincorporated area of Clark County. But elected representatives from Boulder City told commissioners the sign affected every resident their city, a bedroom community of 15,000 people.

“Everybody I talk to is opposed to this sign,” said Duncan McCoy, Boulder City city councilman. “Everybody in Boulder City hates this sign.”

The Pro Gun Club is within the district of Commissioner Mary Beth Scow. She reiterated her view that the sign “is illegal.”

“It was put up without any permits and its use of natural landscape for commercial purposes is something that I feel this board should not accept,” Scow said. Then she asked fellow commissioners to consider how they would vote if they faced the same issue in their own districts.

“Would this be something you would want to accept?” she said.

Commissioners Giunchigliani, Lawrence Weekly and Susan Brager joined Scow in voting against the sign.

Commissioners Tom Collins, Larry Brown and Steve Sisolak, who voted to allow the sign, said nothing. At a previous meeting, though, they expressed concern about the expense of a lawsuit filed against the county, that the sign might stay up forever if the county lost a lawsuit and that Boulder City wasn’t willing to pitch in money to help in a legal defense in case of a lawsuit.

Boulder City Mayor Roger Tobler promised, though, that should a lawsuit ensue, Boulder City attorneys would file a motion to intervene to assist the county.

Giunchigliani said Boulder City had some expertise in signage issues, having been sued in years past for not allowing certain signs on its roadways.

“Even though this is a county issue, we could be somewhat partners,” she added.

This was the commission’s third whack at the issue. The first came in June after the county Planning Commission approved the sign in a 5-2 vote. That vote went to commissioners for final approval, but they postponed a decision, saying they wanted to gather more information.

In discussion before the tie vote two weeks ago, Scow characterized the sign as “an overstep of decency to the community.”

After the sign first became an issue last summer, it has been reduced in size. While it first included a club name and a phone number, and it was on two hillside facets. That was reduced to just one hillside and the phone number was erased leaving just “Pro Gun Club.”

More recently, an offer was made to reduce the sign to just “Gun Club.” In addition, the offer was made to get rid of the sign in 2½ years, which is roughly the state’s timeline for building a highway bypass around Boulder City. The argument is that the bypass would bring the highway closer to the shooting range, negating the need for the sign.

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