Las Vegas Sun

November 17, 2018

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Moapa Valley residents split over development

Moapa Valley residents left a packed county Zoning Board meeting divided over a proposed twin casino project that some fear will change the rural communities along the Muddy River.

Lanny Waite, Moapa Valley Township justice of the peace and a leading opponent, said after Wednesday's hearing that those protesting the project might sue to stop the development.

"We're looking at our legal options," he said.

Despite Commissioner Jay Bingham's request to have a rehearing of the project that features two 300-room hotels, the board refused.

County Commissioners, acting as the Zoning Board, allowed the project to proceed by a 4-2 vote. Bingham and Bruce Woodbury voted in favor of another hearing. Commissioner Lorraine Hunt was absent.

Charlie and Vera Hester, owners of the Glendale Motel and service station alongside Interstate 15 about 50 miles north of Las Vegas, plan to build a Palm Springs-type of resort on 151 acres spanning both sides of the highway, said financial backer Jerry Argovitz of Texas.

Argovitz, Terry Lee and local real estate developer Hal Ober are part of ITZ Corp., the company backing the project approved by the Zoning Board March 20.

Bingham voted for the project at the time, he said, because there was no outcry at the original hearing. After that hearing, a flood of protests prompted him to ask the board to let the residents debate the project in public.

"I hate to see a split valley," Bingham said.

Woodbury said he voted against the project originally because he feared the impacts of urban life might overwhelm the small, rural roadside community.

About 1,500 residents living near the project in the upper Moapa Valley support the project in general because of the 2,000 proposed jobs and economic growth.

Ann Schreiber, chairwoman of the Moapa Town Board, said those who have lived in the valley support the economic boost and jobs for their children.

"Now we have a chance to have our own," she said, referring to parks, a swimming pool and a sewer system that goes with growth.

Another 4,000 valley residents living in Logandale and Overton overwhelmingly opposed the casinos because it will change the small-town atmosphere of Glendale.

When Joyce and Brian Solomon moved there from Boulder City five years ago, the town reminded them of the small city 20 years ago, Joyce Solomon said after the hearing.

The plans call for two 4-story hotel-casinos, restaurants, bars, meeting rooms, retail areas and an 18-hole golf course.

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