Las Vegas Sun

March 25, 2019

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Plans for former Old Vegas site worry residents

HENDERSON -- Now that the Planning Commission has recommended approval for gasoline sales and limited gaming on the former site of the "Old Vegas" theme park, River Mountain residents are concerned about what the future may hold for their neighborhood.

About two dozen River Mountain area residents have so far expressed concerns to commissioners about plans by Focus 2000 Inc. to sell the property.

If the City Council approved the new zoning, and the sale takes place, residents are concerned that new plans for the property may loom that will disrupt their neighborhood.

"If it was Focus 2000 that was going to be building the project, we wouldn't be here tonight," Suzanne DiNicola told the Planning Commission Thursday. "However, we are going to be dealing with many different developers."

Flying J, a developer of truck stops, has already expressed interest in the property, much to residents' dismay. DiNicola, for example, asked the Planning Commission to place conditions on any use permit for the property, specifically prohibiting free-standing diesel pumps and limiting the number of gas pumps.

"We don't want a truck stop with trucks going in day and night," she said.

Planning Commission Chairman Danny Sanders lives at River Mountain and vowed -- to applause from other residents -- that he would fight any truck stop proposed for that site.

Focus 2000 Inc. had requested a use permit for limited gaming on approximately 20 acres and gasoline sales on three acres as part of a 120-acre commercial project.

Attorney James Smyth, who represents the developer, said that his client has worked closely with the River Mountain Homeowners Association and has also constructed a wall to buffer the neighborhood.

Placing conditions on the use permit would be unnecessary now, Smyth maintained, because the project has to go back before the Planning Commission for an architectural review anyway.

Some of the commissioners, however, said conditions might be a good idea in light of the planned sale of the property.

"I think that this puts future owners on notice," said Commissioner George Bochanis. "We are looking at bigger issues here than whether a convenience store may have four or six gas pumps."

The "Old Vegas" site is located at 2440 S. Boulder Highway, with Wagon Wheel Drive to the north, vacant commercial property to the south, the Boulder Highway bypass to the east, and Old Boulder Highway and I-515 (U.S. 93/95) to the west.