Las Vegas Sun

March 20, 2019

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NLV forced to approve casino plans

It took a court order to convince the North Las Vegas City Council Wednesday to approve a use permit for a neighborhood hotel-casino and entertainment complex.

District Judge Gene Porter ruled in January the council arbitrarily denied a special-use permit for NevStar Gaming and Entertainment Corp.'s NevStar 2000 project.

Despite a city attorney's argument that a use permit is not an entitlement, the judge said NevStar should be able to rely on the master plan and the city was wrong in denying the use permit.

The council originally voted down the $140-million project at Martin Luther King Boulevard and Coralie Avenue although it lies in the city's resort development zone.

City Attorney Richard Maurer told the council that while the court cannot issue use permits, it can and did direct the city to issue the permit.

Maurer told the council he recommended approval of the permit, which the council gave in a 4-0 vote. Councilwoman Paula Brown abstained because of a conflict of interest. There was no discussion.

NevStar spokesman Mel Close said after the vote the use permit will allow the company to secure financing and begin specific design planning for the project, which he has estimated could open in about four years.

About 50 residents at the October council meeting protested construction of the project. They cited increased traffic and crime as well as a drop in property values and possible future expansion of the casino as their main concerns.

Plans call for a 200-suite hotel, a 37,000-square-foot casino, a bowling center, a 12-screen movie theater, an arcade, retail shops, restaurants and meeting rooms.

Michael Signorelli, NevStar's chairman and chief executive officer, has said NevStar 2000 will bring the city 1,200 additional jobs.

NevStar owns the Mesquite Star hotel-casino in Mesquite.