Thursday, Nov. 9, 2000 | 11:09 a.m.
North Las Vegas residents filing out of City Hall Wednesday night were bewildered after hearing a proposal for a casino to be constructed near their homes at the Craig Ranch Golf Course.
Many could be heard saying, "How did this happen?"
They pointed out that they were good home hunters who researched the zoning surrounding their properties before buying a home near Craig Road and Commerce Street -- the land was zoned residential and commercial. Now they face the prospect of a five-story casino in their back yards.
Stimson Enterprises, owners of the golf course, appeared before the Planning Commission to ask for a gaming permit for a proposed Station Casinos property, but the decision was continued until Dec. 13. But not before nearly an hour of public comment, most of it opposition.
Residents living just 500 feet from the proposed casino were upset that the land is not zoned for gaming, leading many to believe they were misled when they purchased their homes.
"If this happens, I'm going to feel robbed," resident Linda Burx said. "I saved for three years -- now I feel like I'm going to be robbed of equity."
Others pointed out that nearby Paul Elizondo Elementary School is 2,500 feet away from the proposed casino and that the gaming establishment will affect children walking to school. According to state law, the property line of the casino must be 1,500 feet away from a school.
Planning Commissioner Anita Wood stressed that the city is stuck, because either way a casino will come in the area. The courts have ruled that the city must allow Station Casinos to build off Martin Luther King Boulevard and Craig Road.
Owners of the golf course believe they have the better location, and Station Casinos has said it will give up its right to the Martin Luther King parcel if it is allowed to build on the golf course.
Not all residents, though, were convinced.
"I am against gaming in my back yard," said Cheryl Davis, who lives 500 feet from the golf course site. "I think we are more impacted by this. I feel the other site (off Martin Luther King) is better. It is not right on top of schools."
Commissioner Tom Langford, who lives near the Martin Luther King site, said when it was approved he "fought like hell" to stop the inevitable.
"I think I would be a hypocrite if I did it in my neighborhood and not yours," he said.
Attorney Bill Curran, representing Stimson Enterprises, said the company has been working with residents for months on their concerns and has tried to make everyone happy.
"We think this is a positive enhancement for the neighborhood," he said. "The reason there is not a packed house is that we have had a lot of meetings with the citizens and we have tried to address their concerns."