Las Vegas Sun

November 20, 2018

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Two hotel plans pit NLV City Council against residents

While residents were questioning whether a proposed Station Casinos hotel on Craig Road is a "done deal," North Las Vegas City Council members Wednesday were giving an OK to a planned casino off Interstate 15.

During the regular City Council meeting, the members gave their approval for a two-year extension of time on a zoning change and special use permit for Hart Volland Enterprise's proposed casino on Losee Road.

Thomas Amick, who represents the land owner, said they are in negotiations with a casino operator and hope to bring final development plans for the council's approval in the coming months.

The two-year extension will fall in line with the deadline for the casino to be operating by Dec. 31, 2002, in order to comply with state Senate Bill 208.

Plans for the 5-acre parcel were approved before the bill, which restricts gaming to established corridors, went into effect Jan. 1, 1999. The state law requires any new neighborhood casinos to be built by 2002.

The Planning Commission turned down the request last month, arguing that a casino would create intense commercial activity, and adversely impact the surrounding industrial uses.

Councilwoman Shari Buck, who cast the lone vote against the project, said she believes the area is not well suited for a casino and that Losee Road is too narrow to accommodate the major traffic which a casino would bring.

Councilwoman Stephanie Smith said because the site is located in an industrial area, the casino is a perfect location far away from residential areas. The site is also zoned for gaming.

"We've planned for this to be gaming," she said. "At this point, to reverse ourselves is really foolish."

Just a few doors down, a group of residents were meeting with representatives from the Craig Ranch Golf course about a proposed Station Casinos' operation near their neighborhood.

Steven Russel, who lives across from the project at Craig Road and Commerce Street, said if the casino is approved he will sell his home. When he purchased his home five years ago, the surrounding area was zoned residential, not gaming. Now he could face a five-story hotel.

"I don't like the idea because my kids are going to be walking down (Commerce) to get to school," he said. "My concern is more of a family-style living instead of a casino-style living."

A majority of residents, though, agreed that the golf course was the better location for the hotel and conceded to the fact that either way, a hotel will be built.

The original site already approved for Craig Ranch Station is off Craig Road and Martin Luther King Boulevard -- just 60 feet from residential neighborhoods.

One resident said, "It's either here (on the golf course) or it's going to be somewhere else. You either get this or you get a strip mall. This is a good plan."

Others pointed out the amenities that will be part of the hotel, including a movie theater, bowing center and restaurants.

Cecil Jennings isn't so convinced. Employed at the Summerlin Medical Center, he said the city should be bargaining for more hospitals, rather than relying on casinos for income.

"They should be soliciting businesses that are really going to benefit the neighborhoods," he said. "Why is it the only thing we can get is a casino? We all have to bow down to the casinos because we say our whole existence depends on them. That's so sad."

The golf course owners, Stimson Enterprises, Inc., plan to appear before the Planning Commission Nov. 8 for a final development plan and a gaming permit.

Station Casinos will also be contractually bound to the project. The company has said if it is permitted to build on the golf course, it will give up its rights to the property off Martin Luther King.

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