Friday, Nov. 21, 2003 | 11:20 a.m.
About 50 supporters of Station Casinos' plan to build a 300-foot hotel in Summerlin rallied at the site of the proposed tower Thursday afternoon.
The rally was the latest salvo in an ongoing political battle between opponents and supporters of the project, which would be the anchor of Howard Hughes Corp.'s Summerlin Center, but the tower still needs Clark Clark Commission approval.
Opponents argue that the tower is too close to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, which is about five miles to the west. They also oppose the project because they fear it is too big, with about 1,500 rooms, for the rapidly developing residential area surrounding the planned Summerlin Center.
Supporters say the resort would bring jobs to the area and would not be visible from Red Rock Canyon's scenic drive.
Today, the opposition plans to rally outside Howard Hughes Corp.'s office at Charleston Boulevard and Hualapai Way. But Wednesday the supporters had their day, as the rally sponsored by Station Casinos drew only two counter-protesters across the street.
"I support it because they're going to hire 2,000 people," said Hank Guzik, a retired television programmer who said he lives less than two miles from the proposed tower. "I don't see the damage they're talking about (to the view of Red Rock).
"And property values will go up because of it," Guzik added.
Mark Curley, a delegate from the North Summerlin Homeowners Association, agreed that the project, and the 250-foot office buildings next door that have had county approval since 1999, will enhance the neighborhood.
"You won't have just a flat land of buildings," said Curley, who lives about five miles from the site. "You'll have a beautiful landscape to look at and live in."
Also speaking at the rally were representatives from local trade unions, who stand to get 1,500 construction jobs with the project, and Station employees.
"We felt that this was great attendance," Station Vice President Lesley Pittman said. "The folks who showed up demonstrated widespread support for the project."
Commissioner Mark James, who represents the Summerlin area, reportedly has indicated he may not support the tower.
"I can't support a 300-foot tower," James said. "It's too intense for that area, and I don't think it's consistent with the expectations of the people who move in there, based on the information they were given by Howard Hughes."
The company has presented home buyers in Summerlin with documents that reveal the 100-foot tower that is already allowed by law at the casino site, as well as the 250-foot tower the company hopes to build next door.
James said he has no sense on how his colleagues on the board will vote. The issue passed the Clark County Planning Commission meeting this month with a 6-1 vote.
Pittman said Station Casinos will be lobbying the other commissioners to override any objections James may have. The commission discussion and vote is scheduled for Dec. 3.
The opponents also plan to keep up the pressure.
"We're not opposed to Red Rock Station," said Chuck Arkell, a Summerlin resident, medical products salesman and a founder of Summerlin Residents for Responsible Growth, the group opposing the tower.
"We just want what was promised -- a 100-foot tower and a neighborhood casino.""