Thursday, May 6, 2004 | 9:53 a.m.
A once-controversial proposal to build a hotel at the west end of Charleston Boulevard passed a Clark County design review without protest Wednesday.
Station Casinos Inc.'s Red Rock Station drew protests from many nearby Summerlin residents over the original plan to include a 300-foot tower in the project. In January, the Clark County Commission passed a modified proposal that lopped off 100 feet from the proposed tower. The commission also required the company to come back for a review and approval of the final design.
The $450 million-plus resort, which Station Casinos is calling the company's biggest and best, would include a 90,000-square-foot casino, 1,000 guest rooms, a spa, amphitheaters, swimming pools, terraces, restaurants, show rooms, lounges, a bowling center, movie theaters, corporate offices, pedestrian plazas and a parking garage.
Gabriel Lither, a Las Vegas attorney who helped found Summerlin Residents for Responsible Growth in direct response to the Station Casinos proposal, said the design works for the surrounding neighborhood.
"We applaud them for taking the time to meet with the residents," he said. "Everything looks first-rate."
He said one small issue came up during the meetings between the company and the residents: The entrance to the movie theater was not nonsmoking. The company, however, changed the plans after hearing those concerns.
"Right now, everything they've showed us, we're very pleased with," Lither said.
The revised design passed without dissent Wednesday morning. Commissioner Lynette Boggs McDonald, who resigned her seat on the Station Casinos board of directors before Gov. Kenny Guinn appointed her to the commission last month, abstained from the vote.
She explained that at the request of the county counsel, she would be abstaining from issues affecting Station Casinos for an unspecified length of time, as a "cooling off" period. However, Boggs McDonald said, she would be participating in future votes affecting the company.
She said she could have voted on Wednesday's item.
"I was prepared to vote . This isn't the type of item (a design review) that would have come before the Station board," she said.
The vote was the second commission issue in two days affecting, at least obliquely, Station Casinos. On Tuesday, the commission directed Clark County Public Works to refine a concept plan for a new intersection at Harmon Avenue and Valley View Boulevard. Station Casinos owns the Wild Wild West casino southeast of the intersection.
Boggs McDonald participated in that discussion, but Station Casinos and the Wild Wild West did not come up in that discussion.
Station Casinos has assembled a sizeable parcel around its Wild Wild West motel-casino on Tropicana Avenue, land the company plans for a major hotel redevelopment after it completes its Red Rock Station project.
"We consider Harmon very important because it is the next major thoroughfare north of the property," Gina Lateef, company spokeswoman, said.
The Harmon project would make it easier for customers to enter and exit the redeveloped property, she said.
The commission's direction to staff would not appear to benefit the casino because it delays a decision on the design of the new intersection by at least three months. Boggs McDonald said she didn't consider Station Casinos' interest when she discussed the issue Tuesday.
The more important question is the cost to the county of buying out at least a dozen commercial property owners around the intersection, she said, plus the impact to local businesses.
She noted that ongoing expansion work on U.S. 95 northwest of downtown Las Vegas has affected hundreds of homes and businesses, and said that she is concerned that the Harmon intersection project could grow to affect more businesses.
"There's usually more to the story," Boggs McDonald said.