Thursday, June 2, 2005 | 9:44 a.m.
A scaled down version of a controversial condominium complex won approval Wednesday, almost six months after Ambling Development Partners' original high-rise proposal for Alta Drive and Martin Luther King Boulevard was rejected.
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said Ambling's efforts to win approval of proposals for the 17 acres "is a perfect example of how not to do something and then how to do something."
The Las Vegas City Council had rejected the project amid opposition from neighbors and accusations that the developer was misled into thinking the project would easily win council approval.
The council voted 6-0 Wednesday to approve Ambling's plan to build three nine-story buildings plus one five-story building on the northwest corner of Alta and Martin Luther King. The buildings will have retail space plus 664 condominiums, according to the development plans, which had the support of neighbors who had previously opposed a taller development.
Councilman Michael Mack abstained from the vote because of his business ties to Ambling. He is a consultant for a firm that worked for Ambling, and might work for a nearby property owner in the future.
In December, the council rejected Ambling's proposal to build three 28-story buildings with more than 800 condominiums on the land. Some council members and neighbors said then that they thought Ambling officials assumed council approval for the project was "a done deal."
Two days after the December vote, the city's then Economic Development Manager Doug Lein, who had been dealing with Ambling on the project, resigned.
Neighbors from the Rancho Manor Neighborhood Association also complained that the 28-story buildings would tower over nearby residences, and stare down into many backyards.
Dan Deegan, vice president of the association, said that while nine stories is still tall, "at that height they will not be able to look down on us like they could from the towers."
The neighbors were also pleased that Ambling representatives have agreed to work to mitigate the impact of the increased traffic from the development.
"This is much, much more compatible," Deegan said about the approved project.
Councilman Lawrence Weekly, who said there were many misunderstandings surrounding the original proposed development, thanked Ambling representatives for taking the time to work with his constituents on the project.
Deegan said the big difference this time around was that Ambling worked closely with neighbors while putting together a development plan, whereas last year Ambling and association officials did not meet to discuss the plans.
Ambling partner Eddy Benoit said they were "very happy with the outcome" and plan to start building around the end of the year. The first building or buildings -- he said the project will be built in phases -- could be completed sometime in 2007.