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January 17, 2018

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Sunset Station sues Henderson over Roadhouse license approval

Click to enlarge photo

The entrance of Sunset Station as the sun goes down in Henderson.

Roadhouse Casino

Map of Sunset Station Hotel Casino

Sunset Station Hotel Casino

1301 W. Sunset Road, Henderson

A Station Casinos Inc. property is suing the city of Henderson over the city’s approval of a potential competitor’s operating permit.

Sunset Station Inc. filed suit in Clark County District Court last week against the city as well as the would-be competitor, Roadhouse Casino owner Robert McMackin and Marengo Inc.

The Roadhouse, on Boulder Highway and Sunset Road, has been closed for years but reopens once a year for one day to maintain its state nonrestricted gaming license. Its last approval to operate came this year for one day with 17 slot machines -- one machine above the 16-machine minimum for nonrestricted licensees.

Unlike current nonrestricted applicants, the Roadhouse license is grandfathered in by the state with no hotel.

Sunset Station and two of its sister properties in the region, Fiesta Henderson and Boulder Station, all have hotels and Station has been fighting plans by McMackin to operate with the nonrestricted license without him having invested in a hotel.

Sunset Station's lawsuit does not challenge the state license held by the Roadhouse. Rather, the city license is at issue.

Michael Tassi, planning manager for the city, on Monday said McMackin has recently expressed interest in reopening the property and gained city approval for rehabilitation of the structure as well as landscaping work, though no building permits have been issued.

McMackin couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Sunset Station, in its lawsuit, charges that on Sept. 21 McMackin and Marengo sought city approval to amend and revive conditional use rights they previously held under a 1988 conditional use permit for the property at 2100 North Boulder Highway.

Sunset Station charges that in 1992 McMackin received city approval to remodel and expand the Roadhouse, but that McMackin "never fully remodeled the Roadhouse and the Roadhouse never operated in the manner represented to the Henderson City Council."

The suit charges that McMackin received several extensions over the years to the conditional use permit until an extension was denied on Aug. 1, 2006, by the Henderson Planning Commission.

The 1988 version of the city code did not limit nonrestricted gaming to a resort hotel, as it now does, the suit charges.

"The Henderson City Council and McMackin fully understood that all rights would go away with the conditional use permit extension denial in 2006 and the applicants would have to comply with current code for any future use and development of the property," Sunset Station charges in the lawsuit.

Sunset Station charges city approval of the application for a city nonrestricted gaming license on Nov. 9 violated the Henderson Municipal Code because the code prohibits rights granted under the 1988 conditional use permit from ever being revived.

Tassi, however, said the city attorney has determined the Roadhouse’s 1988 conditional use permit rights never expired.

Sunset Station, represented by attorneys Todd Bice and Jarrod Rickard of the law firm Pisanelli Bice PLLC, charged in the lawsuit the city exceeded its authority "by approving an application permitting nonrestricted gaming without a resort hotel or specific nonconforming use."

City attorneys have not yet responded to the lawsuit.

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