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October 21, 2018

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Las Vegas won’t appeal court ruling on Badlands vote

Updated Wednesday, March 21, 2018 | 4:35 p.m.

Las Vegas will not appeal a ruling against the city and a developer in a case over a stalled project on former golf course land.

A judge recently ruled in favor of residents of the Queens Ridge community, saying the City Council abused its discretion and violated the law when it allowed the development plans to move forward. Today, the council voted 3-3, with one seat vacant, on a motion to appeal, killing the effort.

City attorney Brad Jerbic told members of the council that the developer was likely to appeal, regardless of whether the city decided to do so.

He said there were pros and cons to appealing, such as increasing legal costs and fighting a judge’s decision to zone by ruling rather than allowing the city to do so.

Jerbic said the city had other options to solve the issue, such as drafting an ordinance that would lay out requirements for the developer to move forward. He said he disagreed with the judge and that the council did nothing wrong.

Councilman Steve Seroka, who has been vocal in his concerns about the project and its impact on residents, said after today’s vote that not appealing was the right decision. Officials said during the meeting that there are several lawsuits related to the Badlands case that are still working their way through court, with one against the city seeking millions in damages.

“The city’s resources will not be used against the residents and can now be focused on defending the city against the developer’s pending multimillion-dollar litigation,” Seroka said.

Councilwoman Michele Fiore argued in favor of appealing, saying the city would keep its seat at the table in the ongoing legal debate. Several council members said the ruling could be used as a reference in similar cases.

Fiore, Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian voted in favor of pursuing the appeal.

The developer, Yohan Lowie, is still working on developing the land. The council recently postponed deciding on his proposed maps laying out single-family residential housing in the area. The owner contends that the area’s zoning does not prohibit building there, while opponents say the area’s master plan rules out putting homes on the land.

The Badlands proposals are slated to come before the council May 16.