A furrowed mountain blocks all but a sliver of morning sun, casting a shadow across a Western-themed park and a cluster of neighborhoods.
Filled with new homes, this subdivision in the southwest valley is aptly called Mountain's Edge.
Lisa Lethi is among the residents who bought houses here for amenities such as Exploration Park, with its playgrounds, bike paths, hiking trails and replicas of a frontier town and Indian village.
She also is among those who are disgruntled about what they describe as misleading promotional fliers.
Pamphlets handed out at the visitors' center three years ago showed parks, ballfields and other attractions that never materialized at the subdivision off Blue Diamond Road and Rainbow Boulevard, Lethi said.
A neighborhood park was planned next to her house on a lot that is still a barren patch of dirt, she said. The promise of a nearby park, she said, was one reason she paid about $400,000 for the house.
"And I'll never see it in my lifetime," Lethi said.
Maps on fliers also showed a parcel of land zoned for residential near some of the homes off Buffalo Drive and Cactus Avenue. At some point, the zoning was changed to retail, allowing taverns, gaming and strip malls, said Steven Massicot, an affected resident who thinks the fliers should have been updated to reflect that.
Massicot said he never would have built a house there if he knew he'd be looking at the back of a strip mall.
"It was a definite lack of disclosure," he said.
Focus Property Group oversees development at Mountain's Edge, which would have 14,500 homes if built out as planned. The company has spent more than $1 billion developing the Mountain's Edge, Providence and Inspirada communities, and hopes to branch out to Pahrump.
But with the housing market gripped in the mortgage crisis and the economy slipping into a recession, the company has scaled back on building homes, parks and other amenities, said Mark Fiorentino, Focus Property's senior vice president of government affairs.
Marketing materials were never intended to guarantee that recreational sites would take shape exactly as pictured, Fiorentino said, adding that the poor economy is forcing adjustments.
"I have no doubt that earlier versions show different conceptual plans for the parks," he said. "Just like everyone else, we are working to develop the best we can due to economic conditions that exist today."
As for the proposed retail complex, Toll Brothers, a national homebuilder, bought the land and is in charge of advertising the site, Fiorentino said.
Local representatives from Toll Brothers, based in Horsham, Pa., didn't return calls from the Review-Journal.
Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager observed the same problems in the fliers that Lethi and Massicot did.
A map on an older pamphlet shows the parcel zoned for residential and not retail, Brager said.
Still, at a September meeting, Brager was among the majority of commissioners who voted "yes" for the retail project. She insisted she had no choice.
She said the county's legal counsel told her the project was zoned lawfully and couldn't be denied, even if the builders had misrepresented it to home buyers.
"It's unfortunate when that happens," Brager said. "I agree with the homeowners. I will look at it again because I feel the neighbors weren't given accurate information on the maps."
For now, the proposed retail complex will go forward with no tavern, though a school could be built near the site later, Brager said. She also asked that heavy landscaping be used to shroud the complex and that the businesses there close by 11 p.m.
Massicot accused Mountain's Edge developers of bad faith.
"There was a bundle of promises, claims, declarations," he said. "They bill themselves as the No. 1 best-selling planned community in the country. They need a big asterisk behind it."
In 2005, the pamphlets at the visitors' center showed ballfields, soccer fields, basketball courts, a swimming pool and a community center, Lethi said.
None of that materialized.
"That's why people bought down there," she said. "There are a lot of families down there."
When the local housing market was hot a few years ago, people paid in the half-million-dollar range for houses at Mountain's Edge, expecting to get the amenities, she said.
Since then, developers have revised the fliers, blotting out the future attractions, said Lethi, who likened what happened to a "bait and switch."
Current fliers still show seven schools when only two exist, Lethi said. Granted, the Clark County School District is in charge of building schools, but the developers should make clear which schools are not yet built, she said.
To date, Exploration Park is the subdivision's only park, Lethi said, noting that it has 20 acres of actual park land and 80 acres of open terrain.
Focus Property has sold 6,805 houses in the subdivision, according to the company's data. Residents of those houses have only a 20-acre park to play in, Lethi said.
The development agreement for Mountain's Edge calls for 90 acres of parks, she said. County leaders should enforce the development agreement approved for Mountain's Edge, she said.
"Apparently, here in Nevada, they (developers) can change their minds and do whatever they want," Lethi said.
Fiorentino said the company has done nothing deceptive. Mountain's Edge is not finished, he said, and residents will see amenities materialize, just in a different form than the fliers pictured.
Fiorentino said he meets regularly with residents to discuss what they want most -- parks, ballfields, basketball courts, community center -- and then prioritize. A large chunk of the costs will be paid with fees collected from the 20 homebuilders working within Mountain's Edge, he said.
The housing slump has strapped some builders, Fiorentino said, making them tardy with their fees. That, in turn, has delayed work on parks and other sites.
Focus Property has designated land for parks and schools, he said, which is why the future sites are shown on promotional maps.
Fiorentino said he doubts that any home buyer would assume there are seven actual schools. Perhaps the biggest frustration is that the plans for a regional park have stalled, he said.
The company was unable to get federal money through the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act to develop the regional park, he said.
Still, residents can enjoy the $8 million Exploration Park, Fiorentino said, which draws people from every corner of the county. The company also spent $5 million on a network of walkways in Mountain's Edge, he said.
Lethi said she realizes the tough economy is hurting the building industry, but she says developers must meet their obligations, just like everyone else.
"I have to pay my mortgage," she said. "How much are they obligated to build what they initially proposed?"
Developers also have been slow in improving roads and installing a drainage system, even though they got $92 million in bond money several years ago, Lethi said.
To repay the loan, the company created a special improvement district and charged residents a fee. Special improvement districts are designed so that residents who benefit directly from the improvements help pay the costs rather than burdening all taxpayers.
Massicot said he forked out a $12,000 fee and is displeased with the lack of progress.
Developers have yet to begin road work that was supposed to have been done a year or two ago, Massicot said. "If there's no timetable, there's no consequences."
But Fiorentino said road improvements are 90 percent finished. All that's left is widening Durango Road, Rainbow Boulevard and Blue Diamond Road, he said, estimating that the upgrades will be finished by the end of 2009.
The drainage system also is complete, he said, including a giant retention basin.
Infrastructure was enhanced in phases, Fiorentino said, and all but a few million dollars of the $92 million in bond money is spent. The company also chipped in $210million, mainly from builders' fees, he said.
Residents will see road and parks projects come to fruition, but they'll need patience in the sagging economy, Fiorentino said.
Mountain's Edge is still probably the fastest-growing planned community in the country, he said.
"The bad news is it's way below what it was two years ago," Fiorentino said.
Contact reporter Scott Wyland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-455-4519.