North Las Vegas Planning Commission revamps city's zoning ordinance after 23 years


The North Las Vegas Planning Commission po red over proposed changes to the city’s zoning ordinance during a three-hour special meeting April 27.

Title 17, as it is officially known, was written in 1988. Despite amendments made throughout the 23 years of its existence, city officials agreed it was time to revamp the code, with the goal of making it more understandable to anyone who reads it.

It took four years of research, planning and haggling with homebuilders and other stakeholders, but it appears a draft of the new ordinance is expected to reach the North Las Vegas City Council at its June 15 meeting.

Most of the approved changes come from the general building and development standards, definitions, establishment of zone districts and zone district regulation portions of the ordinance.

Under the new code, an architect is now allowed to stamp a landscape plan, standing seam metal roofs are acceptable and preferential parking is a suggestion rather than a requirement, among many other changes.

Also reflected is the commission’s recent vote to allow schools to fill vacant commercial properties throughout the city.

By the end of the evening, a majority of the commissioners expressed an urgency to pass the existing changes. A “move on, it’s been four years,” sentiment flooded the group with the understanding that the new code is a working document that can be revisited at any time should more changes be necessary in the future.

“Change is very hard to embrace, but we have to move forward,” said Chairman Dilip Trivedi. “ … We’re not going to have 100 percent consensus on every item even if we took 10 years.”

About a dozen of the valley’s homebuilders and other developers pleaded their cases with the commission during a public hearing at the meeting. Most represented NAIOP Southern Nevada, a chapter of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association and the Southern Nevada Homebuilders Association.

The code institutes a Residential Design Incentive System to provide “incentives for developments to achieve the city’s goals related to increasing amenities in neighborhoods such as open space and trails, a broader mix of housing prices to meet varying needs, improving pedestrian mobility and neighborhood connectivity and foster a greater sense of community cohesion.”

Janet Love, project manager for KB Home Nevada Inc., 5655 Badura Ave., said the city is one of the most challenging jurisdictions in the valley to buy, title and develop land in today’s economy.

In Love’s case, lot sizes and open space were of concern in competing with foreclosures and short sales and making the city attractive to new development.

“Currently, there’s a vast amount of land in North Las Vegas that’s vacant, making it prime for future development,” she told the commission. “ … We as builders feel one way to compete with those foreclosures and short sales is to offer a smaller, similar place to the existing inventory.”

Offered benefits could include a warranty, energy efficiency and the ability to personalize as a tradeoff to space, Love added.

She pointed to nationally published articles and local market surveys, which show a trend of homebuyers downsizing to smaller homes and first-time homebuyers accounting for 45 percent of the valley’s home sales.

“We feel the code, as it is drafted today, may create some challenges to bringing new development to the city,” Love said.

Contact Downtown and North Las Vegas View reporter Kristi Jourdan at kjourdan@viewnews.com or 383-0492.

 

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