City of Henderson seeks to have Sunset Station lawsuit dismissed

The city of Henderson is seeking dismissal of a lawsuit filed in November by Sunset Station Inc., claiming the casino has no legal right to sue over its approval of a potential competitor’s operating permit.

Senior assistant city attorney Christine Guerci-Nyhus said Sunset Station, which is owned by Station Casinos Inc., does not have a “right to a certain profit level or to a certain market share.”

The city’s court filing is in response to Sunset Station’s lawsuit challenging Henderson officials over their decision to issue a license that would allow the Roadhouse Casino to open. The hotel-casino also sued Robert McMackin, owner of the Roadhouse, and Marengo Inc.

The Roadhouse, at 2100 N. Boulder Highway , operates with a state nonrestricted gaming license, which was grandfathered in by the state because the property doesn’t operate a hotel.

To maintain its nonrestricted gaming license, the Roadhouse opens one day each year and operates a minimum of 16 slot machines for eight hours. Sunset Station opposes plans by McMackin to operate the casino without having to build a hotel.

Station Casinos also operates two other nearby casinos, Fiesta Henderson and Boulder Station. In its lawsuit, the casino did not challenge the gaming license held by Roadhouse, but focused on the city license.

“The council has the power to regulate businesses, regulate all matters related to buildings, and enact zoning and planning provisions within the city,” according to the city’s 17-page brief filed late Friday in Clark County District Court.

Guerci-Nyhus also wrote Sunset Station’s lawsuit should be dismissed because the “courts have no inherent appellate jurisdiction over a city’s decision on a zoning-related matter, except that specifically spelled out by statute.”

She wrote the Henderson Municipal Code provides a mechanism for appealing decisions of the Planning Commission and the City Council.

“The Nevada Supreme Court has noted that the ‘failure to exhaust all available administrative remedies before proceeding in district court renders the matter unripe for district court review,’ ” the city’s filing said.

Lori Nelson, a spokeswoman with Station Casinos, declined comment.

As of Tuesday, no hearing date on the city’s motion for dismissal had been scheduled.

McMackin acquired the Roadhouse in 1992 and received city approval to remodel and expand the property. Guerci-Nyhus also rejected as “simply untrue” Sunset Station’s allegation that the city violated the state’s open meeting law in connection with the permitting process for Roadhouse.

Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at csieroty
@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893.

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