Updated November 22, 2023 - 3:54 pm
Henderson council members approved the controversial development of a 1,000-acre mine near Lake Las Vegas Tuesday.
The City Council voted 4-0 Tuesday to approve multiple items connected with a project for Lakemoor Ventures LLC, to clean up Three Kids mine, bury it and build a 3,000-home community on top. Mayor Michelle Romero was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
Three Kids Mine is a more than 100-year-old mine site near Lake Las Vegas that mined manganese for weapons production in World War I. It contains asbestos, arsenic and manganese among other materials.
The site cleanup will remove asbestos from the area, then bury the rest of the contaminants in the mine’s open pits and then bury the whole site in clean soil from the surrounding environment.
Lakemoor Ventures, which donated $1,000 to the campaigns of Romero, Councilman Jim Seebock and Councilwoman Carrie Cox, contracted Broadbent and Associates to handle the cleanup of the mine site and will work with Pulte Homes of Nevada to build the community. The Nevada Department of Environmental Protection will oversee Broadbent’s cleanup.
Representatives for Lakemoor and the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection told council members that the site posed a risk to the surrounding area because of the contaminated metals moving from the mine through wind and rainfall.
“We looked at the ‘no action’ option as part of the feasibility study, and it just puts too many people at risk,” James Dotchin, chief of industrial site cleanup for the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, said after the meeting. “That’s just not not an answer that makes any sense.”
Divided public comment
Three residents gave public comments at the meeting. Two of them, Eva and William Cappiello, opposed the development. Chaya Hendrick spoke in support of the project.
Hendrick previously opposed the development, according to public comments she gave at a previous meeting. But she said the “openness of the developer and the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection,” changed her mind on the issue.
She called the project “the most logical, rational approach” and said that the site needed to be cleaned up as soon as possible because of the risk Dotchin talked about.
William Cappiello and Eva Cappiello said they felt that the city and developers did not properly take the long-term potential health risks of the project into consideration. Eva Cappiello said, “There are a lot of concerns that are unaddressed” by the project, and she called it rushed.
William Cappiello, a physician with experience working with veterans, said he doubted the developers would be able to keep the entire site wet enough to prevent contaminants from getting into the air.
“The Three Kids Mine is also known as the wheel of misfortune,” Cappiello said in his public comment. “I think the city of Henderson is spinning this wheel of misfortune; you’re gambling with the health of residents that live nearby particularly and you’re most likely going to lose, if not now 20, 30, 40, 50 years down the road.”
Representatives from the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection said they will set up air quality monitors in and around the mine site to keep track of particulates in the air during the cleanup.
“NDEP definitely has the authority to hold the project, and anytime,” Alan Pineda, supervisor with industrial site cleanup for the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, said after the meeting. “If the particulate matter is too high, we’ll become aware of it, and we’ll stop until it’s below the threshold.”
Cleanup will start within a year of Lakemoor Ventures acquiring the land and will have to finish within 32 months Henderson transfers ownership, according to City Attorney Nicholas Vaskov and representatives for Lakemoor Ventures LLC.
The project’s research and planning details can be found online at https://www.threekidsmine.com/.
A previous version of this story misspelled William Cappiello’s name in one instance.