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Rural Henderson neighborhood packs city chambers to oppose road proposal

Updated August 25, 2022 - 2:45 pm

More than 200 residents demanded better answers Wednesday evening while Henderson officials provided updates on a possible road extension near College Drive that would provide a second route to the Nevada State College campus.

Henderson Fire Department Chief Shawn White called Nevada State Drive the longest cul-de-sac in the city, and said he worried about increased development in the area causing slower emergency response times for the department.

“Our number one thing that we need to do is access,” White said. “We’re required to have multiple accesses to the different neighborhoods so that if one thing is blocked there is another way in.”

Nevada State College Chief of Staff Anthony Ruiz attempted to argue that students needed more accessibility getting to campus, but he was drowned out by an angry crowd who said that was not the residents’ responsibility.

“We definitely need more capacity and connectivity to Nevada State College,” Ruiz said. “We’ve added no new roads in 20 years to the school. We opened the doors with 144 students and now we’re up to over 7,000 and there is a ton of traffic.”

Residents express concern

Most outspoken residents were from the Mission Hills neighborhood, which is comprised of single-family homes with larger backyards for horses, chickens and alpacas.

Alex Kleytman has lived in the area for nine years. He waved pink papers in the air Wednesday night that he said were full of signatures from people opposing the project.

“It impedes our quality of life, safety for our children and is an overall change in our neighborhood,” Kleytman said. “I’ve spoken to over 200 neighbors that are opposing this major connect.”

Residents feared having a major thoroughfare closer to their homes, but Henderson Public Works Director Edward McGuire argued the road would extend what is already built.

“This talk of, ‘you’re adding a highway’ we’re talking about adding a street that exists to the west,” McGuire said. “Paradise Hills exists, it’s currently paved two lanes wide, it’s posted 25 miles an hour. It does have room for horses, there’s a gravel shoulder on both sides. This extension would look exactly like that.”

Neighbors accused the city of not following through on a promise made to residents to not complete the road.

Minutes from a Henderson City Council meeting from Sept. 7, 2004, mention an intentionally absent portion of Paradise Hills Drive, stopping Nevada State and College drives from connecting to avoid “unwanted traffic, noise and pollution from the adjacent rural preservation area.”

After the meeting, multiple residents counter-proposed Paradise Hills Drive be extended east instead of west, which they said would directly access Interstate 11.

The planning commission is scheduled to meet again on Sept. 15 to discuss the project, and Henderson City Council is scheduled to meet Oct. 4.

Contact James Schaeffer at jschaeffer@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0214. Follow @jamesmschaeffer on Twitter.

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