June 3, 2015 - 7:11 am
The Henderson City Council voted Tuesday to consider annexing more than 4 square miles of largely empty land in the Eldorado Valley, which could be the site of new homes and businesses.
Some of the land lies along the future route of Interstate 11. Developers and property owners have been talking to city officials about annexation for more than a year.
Still, Tuesday’s unanimous vote directing staff to move forward with planning was far from a final decision. The city still plans months of talks with developers and property owners as it seeks an agreement. Annexation would only happen after at least two more council reviews, as well as a public hearing.
Henderson is looking to add 2,738 acres, mostly south of its current boundaries and west of U.S. Highway 95. Boulder City has bought and annexed much of the rest of the land in the Eldorado Valley, in part to limit development.
But the boundaries of the annexed area could change, in part because Henderson still hasn’t figured out how it will pump wastewater back into the Las Vegas Valley so the city can get credit for returning it to Lake Mead.
After the Review-Journal reported on the issue Sunday, three residents wrote the council to oppose annexation, with one citing asbestos in the area and two saying more development is unwise given what one called Nevada’s “water crisis.”
Before the vote, council members said they support the idea of annexation but have concerns. Councilwoman Gerri Schroder said she wants to make sure there are nearby police and fire stations so residents are protected.
Councilwoman Debra March called the area “an important gateway into the city of Henderson,” but said there are planning and environmental concerns.
Robert Murnane, Henderson’s senior director of public works, parks and recreation, said it’s unclear how many home developers might seek to build.
City officials say a fire station, schools and parks, among other public facilities, could be built in the area.
Mayor Andy Hafen strongly defended annexation, saying it’s how Henderson has grown into the second most populous city in Nevada.
Recalling former mayor James Gibson, Hafen said, “Quite frankly, if he had his way, he’d annex all the way to the California border.”