Clark County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously backed a decision that will free up more than 3,000 acres near McCarran International Airport for potential development in the long term.
The action sets the stage for landowners of about 3,604 acres to seek the removal of restrictions that would have hindered development. Those restricted development uses were primarily residential but also included commercial uses, such as resorts, museums and amusement parks.
At the heart of the matter: the noise from aircraft entering and leaving the airport. But new technology and quieter aircraft make the changes possible.
Previously, the land was in a larger noise contour and designated as unsuitable for certain uses, based in part on a 1989 noise study. Those noise boundaries are now reduced, freeing up the land for other potential uses.
The land is part of more than 5,000 acres that the county received through an agreement with the Bureau of Land Management. As parcels were sold, all deeds were issued with restrictions.
“This is a good deal for everyone who is involved,” said Bob Gronauer, an attorney who represents developers. “In general, across the board, everyone wins.”
Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said it is a good opportunity for property owners to explore options that didn’t exist in the past.
The commission’s action doesn’t automatically remove the restrictions.
Property owners will need to apply to have the restrictions lifted — and pay fees that have not yet been determined.
Before setting the fees, the county will have three appraisers do individual appraisals of the land’s worth, both before and after the deed restrictions are lifted.
The average of those three appraisals will be used for setting the fees.
Essentially, a landowner seeking a lifted restriction will have to pay the difference of the land’s value.
As with other property owners, any projects planned after the lifting of a restriction need to meet planning and zoning requirements.
Commissioner Larry Brown asked whether the new boundaries were determined scientifically, noting that a neighbor across the street could call it into question.
Rosemary Vassiliadis, the county’s director of aviation, said the zones were based on a noise study.
More than 1,100 acres of that land is vacant.
Contact reporter Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.
com or 702-455-4519.