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Southwest Las Vegas residents upset about truck traffic

After getting married two years ago, Trevor and Mirza Schneider moved into what they thought would be their dream home in the Enterprise area.

Last week, they put their West Mesa Verde Lane home on the market. They’re worried it may not sell and about how much money they could lose, but they’re ready to move on.

Schneider and some of his neighbors are concerned about traffic from an industrial complex — Blue Diamond Business Center — and a TravelCenters of America truck stop. They say trucks speed through and idle overnight in their residential neighborhood. They’ve made numerous calls and emailed government and law enforcement agencies.

Officials are polite and empathetic, but nothing has changed, Schneider told the Las Vegas Review-Journal at his home.

“They’ve done nothing to restrict the truck traffic,” he said.

Schneider, a 38-year-old casino supervisor, uses the Nextdoor neighborhood social website to connect with other residents. He has become the unofficial neighborhood spokesman.

Schneider bought his house in June 2017 when South Valley View Boulevard, which runs behind his house, ended before his neighborhood and the business center wasn’t there.

“So this was quiet and comfortable,” he said.

Their three-bedroom, three-bathroom house — built in 1987 — has 2,613 square feet and sits on a 0.49-acre lot, according to the listing on realtor.com. It’s listed for $559,000.

Schneider said a 2016 zone change — plus the fact an industrial center would be built and Valley View extended — wasn’t disclosed when they bought the house.

Now, Blue Diamond Business Center is 296 feet from Schneider’s property, he said. Valley View was extended from about Mesa Verde Lane to Blue Diamond Road.

On Valley View behind their house, the speed limit is 25 mph and a sign indicates truck traffic is prohibited. But “we hear the rumble and the big trucks go by,” Schneider said.

Mirza, 34, said she and Trevor had planned to start trying to have children, but held off because they don’t feel their neighborhood is safe. They originally had plans to make improvements to their backyard, too, but it’s not somewhere they want to spend time.

While the Schneiders plan to move, it’s not feasible for some residents, like retiree James Ludwick, who lives next door. Ludwick’s family built and previously owned the Schneiders’ home.

“I’m too old,” Ludwick said about moving. “This was my dream retirement.”

What happened?

In March 2016 — more than a year before Schneider bought his house — the Enterprise Town Advisory Board approved a zoning change and design review for the distribution center.

Schneider said he doesn’t know of any neighbors who receive zone change notifications, and if they did, “I think no one took the time to fight it.”

Zoning for 1.3 acres changed from office and professional to designed manufacturing. The meeting also included design review for a distribution center on 19.5 acres in a designed-manufacturing zone.

The Town Advisory Board wanted a few conditions attached. Those included that South Valley View wouldn’t be extended farther than the business center’s northeast exit and barriers would prevent vehicles from traveling north.

Neither happened.

Clark County’s Zoning Commission, made up of county commissioners, didn’t include those recommendations in their final decision in April 2016. Instead, the commission gave approval with the stipulation truck traffic wouldn’t be allowed north of the business center on Valley View.

But Schneider said trucks do travel on that stretch of road, and many exceed the speed limit. By the time drivers see a posted sign prohibiting truck traffic, he said, it’s too late to turn around.

At his home, Schneider pointed out a large television monitor mounted on his kitchen wall showing images from a handful of security cameras he installed on his property. Multiple times during an interview, large trucks drove on the street behind his house.

Some truck drivers park on Valley View behind Schneider’s house and leave their engines idling all night, he said. Ludwick said he hears engines rumbling from inside his house.

Schneider said he understands truck drivers are required to rest. But parking on a street where truck traffic is prohibited, he said, is breaking the law. The heavy loads are also causing a lot of strain on and damage to roads, he added.

For years, Valley View was an unimproved dirt road and was barricaded “to keep people from driving on it and raising dust,” Clark County spokeswoman Stacey Welling wrote in an email Sept. 10 to the Review-Journal.

“Valley View Boulevard had been identified as a north-south arterial in the area along with the potential for commercial development dating to at least the early 2000s,” she said.

With the construction of the business center, the road was paved and open to use.

The developer was required to make improvements to Valley View while the business center was being constructed, Welling said, and road work happened between July 2018 and February this year.

Construction on the business park was largely completed by March 1, Welling said. “There are some interior tenant improvements still occurring.”

Addressing truck traffic

The county’s public works department has posted numerous traffic control signs, Welling wrote Sept. 5.

No-truck-traffic signs are posted “to curtail non-essential cut-through traffic near the neighboring residential area,” Welling said. “Traffic related to business purposes, such as deliveries or repairs, is permitted.”

The speed limit is 25 mph near homes closest to the business park and 35 mph along Dean Martin Drive, Welling said. “Metro is the primary agency to address traffic enforcement issues.”

A Las Vegas police spokesman said the department hasn’t received complaints from the neighborhood. Nearby Blue Diamond Road — also known as state Route 160 — is patrolled by Nevada Highway Patrol.

But in a July response to an email obtained by the Review-Journal from Schneider to Metro’s traffic division, an officer wrote he generated a service request and also forwarded Schneider’s information to NHP.

The Clark County Commission approved changes to county code Aug. 6 to allow code enforcement officers to issue civil/administrative citations and to tow vehicles parked illegally in residential areas.

“The changes allow for Clark County’s Code Enforcement Division to provide additional support to enforcement efforts related to complaints about commercial vehicles parked in residential areas,” Welling said.

There’s a $100 fine for the first offense and up to a $500 fine for the third offense.

Schneider said nothing has changed since the ordinance took effect.

Juliet Cos., which owns the Blue Diamond Business Center, didn’t respond to requests for comment. Its website says the industrial center encompasses about 1 million square feet and seven buildings.

TravelCenters of America spokesman Tom Liutkus wrote in an email that he and site managers haven’t heard any comments about heavy truck traffic.

The truck stop’s lot is full most nights, Liutkus said. TravelCenters of America contacted the Nevada Department of Transportation to see if it would sell the company some of its adjacent land, he said, but didn’t receive a response.

A rural atmosphere

The Schneiders’ neighborhood has a somewhat rural feel, with older homes and much larger lots than you’d find in a new subdivision.

Schneider’s house is on one side of a cul-de-sac. Across the street, there’s open land covered in sagebrush.

Mirza showed the Review-Journal a video of peacocks she encountered while taking her dogs on a run.

Retiree Susan Lorenz lives on a 1-acre property near Warm Springs Road and Decatur Boulevard, and has two ponies. She moved there in 2004.

She grew up in a rural area and was looking for that kind of environment as an adult. “I was able to duplicate it here,” Lorenz said.

She met Schneider through the Nextdoor app for the Western Trails Park area. You can feel the exasperation from residents who have conversations via the app, Lorenz said. “It can be quite emotional.”

But Lorenz said she thinks the issues are fixable.

In southwest Las Vegas, growth has been regulated to some extent, “but it’s still just crazy for us,” she said. “We feel surrounded.”

Lorenz said she’s fortunate her property is surrounded by government lands and a park. Is she going to stay? “Oh yes, absolutely. I’m going to die here.”

The area isn’t overbuilt with street lights and concrete, she said. You can see wildlife such as coyotes. Some residents have horses or chickens on their property. You can see the stars at night.

“When you’re in our neighborhood, you can really appreciate how precious the lifestyle is out here,” Lorenz said.

Residents are trying to hang on to that lifestyle as development continues to happen around them, she said.

A lot of people in the area are longtime residents who wanted a quiet place to live, Lorenz said, adding they’re not millionaires who came in to buy up properties.

A lot of newcomers to Las Vegas, she said, “have no idea who we are.”

‘The government has to intervene’

Lorenz lived near Sunset Road and South Valley View Boulevard starting in the mid-1980s. After she moved to her current house, she used to go to a truck stop on Dean Martin Drive to get something to eat.

“The truck stop back then was manageable,” Lorenz said, but noted that over time, the amount of traffic increased and more development happened.

While driving on Dean Martin, she couldn’t see around trucks parked along a blind curve in the road and had a couple of close calls.

Recently, she has noticed “no parking” signs posted — in addition to more speed limit signs — and that has made a big difference, Lorenz said.

Lorenz has written letters to a couple of Clark County commissioners and public works about truck traffic and development.

Lorenz said she’d like to see more space for truck drivers and for traffic to be better managed.

“I’d like to see a fantastic truck stop for these fellas,” she said.

But she’d also truck drivers to be courteous of those who live in residential neighborhoods.

“When we put traffic signs out there, we mean it,” Lorenz said. “We don’t want you driving your big, noisy trucks in our neighborhood.”

Another step that needs to be taken: Government entities “need to figure out whose jurisdiction is what,” Lorenz said. “The government has to intervene and clean this up. Who else do we turn to?”

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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