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Contested cemetery gets County Commission OK

A cemetery planned for the southwest valley was approved Wednesday by Clark County commissioners despite some neighbors’ objections.

The 20-acre cemetery at Buffalo Drive and Warm Springs Road would have room for almost 9,000 burial plots and 4,000 above-ground tombs.

Residents and nearby landowners have complained that a cemetery would hurt their property values.

But the cemetery is allowed under the commercial zoning and can’t be denied, county attorney Rob Warhola told commissioners.

Still, county officials rejected developer William Gayler’s request for seven additional parking spaces and a taller chapel than the code permits.

Gayler must keep the chapel’s height at 35 feet instead of the 50 feet he had requested, and he must build an 8-foot fence around one portion of the graveyard.

A crematory, where bodies would be incinerated, would be allowed, though Gayler indicated he might never build it.

Bill O’Donnell, who owns a nearby parcel, said he wasn’t pleased with the decision but is confident that Gayler’s legal feud with at least one partner in a land deal will derail the project.

“I think it’s dead,” said O’Donnell, adding that the pun was intended. “I believe that any action that the County Commission took was academic.”

Gayler declined to comment, saying his attorney advised him not to speak with reporters.

Gayler is wrangling with a partner, Barry Moore, who owns part of a five-acre corner lot. Moore contends that Gayler lacked the authority to sign off on commercial zoning in 2005 for that lot.

O’Donnell said a judge found against Gayler on Tuesday and awarded Moore a hefty sum. No details were available Wednesday on the ruling or the amount of the judgment.

Warhola, the county attorney, said Gayler’s court battles were a side issue that shouldn’t affect whether a cemetery is approved.

Keeping the 35-foot height limit was important in case the cemetery project is scrapped, said David Chestnut, the Enterprise Town Advisory Board chairman. Otherwise, developers could build a 50-foot-tall complex that is more massive than a chapel, Chestnut said.

O’Donnell questioned whether Gayler ever intended to build a cemetery or was simply proposing a chapel so he could increase the height limit and, in turn, make the land more marketable. “He didn’t get the 50 feet, so he is in the same place he was yesterday.”


Contact reporter Scott Wyland at swyland@reviewjournal.com or 702-455-4519.

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