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County puts plans for UMC parking lot near the Scotch 80s on hold

Clark County has shelved, for now, plans for a large parking lot on Charleston Boulevard that nearby residents feared would lead to high traffic and commercial encroachment in the Scotch 80s, one of Las Vegas’ oldest neighborhoods.

University Medical Center and John Bielinski, owner of land near the corner of Charleston and Shadow Lane, had sought approval for a 270-spot parking lot to serve as overflow parking for the nearby hospital.

The request was set to go before the Las Vegas Planning Commission Thursday night. The county sent a letter to the city Thursday asking that the items be withdrawn “without prejudice,” meaning the application could be refiled at some point.

“Clark County recognizes there is significant work to be done prior to bringing these items forward,” states the letter signed by Randy Tarr, director of the Department of Real Property Management.

“The seller is working with the neighbors to try to address their concerns,” added county spokesman Dan Kulin. “We expect that this application would come back once their concerns are addressed.”

That may be hard to do. Scotch 80s residents almost universally condemned the plan, which probably would also face opposition from the Las Vegas City Council.

Chief among the neighbors’ concerns was that, as planned, the lot would have an exit to Shadow Lane. Since Charleston is often snarled with traffic, residents worried that departing cars would detour through the neighborhood instead of returning to Charleston.

They also worried about commercial uses encroaching into a residential neighborhood, something that older, centrally located housing developments often face.

“These are older neighborhoods. They’ve had to fight for a long time to keep their identities,” said Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, who represents the area. “We need to maintain our neighborhoods there so we can have urban-type living. Isn’t that what we’re trying to build up?”

Mayor Oscar Goodman — a Scotch 80s resident — also doesn’t like the idea, although he might not be able to translate that into voting opposition because of his personal stake.

“I’ve stayed away from it as far as I could,” he said. “I would like to vote on it when it comes before the council. I’m told that I probably won’t be able to.”

Homeowners association president Stephen Grogan said the neighborhood’s residents will keep an eye on what happens with the application.

“We won the temporary war,” he said. “But we’re very wary that this situation is not over, and we’re concerned about the infringement of commercial (uses) into our neighborhood.”

Contact reporter Alan Choate at achoate@reviewjournal.com or 702-229-6435.

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