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Developers aiming to build on Badlands course sue Las Vegas

Updated April 20, 2018 - 6:56 pm

The development group that wants to build on the shuttered Badlands golf course is suing the city of Las Vegas and District Judge Jim Crockett, alleging government action and a ruling in a separate lawsuit obstructs their property rights.

The lawsuit filed Friday in Clark County District Court is the third complaint the developers have filed against the city in a month.

It brings the total number of Badlands-related lawsuits in play to eight, City Attorney Brad Jerbic said Friday.

Crockett earlier this year sided with golf course development opponents who live in the surrounding Queensridge development, ruling that the city of Las Vegas abused its discretion in giving the green light in 2017 to EHB Cos. plans to build 435 condominiums on 17 acres at the former golf course’s eastern tip.

The judge contended city code required the developer to submit a major modification to the master plan governing the area, and that the development team swayed city staff away from that.

The Las Vegas City Council voted March 21 whether to appeal the ruling in that case, which was filed by some of the vehement opponents of EHB Cos.’ plans to develop the course. The council split 3-3, and the tie vote killed an appeal.

The lawsuit contends that Crockett’s ruling is “significantly overreaching,” going beyond a judicial review of the council’s 2017 approval of the condominium project, overturns the zoning of the golf course and “materially impairs” the landowner’s property rights.

It contends Crockett’s ruling, and city officials’ decision not to appeal “after having been advised by the city attorney’s office that it is legally improper,” amount to inverse condemnation, or “a taking of the landowners’ property rights without just compensation.”

“I have been practicing in this area for nearly 50 years and it appears in this matter that there is more than sufficient evidence that the Government action in this case has risen to the level of a taking requiring the payment of just compensation, under the United States and Nevada Constitution,” attorney Kermitt Waters said in a statement.

The lawsuit contends that the zoning district that includes the shuttered golf course allows for 7.49 residential units per acre, and that under state law, the zoning supersedes master plan designations.

Jerbic said Friday he could not comment on the case specifically because it is pending litigation.

In the two years that the development plans have pitted the developers against opponents in the Queensridge area surrounding the course, some city officials have pushed for compromise.

Jerbic led that effort for the city, but the two sides haven’t met in the middle. He called it “unfortunate” that it has led to a place where both sides are trying to further their goals by filing lawsuits.

“I just wish we could settle this without lawsuits,” Jerbic said. “Lawyers don’t run the world.”

Crockett couldn’t be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

The developers filed two lawsuits in March against the city — one in District Court and one in federal court. Another lawsuit filed last year seeks millions of dollars in damages from the city.

Contact Jamie Munks at jmunks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0340. Follow @Journo_Jamie_ on Twitter.

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