Clark County wants to build affordable housing on as much as 110 acres of federal land in the southern half of the Las Vegas Valley.
County commissioners on Wednesday voted unanimously to submit a request to the Bureau of Land Management under the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, which allows the federal agency to transfer land to local jurisdictions.
County Social Service Director Michael Pawlak said rising home prices and rental rates have sparked a renewed sense of urgency to develop affordable rental housing.
“We need to pull out all the stops to keep developing affordable housing,” he said.
The federal land is spread across 10 parcels in the southern and southwest valley. About 25 acres are directly west of the intersection of Flamingo Road and Durango Drive, and the rest are scattered mostly on the southern side of the 215 Beltway.
The maximum number of apartments that could be built on all the land is about 1,980 because of density restrictions. Commissioner Susan Brager, whose district includes some of the land, said she hopes a mix of apartments and houses can be built.
“I’m hoping some of this can be for ownership, not just the rental market,” she said.
More than 900 acres of BLM land are available for affordable housing, agency spokeswoman Kirsten Cannon said. Since the SNPLMA came into effect in 1998, only 25 acres have been used. That’s resulted in about 650 apartments spread across four developments.
Pawlak said the county is focusing on the 10 parcels it selected because of their proximity to employment opportunities, public transportation and medical care.
The housing will be built and developed by private developers, Pawlak said. The county can sell the land for less than market value, and the developer, typically a nonprofit, can apply for government assistance like tax credits to help finance the project.
The land reservations will be viable for a 10-year period, Cannon said. Pawlak said county staff will take a closer look at the feasibility of building affordable housing on the parcels.
“There are absolutely parcels on that list that we want to begin moving forward directly,” he said. A typical housing project, “from start to completion, when you’re using non-market financing, can take three years.”