Councilwoman Michele Fiore had city marshals throw people out of a Las Vegas neighborhood meeting that erupted this week.
The Wednesday evening meeting was about developers’ controversial plans to put apartments on the privately-owned C.P. Pop Squires Park, named for Charles Pember Squires, an early developer of Las Vegas.
When another man was ousted from the Wednesday meeting at the Centennial Hills YMCA, Randall McGlade began recording video with the cellphone, he said.
“If this is your neighborhood, I am there for you,” Fiore told the crowd in the recording. “If you want to come and heckle me, it’s not going to work, period.”
Fiore then asked McGlade if he lives in the neighborhood where the private park is located. He responded that he lives in the general area.
“OK, marshals, please. This is for a neighborhood meeting,” Fiore said. “This is a neighborhood meeting, for a neighborhood that wants this park, that I want to make sure this neighborhood gets this park. Do you understand that? That is very rude, what you’re doing. And that’s not what this meeting’s about.”
“This is a public place, I’m a citizen,” McGlade responded. “I wasn’t disrespectful to anyone.”
“This is an HOA,” Fiore said.
McGlade recorded as a city marshal escorted him out of the room.
“Sir, you’ve got to get up,” the marshal told McGlade. “Let’s go, sir. She has every right to kick you out.”
McGlade asks on what grounds he’s being kicked out of the meeting, and the recording ends. McGlade said he accidentally turned off the camera while he was using a cane to get out of his chair.
The issue behind the Wednesday night hubbub is a plan from RH Centennial LLC and Centennial Holdings LLC to build a 154-unit apartment complex on part of the property they own, which includes the park. The small park, in the far northwest valley off Farm Road, is rimmed by residences just off a burgeoning commercial center along Durango Drive.
Outside the grassy areas, playground equipment and benches sit signs that say the private park is owned and maintained by the residents and tenants of the village of Centennial Springs. Visitors are welcome from dawn until dusk, while after-hours usage is for residents and tenants, signs say.
Fiore said her staffers attended a previous meeting about the development plans, and encountered a “hostile crowd.”
“Come to find out, a lot of those people didn’t live in that community,” Fiore told the Review-Journal.
Park sale an option
Fiore opened the Wednesday night meeting by telling the crowd the meeting was meant for people in the Centennial Springs homeowners association, because that group would be the ones “writing the check” to buy the park.
“I said ‘if you don’t live in the HOA, get out. And if you don’t leave, I highly suggest you don’t create a ruckus,’” Fiore said, recalling the meeting. “A guy in the back started flapping his lips.”
Elisabeth Delk, an attorney with the Kaempfer Crowell law firm, said the developers have offered the sell the park to the homeowners association multiple times. The developers are open to working with the homeowners on that, Delk said.
Development plans for the apartments have been submitted to the city, and are slated for the Nov. 14 Planning Commission agenda, though they could be delayed, Delk said.
Fiore wants a delay so the HOA can have 60 days to collect signatures from residents who are interested in buying the park.
“I am not open to crowding our ward with apartments or degrading the Ward 6 way of life,” Fiore said. “This park, unfortunately, they (the homeowners) just don’t own it. The park doesn’t come along with the property. One of the things I’m trying to do is I’m trying to get them the park.”
Fiore’s office emailed a newsletter Sept. 28 that mentioned the meeting, billed as a “Centennial Springs HOA Neighborhood Meeting.”
A 2007 development agreement between the original owner and a park association said that once the association paid the fees for the park, the ownership would transfer the association. The fees weren’t paid, so the ownership transfer didn’t happen, Delk said.
McGlade said later he hadn’t been to a neighborhood meeting like that before, but he went at the urging of his neighbors. McGlade lives three blocks from the park, which he and his wife don’t want to see become apartments. McGlade is worried development there will ramp up traffic and crime rates, while property values will take a hit.
“Whether I’m in the HOA or not, I am in the neighborhood and this is a public meeting in a public setting,” McGlade told the Review-Journal.