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Future of Badlands golf course in limbo after another contentious City Council meeting

The Las Vegas City Council yet again delayed action on a controversial proposal for a large residential development on the Badlands golf course, after a more than seven-and-a-half-hour session Wednesday that turned testy and dramatic at times.

The housing complex was the only part of a larger luxury housing development proposed for the Badlands golf course that wasn’t withdrawn from city consideration earlier this month. The proposal for 720 units at the eastern corner of the Badlands golf course will return to the council in January.

The council voted 4-3 earlier Wednesday to allow developers proposing controversial residential units on the Badlands golf course to withdraw a substantial part of their plan without certain restrictions, but urged negotiations toward a compromise with neighbors.

Councilman Bob Beers, who represents the area of the city that includes Badlands and surrounding neighborhoods, warned that council members would “frown on” an application for development of that portion of the course returning to the council sooner than six months from now.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and other council members chided people — both in favor of and against the development — for failing to work together and compromise. Goodman directed Attorney Shauna Hughes, who represents the Queensridge Homeowners Association, and EHB Companies President Frank Pankratz to lead the negotiations.

“Nothing would make the seven of us happier than that accord being reached,” Beers said.

A clearly frustrated developer, EHB Companies CEO Yohan Lowie, addressed the council toward the end of Wednesday’s meeting, which led council members to question whether their earlier calls for negotiations between the two sides would happen.

Residents in neighboring developments have fiercely opposed Lowie’s proposal to develop on the golf course, located southwest of the intersection of Alta Drive and Rampart Boulevard.

The original application covered a much larger area of the golf course, totaling nearly 2,700 multifamily and assisted living units and larger single-family estates.

The application for all but the 720 units was withdrawn earlier this month, after the Las Vegas Planning Commission shot down that part of the proposal.

Opponents continued to rail Wednesday against the project for traffic and drainage concerns, the density of the proposed development and the removal of the golf course as open space.

They lamented what they said are declining property values since the new development was proposed, and the sides continued to butt heads over whether residential units can be developed on the golf course. That concern is one of the issues in a pending lawsuit opponents filed nearly a year ago.

Goodman said she felt as if she had returned to the time of her grown children’s youth during her interaction with project proponents and opponents.

The mayor had to quiet crowd members who were shouting that they wanted to lengthen the timeline for the withdrawn part of the application to return to the council.

A crowd of roughly 150 people gathered in the council chambers, some wielding signs that read “Hear Our Voices” and “Not the Select Few.”

Councilman Stavros Anthony called the past year “unproductive” in working through the Badlands issues and called it one of the most “toxic land use discussions” the council has had in his time in office.

“I think we need to use a mulligan on this whole thing,” Anthony said. “I think we need to start completely over.”

Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian said she was “disappointed” that more efforts weren’t made to try to bring the two sides together.

Councilman Bob Coffin noted he hadn’t been in a meeting where both sides had been present and at least willing to “give an inch.”

Gaming attorney Frank Schreck, one of the Queensridge residents leading the charge against the golf course development proposal, said the developers have approached city staff about a different plan to develop another segment of the golf course.

City planning staff and City Attorney Brad Jerbic acknowledged a pre-application conference about the potential for developing a subdivision on part of the golf course, as an alternative to a development agreement with the city for the entire 250 acres.

Tarkanian, who said she fielded many calls about the development proposal, said council members should have known about that.

“Our own staff should be letting us know what they’re talking about doing,” Tarkanian said. “And I feel really badly about that.”

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

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