The city of Las Vegas and Clark County inked an agreement this week to smooth some of the issues the two have squabbled over, including annexations and sewer service.
The Clark County Commission on Tuesday and the Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a 10-year agreement governing a number of land-use issues in the northwest portion of Las Vegas, where there are several large, land-locked “islands” of unincorporated Clark County land.
The city and county previously had an interlocal agreement governing land-use issues in the northwest portion of Las Vegas, but until recently the sides couldn’t reach a consensus to extend that agreement or strike a new deal.
Nat Hodgson, executive director of the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association, told commissioners Tuesday that he appreciated the county and city’s efforts to revive the agreement.
“It’s the only thing I asked for Christmas this year,” he said. “Not being able to get sewer has kind of halted our home building in that area.”
City and non-city residents will pay the same rate for Las Vegas sewer service under the new agreement. The agreement allows non-city residents to connect to the city’s sewer system if the property owner provides the necessary infrastructure and pays sewer connection fees. That area of Las Vegas has seen a substantial amount of growth in recent years, and because the county’s system doesn’t extend north of Sahara Avenue, that’s meant anyone in those county islands that wants municipal sewer service must hook into the city’s system.
The interlocal agreement is effective immediately, but the City Council’s action Wednesday to allow for sewer service to properties outside the city’s boundaries is contingent on Clark County repealing an ordinance and withdrawing a bill draft request for the upcoming 2017 Nevada Legislature session. Both measures dealt with annexations.
At their zoning meeting Tuesday afternoon, commissioners introduced an ordinance to repeal the anti-annexation ordinance they approved in July. The commissioners will vote on the repeal on Jan. 4.
Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown thanked county and city staff who worked tirelessly to work through “politics” of this issue to “get back to the policy.”
“I think we’re back in the place we all wanted to get, including the city, and that’s to recognize, protect and preserve a very unique area both west of the 95 and east of the 95 that have been out there for decades and the city literally has grown up around it.”
The agreement also states that the city must agree with any annexation-related state legislation the county supports or sponsors. The City Council at nearly every meeting approves annexations, which must come at the request of the current property owner.
Jorge Cervantes, the city’s director of community development, said Wednesday the deal is workable for both sides and provides more certainty for residents in the northwest.
Annexation-related issues have been at the heart of the city-county tension that’s simmered over the past couple years. In September, city management presented the council with two options: maintain the status quo on annexations and the city’s sewer service area, or create a road map toward mending the relationship with the county with a series of measures that would see both local governments compromise.
Since then, the sides have taken the second path, either approving or working toward a series of measures that include the city annexing land, fire protection and sewer services. Since September, conversations with the county about these issues have happened every couple days, City Manager Betsy Fretwell said recently.
The county “islands” aren’t only in the northwest part of the city — Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian said she will push for the city to annex those areas in her south-central LasVegas ward, which is concentrated largely west of Interstate 15 and south of U.S. 95. Councilman Bob Coffin’s east Las Vegas ward has a county peninsula which he called “neglected,” and he’s wondered why the city doesn’t annex that.
“If they don’t want us to have it, they could at least take care of it,” Coffin said.
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