Developers will need to complete impact studies before seeking the Las Vegas City Council’s permission to repurpose open spaces under an ordinance approved Wednesday.
The studies include examining how building on open spaces inside existing neighborhoods would affect nearby schools, traffic, utility infrastructure and more. There’s also a requirement that developers keep the property clean and safe, even before any change is made to the land.
The council voted 4-2 to enact the law, with Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Councilwoman Michele Fiore opposed. Councilman Stavros Anthony was absent.
Councilman Steve Seroka, who was elected in Ward 2 last year in part because of the fight over developing the shuttered Badlands golf course, said the new law creates a uniform planning process for the city.
“I think it’s going to really give this city the power to protect our people, our neighborhoods and our property values,” he said.
The ordinance adds onto one the council passed in May that requires developers to hold at least one community meeting with residents and other stakeholders prior to seeking the city’s approval to repurpose an open space.
Building on open spaces has become a controversial topic as developers have eyed closed golf courses in the Las Vegas Valley as fertile ground to build homes. Such proposals have faced opposition from nearby homeowners, many of whom say they paid to live next to courses.
The ordinance has faced fierce criticism from Yohan Lowie, a developer who wants to build homes on the Badlands golf course in the Queensridge community.
Lowie has said the open space ordinance directly targets his proposal, and he released a written statement criticizing the city council following Wednesday’s vote.
“Today the Las Vegas City Council passed a self-serving anti-development and unconstitutional ordinance in an attempt to mitigate crippling damages from existing litigation,” he said. “We will ensure that our constitutional rights are enforced.”
Goodman said the law could stymie growth in older parts of the city by saddling developers of all open spaces with more costs on the front end of their projects. She suggested bringing back an ordinance more directly targeted at golf courses.
“You don’t want to take a huge paintbrush and paint everything the same,” she said.
Ward 5 Councilman Cedric Crear said he believes the ordinance will further growth throughout the city.
“We are moving forward whether this passes or does not pass,” he said.
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