The Las Vegas City Council authorized Wednesday up to $200,000 to hire outside attorneys to defend the city in multiple lawsuits filed over rejected plans to develop the Badlands golf course.
The vote authorizes the city to spend up to $100,000 in legal fees in two separate lawsuits filed by the developers who have been seeking to build on the shuttered golf course in west Las Vegas. The law firm McDonald Carano is representing the city.
The developers, EHB Cos., and opponents of their building plans have been locked in a bitter battle since EHB bought the then-operating golf course in 2015. Nine Badlands-related lawsuits are pending that name the city as a defendant.
The city attorney’s office occasionally hires outside counsel when more resources or expertise is needed, city Communications Director David Riggleman said.
The 250-acre former golf course winds through the upscale Queensridge development. City staff have spent thousands of hours on the project as the fight between the residents there who oppose the building plans and the developers has worn on.
The City Council has rejected multiple development plans for the property, and the court filings have piled up. The lawsuits argue that the governmental action on the applications amounts to a “taking” of the property and contend the developers are entitled to compensation.
The council turned down the most recent set of plans last month, and developer Yohan Lowie, the CEO of EHB Cos., told city officials to expect more litigation. His attorneys filed a complaint against Las Vegas last week.
Las Vegas City Manager Scott Adams earlier this year approved spending $49,999 in legal fees on each of the two cases the council approved extra outside counsel dollars for on Wednesday.
“Due to the circumstances of this litigation, legal fees will likely soon exceed $49,999,” Wednesday’s City Council agenda summary read.
The only proposal the council approved was challenged in court by development opponents. District Court Judge Jim Crockett ruled in their favor earlier this year; and the developers are appealing that ruling to the Nevada Supreme Court.
Pet shop rules
The council on Wednesday also approved new regulations giving the city broader oversight of where local pet stores source the animals they sell, an attempt to crack down on the flow of animals from large-scale commercial breeding operations into Las Vegas.
The council in November repealed a ban on pet stores selling non-rescue animals, which stirred controversy. When it came time for the final approval on Wednesday, council chambers were comparatively quiet — the council passed the rules unanimously without discussion.
A single sign that read “Adopt Don’t Shop” was placed facing the council.
Councilman Steve Seroka sponsored the ordinance, and said Wednesday the lack of public outcry at the meeting was a symptom of creating regulations that forced a compromise. The new rules call for animal distributors in Las Vegas to give the city a quarterly report detailing the breeders and brokers they’re sourcing animals from, and post a sign at the entrance and exit directing people with concerns about animal welfare at the store to contact animal control officials.
The animals must also be microchipped.
“Many people said to me — don’t mess with pets, just let it all go,” Seroka said. “But I think we saw here we can do a lot better than letting it go.”
Contact Jamie Munks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0340. Follow @Journo_Jamie_ on Twitter.