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Neighbors oppose Las Vegas neighborhood road closure, survey finds

Updated December 19, 2018 - 9:25 pm

Las Vegas officials and the Metropolitan Police Department will partner to review crime data and vet the possibility of installing security cameras in a central city neighborhood where some residents unnerved by burglaries have sought to close off an access point to outside the community.

Six months ago, petitioners requested that an emergency access gate be constructed at the intersection of Shetland Road and Alta Drive, effectively creating a cul-de-sac and closing Shetland.

Michael McDonald, president of the neighborhood association and a former Las Vegas city councilman, told the council on Wednesday that several burglaries over the past two years in the wealthy neighborhood had galvanized neighbors to request the street closure because it had become the preferred escape route to Alta Drive and then the freeway.

“This isn’t something where we’re creating something that’s never been done before,” he said about closing the road. “This is about protecting our neighborhood.”

McDonald said neighbors would even pay for the gate.

But a city survey sent to neighbors contradicted McDonald’s suggestion of widespread support: Of the 70 residents who responded, 50 opposed the closure, according to the city. The Traffic and Parking Commission later heard the case and recommended denial of the closure.

McDonald disputed the survey’s accuracy, adding that he and others never received a form. Yet several neighbors on Wednesday reiterated their opposition to the request, saying they want to preserve the openness of the neighborhood and that they are worried about delayed emergency access and traffic being diverted to nearby streets.

Councilman Steve Seroka questioned the lack of raw statistics to back up McDonald’s narrative and requested more information. Ultimately, the Council decided to review the issue in February and directed city staff to work with police to gather crime data and to determine whether security cameras would be a feasible alternative to installing a gate.

Badlands legal fees

The council authorized $100,000 in additional funding to the McDonald Carano law firm for the city’s defense in a district court lawsuit brought by a developer seeking to build out the former Badlands Golf Course. It raises the expected legal fees to a quarter-million dollars.

The developer, EHB Cos., is challenging the council’s denial of the company’s land use applications and claiming government obstruction of its property rights. The council had previously authorized spending up to $149,999 to battle the case, yet legal costs will “likely soon exceed” that amount, according to a city staff report.

Downtown alliance

The council approved a $50,000, three-year extension of its partnership with the Downtown Las Vegas Alliance to promote downtown engagement and growth. The deal with the alliance, which was formed in 2008 and maintains 78 business members, includes renewal options each year during the length of the agreement.

Councilman Bob Coffin, who represents downtown in Ward 3, said he hoped the alliance would also get behind the city’s efforts to boost funding to combat homelessness.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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