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Residents battle garage plan

For those fussy rock stars, pop idols and A-list athletes who fly into town and want their half-million dollar cars awaiting them, polished and ready to cruise, a local entrepreneur has proposed a year-round parking garage.

Mike Iannuccilli, who paints luxury cars, envisions building a two-level structure — half underground, half above ground — to house and service high-end cars on a parcel south of Sahara Avenue and east of Westwind Road, a few miles from the Strip.

Iannuccilli first must buy the 1.6-acre tract, and before he does that, he wants the land rezoned from residential to office use.

His aim to build something other than housing has won him few fans in the neighborhood and earned him a mixed review among Clark County commissioners, who split 3-3 in a vote last week on the rezoning.

Thirty residents signed a petition opposing the zoning change. Many said they worry that the project would set a bad precedent and encourage rampant commercial growth in their neighborhood.

“Neighbors are very fearful of opening the floodgates,” said Don Tingey, 72, an attorney who has lived on Westwind Road for 34 years.

The county’s comprehensive plan forbids commercial development south of Laredo Street, which runs parallel to Sahara Avenue, Tingey said. To allow even one non-residential project south of the line is to nullify the plan’s restrictions, he added.

Commissioners will revisit the proposed rezoning on Feb. 6 to give Commissioner Rory Reid a chance to break the tie. He was absent during the last meeting.

Commissioners Tom Collins, Chris Giunchigliani and Lawrence Weekly voted against the rezoning, while commissioners Chip Maxfield, Susan Brager and Bruce Woodbury supported it.

“It’s a residential area,” Giunchigliani said. “I don’t see that business as appropriate for that area.”

Maxfield said he would back zoning that would limit the venture to being a parking garage. He said that Dan Towbin’s car lots stretch along Sahara to the north of the property and that he did not want Towbin to buy the parking site from Iannuccilli later and start selling cars there.

“I don’t want this to have any opportunity to turn into anything like auto dealerships,” Maxfield said.

Towbin could not be reached for comment.

Neighbors echoed Maxfield’s concerns about Towbin possibly eyeing the site.

Some wonder whether Iannuccilli plans to buy the land, rezone it and sell it to Towbin for a quick profit, Tingey said. Others think that maybe Iannuccilli is collaborating with Towbin.

Several neighbors said they had heard that Iannuccilli was asking about an adjacent parcel and worried that he might want to expand the business or flip that piece of land to someone like Towbin.

Jay Brown, an attorney representing Iannuccilli, said rumors about his client being linked to the car dealer are unfounded and untrue.

Iannuccilli has run an auto-body shop for 22 years that caters to luxury brands, such as Rolls-Royce, Porsche and Lamborghini, Brown said.

Iannuccilli got the idea for the parking garage from customers who complained about the lack of places to store their high-end cars, Brown said.

“He’s not talking behind the scenes with Towbin,” Brown said. “His reputation is everything.”

Iannuccilli initially proposed rezoning the site to allow cars to be sold there because he mistakenly thought that was necessary to build a parking garage, Brown said.

The idea is to create a storage site where high-class cars could be kept year round and maintained, perhaps for out-of-town celebrities, Brown said. Crews would clean and wax the cars, keep the tires inflated and the batteries charged.

Owners could monitor their cars online via live video cameras to ensure attendants are not joyriding, Brown said. When the VIPs visit Las Vegas, valets would deliver their cars to them.

Brown said he can understand the neighbors’ fears and speculation.

Iannuccilli simply looked at one parcel, found it was unavailable and checked out the one next to it, Brown said, insisting that his client had no interest in buying both.

Nancy Carver, a 28-year resident of nearby Lindell Road, said that if the garage goes in, the vacant chunk of land between the structure and her house will become unsuited for anything but commercial use.

No one will want to build houses there, and she’ll wind up with a business complex behind her home.

“It’s as though we don’t matter,” Carver said.

Steve Wenger, 47, another resident, called Iannuccilli’s proposed operation a beautiful design and “an asset to any community.” Except his neighborhood.

Wenger said he spent $550,000 for his house and is doing $80,000 in landscaping. If county leaders are going to open the area to commercial growth, they shouldn’t expect residents and businesses to coexist, he said.

“Make the whole thing commercial and give me $1 million for my property,” Wenger said.

Contact reporter Scott Wyland at swyland@reviewjournal.com or (702) 455-4519.

 

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