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Southern Hills neighborhood debates adding traffic barrier

After seeing an increase in traffic in the neighborhood, the Southern Hills community is debating whether to erect a barrier that would block access to cars that cut through the streets.

Neighbors in the 191-house subdivision are slated to discuss the item at the Southern Hills Homeowners Association meeting March 6.

“It’s a very passionate topic,” said Gabriel Meza, who has lived in the neighborhood for two years with his wife and two children.

Sandwiched between Horizon Ridge Parkway and Coronado Center Drive, drivers often cut through the neighborhood, turning down Coffee Bean Place, followed by a left on Doubleshot Lane and a right on Copilico Terrace or vice versa.

As a result, residents have complained about traffic issues.

“(The neighborhood) wasn’t fully developed at the time I moved in,” Meza said. “Over time, traffic became more and more of an issue. If I knew it would be this bad, I wouldn’t have moved here.”

Edwin Corales, a resident of two years and the HOA board president, said members of the community connected with Henderson City Councilman Sam Bateman to see what could be done to stop traffic issues.

Most neighbors figured it was a speeding problem to be resolved by adding speed bumps.

The city conducted a traffic study in 2013 and found that more than 1,700 cars traveled down Copilico Terrace per day.

Corales said that is a higher number than estimated when the area was developed.

While seeking to solve the problem, the idea of a barrier that would be set up on Copilico Terrace was — and still is — debated.

“We had some people who were adamantly against a barrier until they saw the traffic study,” Corales said.

Community members went before the Henderson City Council Feb. 4, voicing either support or opposition toward the project.

In a 5-0 decision, the council approved the design plan for the barrier, but it told the neighbors it was up to them whether to move forward.

According to Keith Paul, a spokesman for the city of Henderson, even though the city identified it as a problem, it has to be deemed a higher threat for the city to pay for it.

Prior to the meeting, the city sent 148 cards to neighbors — Corales said of the 191 houses in the subdivision, 43 wouldn’t be affected by the proposed barrier — surveying their opinions on the traffic problem and the proposed barrier.

The city received 91 cards back, and 68 were in favor of the barrier.

Hans Luther, who has lived in the area since 2011 with his wife and four children, is opposed to the idea.

“We all moved into the neighborhood knowing we were in between those two streets,” he said. “Some of us chose it because of the access it provided.”

He said it’s unfair now that people want to change the neighborhood.

Meza, who is for the barrier, said his family has nearly been hit backing out of the driveway and has had to wait for ongoing traffic to stop.

He added that the neighborhood has already lost one dog because of the traffic problem.

“What’s next?” he asked. “A child. I’d rather be proactive than reactive.”

Meza also believes that there have been break-ins, including his car, due to an increase in traffic.

“People are cutting through the area, and they have no business being over here,” he said. “They are able to scope things out.”

He added that he would initially miss the access the road provides.

“It’s going to be inconvenient for us,” Meza said. “We are choosing safety over convenience.”

Luther said he feels there has been a lack of communication from the HOA about the project. He also hasn’t heard anything about how much the barrier could cost.

Corales said the HOA is sending out pitches to design companies and estimates that a barrier would cost between $5,000 and $10,000.

“We have seen one bid so far for $6,500,” he said. “But we want to put out several to see the difference.”

If the community decided to make the area a gated community, an issue not currently being considered, it would be more costly and transform the roads from public to private, meaning the HOA would be responsible for it. Meza said he heard that dues would be raised from $30 to more than $200 if that were to happen.

Corales said the board has retained legal counsel to make sure it takes the proper steps in pursuing this, which included being advised on how many votes it would take to implement.

“I hope it’s not just 51 percent,” Luther said. “What if you get 51 percent, then a neighbor leaves and the new person is against (the barrier)? Do we take another vote and have to take it down?”

Luther said it should be more than two-thirds.

“If 75 or 80 percent of people are in favor, then who am I to stand in the way?” he said. “But I don’t think we have that type of majority.”

Corales also is in favor.

“Even though I am the HOA board president, I speak for myself,” he said. “As a resident, I am in favor of it.”

Corales added that if more people are opposed to the barrier, he will do what the community wants.

“If it gets voted down, we will go back to the city to determine what to do next (for the traffic problem),” he said.

Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at mlyle@viewnews.com or 702-387-5201.

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