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Council OK zone change for trailer park land; townhomes to be built

Boulder City Council unanimously approved Developer Randy Schams’ request to rezone the 7.33 acre trailer park at 1501 Nevada Highway to a multihome residential area.

The new designation gives Schams the ability to create the 19 four-unit townhomes proposed at a Planning Commission meeting in September. The parcel of land currently has allotments for 91 trailers and mobile homes.

Schams insisted that mobile home park be rezoned as a residential area and not a commercial despite some pleas from the public and recommendations from city staff to rezone to a commercial space.

“We have asked the developer to change the designation to commercial, but he felt that a commercial property was not a viable option with the I-11 coming,” said Brok Armantrout, director of community development.

Members of the public also felt the trailer park should have a commercial designation since its location off Nevada Highway is surrounded mostly by businesses.

Commercial designation

Boulder City resident Kevin Tibbs said he thought a commercial designation was the best thing for the trailer park.

“I didn’t have an issue here until recently because I was happy that the park was getting cleaned up,” Tibbs said. “But after a lot of thought I think the only reasonable designation for the land is commercial just like everywhere else along the highway. Residential does not belong on this highway; we know that because of the condition of the park when the owner bought it. Please urge the developer to change his residential designation.”

Boulder City resident Tracy Folda said the property should be commercial because that’s how it was designated on the city’s master plan.

“The city had a plan to make the area commercial and now they are just throwing it out to appease one person,” Folda said to loud applause from the public.

City Council and members of the Planning Commission did not agree and felt the area should be residential as it has been since the trailer park was created in the late 1950s.

“Why is the best use of this land commercial if it has never been commercial?” Councilman Duncan McCoy asked. “I have no problem with this project; people have been griping about the quality of homes in that area for 28 years and I am not persuaded we need the area for commercial lots when not all of our current lots are filled.”

Questionable future

Planning Commission member Glenn Leavitt said the residential designation was acceptable to the commission because some businesses will likely close when the Interstate 11 bypass is complete.

“We can ignore the elephant in the room or go for it head on, but the hard truth is that some businesses will fail when the bypass shows up,” Leavitt said. “We agreed with a residential designation because people were demanding more affordable housing and because commercial businesses that move in there could fail.”

Councilwoman Peggy Leavitt expressed the same sentiment.

“We have taken a lot of heat because there is not enough affordable housing in the city and this appeals to me because it is affordable housing,” Councilwoman Leavitt said.

Councilman Cam Walker said he liked the residential idea because it would not be a trailer park anymore.

Schams said he would only consider a commercial designation if Target wanted to buy his land and that a residential area is the best use of the plot.

“I have been building here for 20-plus years and I have never heard one positive thing about that trailer park,” Schams said. “I am just trying to make it more appealing and with affordable housing.”

The developer later said he thinks affordable housing is a little under $225,000.

Limited access

Members of the council did have issue with the fact that the park currently has only one designated exit on Yucca Street. Residents of the trailer park currently exit onto Madrone Street, which is not a legally designated exit for the property.

“I am concerned about the fact you only have one exit off Yucca for a 91-unit parcel,” Walker said. “You have a serious access problem.”

A steep grade on the property adjacent to Nevada Highway also inhibits access to the parcel, as does the speed and volume of traffic on the roadway that could prevent additional entrances from being created.

With the rezoning designation approved, residents of the trailer park will be ordered to leave by a designated date given by the developer.

Land Management Plan

City Council also approved Schams’ request to have his Boulder Highlands project looked at by the Planning Commission for feedback on if the subdivision should be on the city’s land management plan.

The council voted 3-2 for approval of Schams’ request with Councilmen Rich Shuman and Walker voting no.

Schams’ proposal designated a total of 900 acres of city land that could be used for development, with the hope that he could trade the 640 acres of Clark County land he owns in Eldorado Valley for city-owned parcels.

Walker felt Schams’ proposal was not a serious offer.

“Why did you propose so much land?” Walker said. “I have told you before that our land is valuable and it is a nonstarter if you think 640 acres outside the city is worth a 640 acres inside the city, and I am against the idea that you think you can circumvent the voters by trading land with us. We have a process and you should follow it.”

Discussion starter

Mayor Rod Woodbury said he did not mind the proposal because he felt the land management plan was just a way to get a discussion on land use going.

“I don’t see a problem with this,” Woodbury said. “We are not obligated to act on the land management plan. This is just a way we can start talking about what we want to do with our land.”

Schams said he hoped to trade some of his 640 acres in Eldorado Valley for city land, but that his proposal was just a way to get the city talking about what areas would be reasonable to build homes on.

The discussion on the proposal and related issues dominated the meeting for about 1½ hours.

Council will approve the land management plan at a meeting in December after consideration by the Planning Commission next month.

Contact reporter Max Lancaster at mlancaster@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow him on Twitter @MLancasterBCR.

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