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Land near golf course to be sold; council votes to accept bids from developers to build homes

City Council approved 4-0 to begin accepting bids to purchase the land around Boulder Creek Golf Club and the southeast corner of Bristlecone Drive and Adams Boulevard to develop homes.

Councilwoman Peggy Leavitt was not in attendance.

Council members chose not to vote to begin the bidding process on the $25 million tracts of land last month because they felt the requirements for developers to build homes were too regulatory and members of the public felt that the land would not be available for people to build their own homes and young families looking for affordable housing.

The city seemed to address of a number of concerns that halted the council’s last vote.

The city got rid of the word “shall” in many of the old requirements for developers and replaced it with “encourage.” It was a seemingly small change but, according to Boulder City Director of Community Development Brok Armantrout, the wording change puts potential home developers and the city in a better situation.

“By using the word encourage instead of shall we are putting less regulation on the developers and by making it so they have to either improve … or make them at least as good as the other homes in the area we can still dictate what kind of homes we want in the new developments.”

Mayor Rod Woodbury said that he liked the change in wording and wanted to remind people that while the word “encourage” gives developers more freedom they are not unregulated.

“The problem I have with the word shall is that a lot of people in the community have different opinions about what those shalls are supposed to be,” Woodbury said. “When you restrict bidders you get less of them and we are encouraging upgrades. We can always reject any bid we don’t think meets our standards.”

Despite Woodbury’s reasoning, members of the public still felt the lack of truly defined regulations would lead to a number of developers building homes the community does not want.

Resident Tracy Folda said that a plot of land that lacks building regulations is a dangerous road to tread.

“I moved down here to Boulder City because it is not Las Vegas,” Folda said. “If we don’t force developers to build the houses we want with regulations, then we are going to have a bunch of cookie-cutter homes like they have up in Henderson and Las Vegas.”

Resident Andy Anderson expressed the same sentiment.

“We are about to bring in a bunch of developers we don’t know and only encourage them to do things to the development that we want,” Anderson said, presenting his statement as a question to council members.

The lack of affordable housing in the developments also was addressed.

“No young families are going to be able to afford these homes,” Folda said.

However, Bret Runion, owner of Desert Sun Realty, said affordable housing was never going to be possible on land meant for 7,000-square-foot homes.

“I agree that we need to create more affordable housing in Boulder City, but this area is not the place to do it,” Runion said. “You can’t build a home that young families can afford on plots this big. If we want to get serious about affordable housing, we need to start making some homes on 5,000-square-foot plots.”

Councilman Duncan McCoy said he was concerned about the lack of affordable housing, but that the homes near the golf course tend to be move-up homes leaving more affordable housing open for young families.

“I know many of the homes up there are move-up homes for families that are starting to make money,” McCoy said. “That will leave a lot of the old homes open for new families.”

Residents also worried the ability of owner-builders to compete with big developers to purchase the land.

“How are small bidders supposed to compete with larger developers,” resident Kevin Tibbs asked. “I don’t see how there will be any room for owner-builder homes if large developers are buying big tracts of land.”

Armantrout said that it would be difficult for a owner-builder to outbid a large development company, but that people could built their own homes.

“We are allowing owner-builder homes, but it would be hard to outbid some of those larger developers,” Armantrout said. “A group of owner-builders could go in together on a tract of land or a single person could work out a deal with a development company to just buy a plot of land from them.”

The tracts of land will be open to bid for 90 days, after which, the City Council will either approve or reject bids. If bids for specific parcels are rejected, then another discovery/bidding period will be opened.

The city estimates about 220 homes to be built in the area.

In other actions, the council:

n Voted 4-0 to approve an access and facilities easement for Copper Mountain Solar 2 to maintain, repair and operate the facilities at the Copper Mountain Solar 1 substation.

n Voted 4-0 to lease 5 acres to Aerodrome as part of the company’s efforts to create a public airport for unmanned aircraft systems.

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

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