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Planners split on changes to land management plan

The Boulder City Planning Commission approved the zoning designations of three items on the land management plan at a meeting Wednesday night by a 4-3 vote.

Commission members Fritz McDonald, Cokie Booth, Glenn Leavitt and Steve Walton recommended that the three proposals move forward to the City Council. Members Paul Matuska, John Redlinger and Commission Chairman Jim Giannosa voted no on the measures.

The three changes under consideration were for a 91-acre plot on Bootleg Canyon Trail for a training facility for obstacle course racing; a city proposal to designate the U.S. Highway 93/95 interchange land for commercial, light industrial and manufacturing use; and a city request for light industrial and manufacturing designations for 1,171 acres south of the Boulder City Landfill.

Both city requests were filed by the Boulder City Department of Community Development.

Jose Zelaya, the potential owner of the proposed 91 acres, said that he did not want that much land and was shooting more for a 10- to 20-acre plot.

The commission’s vote to recommend all three items on the land management plan was divided. Commission members agreed with the recreational zoning of Zelaya’s request to build an obstacle course training facility; but, they were in disagreement over the city’s two proposals.

Matuska said he did not like the city zoning a large number of parcels on the land management plan without knowing what is going to be there.

“I don’t agree with the city’s two proposals,” Matuska said. “This is prime land where we are saying we want to zone it as industrial, and I don’t think we are there yet. The proposals are not compatible with the community, and the city doesn’t know if and when something is going to be built there.”

Redlinger said that he voted no on the measure because the city’s proposal near the landfill did not have proper highway access.

“I don’t have a problem with Mr. Zelaya’s proposal, but there is no freeway access to the property by the landfill,” he said. “I could be persuaded to change my mind, but I am leaning toward not recommending because I want an explanation about what kind of road construction will be there.”

Leavitt said that all the proposals were properly zoned and should be recommended to City Council. He also said that he did not buy Redlinger’s argument that the roads were a concern.

“Anyone who thinks that whatever warehouse or company that builds on this land is not going to build an on ramp is living in a fantasy,” Leavitt said. “I have no problem with any of these zoning designations, and I think they could be a benefit to our city.”

Residents who attended the meeting had mixed feelings about the city’s land management plan proposals.

George Rhee said it was pointless to zone land with no set plan.

“How can you decided if a designation is appropriate if you have zero idea what is being built there,” Rhee said. “These proposals are stupid and lack the proper foresight and direction about where we are going with our city.”

Resident Rebecca Haag said that if the Planning Commission is going to recommend something be on the land management plan to simply start a discussion, then everything should be on the plan.

“The city has provided no motivation for their proposals, and if the city wants to designate land in an area, then they should have to have some rationale for it,” Haag said. “Why would you recommend a random proposal just because you want to discuss it?”

Resident Glenn Feyen approached the city’s interchange proposal with cautious optimism.

“I think it is great that the city wants to put some businesses on the interchange,” Feyen said. “I am pro business, and my only concern is that if we put things like gas stations or fast food in that area, people will just skip over Boulder City. Tourists will stop at the interchange and move right on to Las Vegas.”

The commission members’ vote was only for a recommendation to City Council. The council will vote in February on land management plan items with or without the zoning recommendations of the commission.

Developer Randy Schams’ land management plan request for a residential zoning of as many as 900 acres in locations within the city limits was not discussed at the meeting. His request, with all other land management plan items, will be discussed during a public workshop in January.

“Randy Schams’ request is not on the agenda tonight, so there will be no discussion on his request at this meeting,” Giannosa said as a packed room of people began to clear out.

In other meeting news, the commission unanimously approved to bring the Boulder City Rifle and Pistol Club’s request to use above-ground electrical distribution lines to power its clubhouse to a future City Council meeting.

The request was needed because the city requires that all distribution lines be underground. But to save money, the gun club asked if it could permanently use temporary above-ground lines that were previously used by contracting company Las Vegas Paving.

The commission agreed to bring the club’s request to council on the condition that the gun club pay for the maintenance of the lines and that the lines be labeled as “customer only,” meaning that electricity can be used to power the clubhouse only.

The gun club also agreed to revisit the issue again in five years and put in underground distribution lines if new development in the area made them available.

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

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