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Pool funding plans move forward

The road toward funding a new municipal pool in Boulder City has been somewhat tortuous.

Voters approved a ballot question in 2010 directing the city to sell an area of land immediately adjacent to Boulder Creek Golf Club known as Tract 350. Due to a plethora of concerns, including a general economy that was still in free-fall after the financial crisis of 2008 and the ensuing period known as the Great Recession, which saw property values throughout Nevada plummet, no serious attempt was made to sell the land until about 2016.

At that time, the city received exactly zero bids for Tract 350.

But times have changed. A moratorium on the construction of new golf courses in Southern Nevada (a result of rapidly sinking water levels in Lake Mead and throughout the Lower Colorado River Basin), made land bordering existing golf courses much more desirable and, in 2021, a pair of ballot questions were approved that mandated that 10% of the funds raised from any sale of Tract 350 would go towards funding capital improvements solely related to public safety. The remaining 90% of the proceeds would go to fund a new aquatic facility to replace the city’s aging and deteriorating public pool.

Several developers bid on the land at that point with the city deciding on Toll Brothers as their preferred developer. In their initial plan, the Las Vegas-based high-end home developer proposed as many as 185 homes, including a mix of single family homes and duplexes on the 43-acre site.

That plan was approved by the council in December of 2021 on a tight 3-2 vote.

However, as pressure from existing homeowners in the area mounted to that kind of density, Toll Brothers scaled their plan back to 156 homes but also scaled back their proposed purchase price by nearly $20,000 per acre.

This time, the council vote was 3-2 against the deal. Both Sherri Jorgensen and Matt Fox were members of that council and voted against the plan.

Earlier this year, city staff reported that Toll Bros. was still interested in the sale and that they expected a new offer to be in place sometime during the spring of this year. It took until the end of summer, but the developer did come back with a new plan.

Actually they came back with three different options that were presented to the council this week. All of the options were for developments with substantially lower density.

City staff came to the council asking for direction on their preference between the three options as well as approval to seek an appraisal of the land based on the development option.

As presented by Toll Bros., Option 1 called for 114 homes at a purchase price of $18.81 million. Option 2 called for 130 lots at $20 million and Option 3 envisioned 122 lots at $21.1 million.

After receiving a presentation on all three offers, Mayor Joe Hardy said, “I have done math before and Option 3 gives us about a million dollars more in this jigsaw puzzle of how we’re going to get the pool.”

He continued, “So that gives us more money and is in-between the number of lots and gives us differences of single and two-story and gives us differences of zoning. I’ll start the ball and say I like No. 3.”

Councilmember Cokie Booth, a real estate professional, dug into the details of zoning.

“I like No. 3 for a couple of reasons,” she said. “If someone wants to have a swimming pool and an RV garage and a home, they are going to need more than R1-10. With R1-10, if you have a three-car garage and a swimming pool, you are going to fill that lot up. That gives the people the opportunity that want the RV garage – which is something that a lot of people in Boulder City want for their boats and their RVs. So that supplies those kinds of needs in Boulder City. And I also like that there was some R1-7 for the mature folks like myself who don’t want a lot of yard.”

After some discussion, the council voted unanimously to move forward with an appraisal based on Option 3.

None of this means that a pool is in the immediate future.

First, as presented in a council meeting last month, the projected cost for the new pool facility has exploded over the past year by some 36% to $36.7 million. Given the $12.2 million already in the pool fund ($10 million of which was supplied by an anonymous donor) and the projected revenue from the sale, the city is still about $3 million shy of current cost estimates.

Responding to a request for comment on the shortfall prior to the beginning of the meeting, City Manager Taylour Tedder provided a statement that said: “Once the land sale contract is executed, the city will have funding to start moving forward with design. The next step is to refine what the pool project entails and the cost associated with it. Once that funding gap is identified we will determine how to fill it. Every fiscal year, excess revenue can be applied to the swimming pool fund.”

Contact reporter Bill Evans at wevans@bouldercityreview.com.

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