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Tract 350 sale approved

Whether it will be enough to fund the projected $40 million-plus pool complex the city would like to build is still — given the realities of the current inflationary economic environment — an open question.

But the long-envisioned sale of the tract of land next to the Boulder Creek Golf Club that would fund as much as half of the project became a done deal this week.

City Attorney Brittany Walker laid out the history. “This land was approved for sale by voters in 2010.” (Note that when the original proposal to sell the land came up, the intention was to use the proceeds to pay off a bond that had been issued for the construction of the Boulder Creek Golf Club. ) “In 2015, the council rezoned the property to its current zoning. In 2016, the city issued a request for proposal but it resulted in no response from developers.”

“In 2021, the city again made a request for proposals to market Tract 350 and three developers responded.” At that time, Walker explained, the city chose Toll Brothers as their preferred developer and she listed ordinance numbers that were voted on and then repealed.

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 almost 45-acre site.

That plan was approved by the council in December 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.

Last year, city staff reported that Toll Brothers 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.

What changed? The biggest change was 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), which made land bordering existing golf courses much more desirable.

But the golf course bond had already been paid off so a new use for the proceeds was put forward. 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 toward 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.

The current Toll Brothers plan envisions 122 lots at $21.1 million. Possibly. The exact number of homes is not decided yet but, if it does not hit 122, instead of lowering the purchase price drastically per acres, the developer will pay about $100,000 less total for each home not built that brings the total under that magic number of 122. But with a floor that ensures the purchase price will still be north of $209 million.

It was pretty evident from the get-go what the council was going to do Tuesday as they almost appeared to go into sales mode.

Cokie Booth: “Being the real estate person up here, everyone wants to know when you will start and when the first home will be ready?” Robin Hogan, the representative from Toll Brothers answered that, according to their current schedule, the first homes would be available in “the first part of 2026.”

Steve Walton asked how Toll Brothers would inform people of when they could reserve lots and proceeded to repeat the developer’s website address three times and spell it out.

One complication is Boulder City’s famed anti-growth ordinance, which limits the number of homes that can be built in any year. When Councilmember Sherri Jorgensen asked when the developer was going to “pull allotments,” that is what she was referring to. A development of this size will have to be portioned out over multiple years (in this case over three years) to stay within the bounds of that ordinance. Hogan replied that Toll Brothers intends to begin pulling allotments in the 2025 fiscal year which begins on July 1 of this year.

The ordinance limits new home permits to no more than 120 per year with no more than half of that number going to any one developer. Hogan indicated that Toll Brothers intends to use all 60 of their potential allotments in FY 2025.

Passed largely as a reaction to the city’s population nearly doubling in the previous 10 years, the growth ordinance has largely succeeded in ensuring that Boulder City remains a small town. While the population between the 1980 and 1990 censuses continued to increase at a clip equivalent to about 30%, for the past 20 years, the population has remained remarkably steady at about 15,000 people. This while the population in Clark County has increased from 1.4 million to 2.3 million in the same time period, an increase of a whopping 60%.

To put it into perspective, if Boulder City had grown at the same rate as the county of which it is a part, the population today would be closer to 24,000 souls, which would make it substantially bigger than Mesquite.

The strategy was shepherded by Bob Ferraro, who served on the Boulder City Council for 31 years which included six separate stints as mayor. It was not a universal hit when passed. In an article published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2007 following his final City Council meeting, he said that it had passed “much to the disappointment of some of my friends.”

“It was very contentious,” he said. “One friend in particular never forgave me up until the day he passed away.”

Regarding the comment about the outcome being obvious, when Hogan went over anticipated schedules and when the firm foresees actually closing sales on built homes, she said “those are preliminary estimates based on where we are at today.”

Mayor Joe Hardy answered, “That’s subject to if we approve it.” The comment elicited laughter from the audience and smiles from all five council members.

The vote was unanimous.

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