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Hearing Slated on Bill to Restrict Development in Sensitive Areas

A proposed new bill would shield lands surrounding National Conservation Areas, such as Red Rock Canyon, from development. (Battle Born Progress)
A proposed new bill would shield lands surrounding National Conservation Areas, such as Red Rock Canyon, from development. (Battle Born Progress)
March 30, 2017

LAS VEGAS -- A bill to ban development in or near National Conservation and National Recreation areas gets a hearing before the Assembly Government Affairs Committee Friday morning - in a special session in Las Vegas.

The bill, AB 277, is in part a reaction to a decision by the Clark County Commission in February to allow a developer to move forward with a proposal to build a large planned community on a bluff overlooking Red Rock Canyon. Annette Magnus, executive director at Battle Born Progress, said 50,000 people signed the petition against the development.

"This is an attempt to protect and defend our natural treasures in Nevada - special places like Red Rock Canyon and Black Rock Desert and Sloan Canyon,” Magnus said. “We need to make sure that we're protecting that land around it too, so that people aren't building houses that go right up on the land."

The hearing will start at 8 a.m. It also will be linked by video conference to Carson City to allow speakers there to participate.

The developer has argued that the proposed development was modified to address some of the concerns about traffic and light pollution. Much of the land in question on Blue Diamond Hill sits on an old abandoned gypsum mine.

But Magnus said she feels the public interest should win out when development threatens the character of a National Conservation or Recreation Area.

"I don't feel like a developer should be able to go out to that special piece of land and develop anywhere near it,” she said, "especially on a bluff overlooking Red Rock Canyon. That's something that all of us should be able to enjoy, not just the developer who wants to line his pockets with cash."

The community group Save Red Rock is fighting the Blue Diamond development in the courts, and the project still will need to win another vote before the Clark County Commission. Multiple conservation groups, including the Sierra Club, Friends of Nevada Wilderness and Chispa have announced their support of the bill.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV