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The Red Rock punt

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Christopher Smith

Red Rock National Conservation Area

After so much build-up, today’s Clark County Commission meeting about a proposed development on the doorstep of Red Rock looked to be a showdown between a powerful developer and, well, just about everyone else — conservationists, biologists, artists, hikers and rock-climbers. But in the final hour, the showdown ended with something of a whimper.

Following a seven-hour hearing on Gypsum Resources’ 2016 application for a concept plan to build a housing development on Blue Diamond Hill, the Clark County Commission essentially punted. Commissioner Susan Brager, whose district includes the area in question, made a motion to allow the developer to withdraw its application based on the county attorney’s advice that a previous plan, filed in 2011, was still in effect. The vote passed 5-2, with Commissioners Chris Giunchigliani and Lawrence Weekly going against the motion. Representatives for the developer, a family trust including Jim Rhodes, indicated they would accept the suggestion to withdraw their recent application, considering the older one is apparently still valid. 

After standing in lines and even being shunted off to the county cafeteria for as much as three hours to await their chance to testify, 130 residents voiced their opposition to the development, saying it would detract from the value of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in numerous ways. 

Following the Commission’s surprise decision, they stood bewildered outside the county building asking each other what the ruling meant.

Most likely, the case will end up back in court, with Save Red Rock, the nonprofit around which opposition has coalesced, arguing that the 2011 plan is not actually valid as the county attorney argued in the hearing today. We’ll have a follow-up story tomorrow that considers what lies ahead for the controversial project — and for Red Rock.

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