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County planning commission denies Red Rock Canyon development

A plan to put thousands of homes overlooking Red Rock Canyon is back in the news. 10/20/16 (KSNV)

A plan to put thousands of homes overlooking Red Rock Canyon is back in the news.

Just this week, the county planning commission voted against the project put forward by developer Jim Rhodes but this battle has been going on for years, and it's not over yet.

Heather Fisher says she understands there's a time and place for new development in Southern Nevada but Red Rock Canyon, she says, is not that place.

“We don't want to change the character of Red Rock Canyon,” said Fisher.

As president of the non-profit, ‘Save Red Rock’ she's gathered nearly 21-thousand petition signatures of people who agree.

At issue: A proposal to build just over 5-thousand homes on the site of an old gypsum mine. Right above the community of blue diamond, and Red Rock Canyon.

Tuesday night, a planning consultant for developer Jim Rhodes laid out the details.

“The idea is that it's not just one lot size,” said Planning consultant Ron Krater. “It’s a diversity of sizes, types and price points. More sustainable neighborhoods.”

But while the planning commission unanimously denied the project, the story isn't over. Five-years-ago, county commissioners approved it, citing legal issues and property owner rights.

So, what happened?

“Our hope was he was going to get a land swap, and so we worked with the BLM for one and a half to two years, and it didn't go anywhere,” said County Commissioner Susan Brager.

Now, the idea of homes in Red Rock is back. Opponents fear at least some of the development will be visible from recreation areas including this BLM campsite.

Gareth Kingsford, a climber visiting the area from Canada, had a negative view of the project.

“I think that would be unfortunate,” said Kingsford. “I don't know if it would stop me from coming back, but it would prevent me from camping here.”

“The problem is the scope,” said Fisher. “He has the right to build one house per 2 acres, which is fine. Nobody is fighting his property rights. The problem is he wants to increase that zoning.”

Fisher says the increased zoning means more traffic, more people, and less solitude in Red Rock.

“There are some legal guidelines here that I'm checking into,” Brager said. “I don't have answers to them now but I want the D.A. to pursue something for me to see, do we have legal obligations.”

The next step in this battle moves from the hills of Red Rock to the County Government Building. County Commissioners will have the final say during a meeting in December.

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