Neighborhoods, businesses coming to undeveloped land south of Las Vegas valley

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Clark County and growth go hand in hand.

However, just when you thought the region has stretched the limit when it comes to new developments, the Las Vegas valley is expanding once again.

You could soon see new neighborhoods and businesses closer to the California border.

However, the construction is not without controversy.

What is more important: Protecting land or promoting economic growth?

It is a question that brought out dozens of people to Tuesday’s Clark County Commission meeting.

The battle was over legislation to open rugged desert land along Interstate 15 from Sloan to Jean for development.

“There are no signs that growth is going to slow and we see the impacts of it every day,” said Andy Maggi, executive director of the Nevada Conservation League.

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“I do not see the need to expand out there, especially in such a reckless manner,” said Kenny Thatcher with Southern Nevada Offroad Enthusiasts.

“This is an attempt to provide a relief valve so that we have land available to accommodate an ever-growing population,” said Marci Henson, Director of the Clark County Department of Air Quality and Administrator of the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat.

On one side of the issue, you have Clark County and real estate developers like Mike Mixer.

“We need the expansion of these lands to attract and attain new companies that provide great and diversified jobs for our residents,” said Mike Mixer, NAIOP, the Southern Nevada chapter of the commercial real estate development association.

However, there is another side that includes outdoor enthusiasts and environmentalists like Patrick Donnelly, who is with the Center for Biological Diversity.

“This is a threat not just to the desert tortoise, but endangered species everywhere,” said Donnelly.

There is also the off-roading community.

Josh Martelli is the co-founder of the Mint 400 race.

“This would be a huge economic loss for the state and the county and would end a 50-year event that speaks to the very essence of the spirit of Las Vegas,” said Martelli.

In the end, commissioners made it official by voting unanimously on a resolution to develop the land, south of the Las Vegas valley.

“We can have futuristic growth, being smart, and being critical of keeping our open spaces as open as we can,” said Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager. "Still securing a future for, I have great-grandchildren who live here, for them,” she continued.

However, that is off in the future. The next stop is the Nevada congressional delegation.

Although the resolution passed, county leaders made it clear they want more public input collected as it goes through the federal legislative process.

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