The Land Use Plan update process for northeastern Clark County got an early start this month with a pair of meetings in the lower Moapa Valley. County staffers set aside specific time for both Logandale and Overton areas. They produced and exhibited maps clearly depicting details on every parcel in both areas. They publicized the meetings widely. They encouraged people to come, review those maps and suggest updates and changes as needed. Everything was in place for the community to have a strong voice in planning for its future.
This was all as it should be. After all, Clark County community liaison Janice Ridondo said that one of the most common sources of complaints she hears is on issues surrounding Land Use planning.
Unfortunately, the Land Use Planning process only takes place once every five years. After that process is complete, the plan is locked in. There is a limit to what may be done to change things in between. Ridondo said that it was for that reason that her boss, Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick, wanted to engage local folks early this time around. Kirkpatrick had heard these concerns and complaints over the past couple of years since taking office when there was very little she could do about them. Now she wanted to open the doors to all those concerns at the appropriate time when they can be addressed.
Unfortunately, the turnout at this month’s meetings was less than stellar. Of the roughly 1,200 households in Logandale, scarcely more than 20 people showed up to the meeting. It was even worse for Overton. Of approximately 1,400 households, the turnout there was less than a dozen people over the two hour period.
The most discussed issue seemed to be the Land Use designation of a 20 acre parcel at Gubler and Yamashita in Logandale. That makes sense because this was the site of the ONLY planned residential development proposed in the community for the past nine years. Presented just earlier this year, that plan has been put on ice by the developer due to opposition from neighbors over the housing densities being proposed. At an average of 3.5 units per acre, the developer was only asking for densities that would have been allowed in the existing Land Use Plan document. His proposal would have conformed to the current plan.
But absent was the multitude of neighbors that had originally shown up opposing that project. Only a small handful came to the meeting earlier this month to weigh in on it. At a time when something could actually be done about their concerns and complaints, folks apparently had more important things to do.
Also absent from these meetings was any significant engagement from the business community. If there is anyone out there who is depending on a healthy level of growth to improve their future commercial prospects, you would scarcely have known it from the attendance at these two meetings!
Granted, the Land Use Update process is tedious. It demands acquiring some technical knowledge of complex county code. It requires careful attention to detail and a long-term view of the big picture. And an ability to negotiate, communicate and compromise is essential to the process. But the fact remains that it is vitally important to this community.
The Moapa Valley still has yet to determine what it wants to be when it grows up. There are some who would like it to always stay a child and, so, would rather not plan for its future at all. But when the time is right, it will grow up. With the community fully engaged, a long-term vision might be revised and refreshed to guide future growth in a sensible way; growth that would bring health and opportunity to local business but still preserve rural ideals that we all enjoy. But even without that engagement, growth will still come to the valley. And rest assured, without our engagement, that growth will be haphazard, piece-meal, and led according to someone else’s set of values and ideals.
Now is the time for the Moapa Valley community to wake up and become engaged. Now is the time to have our say. Now is the time for us to act and make plans; before we are someday acted upon.
The Land Use Planning process has only just begun. Additional workshops and hearings will be held early in 2018. Keep an eye on the PROGRESS for future opportunities to be involved.