A court settlement reached in early July is opening up avenues for construction to resume at the massive housing development 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Planners say, at completion, the area could be twice the size of Summerlin. However, there are still some legal holdups.
In speaking to the Lincoln County Commission meeting Aug. 17, Emilia Cargill, chief operating officer and general counsel for Coyote Springs Investment, asked that the county voice its support of two bills.
Senate Bill 1319 and House Bill 2307 are stand alone bills in Congress pursuant to the reconfiguration in Coyote Springs and their habitat conservation plan. Cargill encouraged Commissioners to voice their support to our Congressional representatives. “Without doing so,” she said, “the county’s silence might be perceived as non-support,” but she did not think that was the county’s feeling at all. Cargill noted the Bureau of Land Management would like to see this put to bed also, “so we don’t want to have to go to another administration after this. This is our second or third administration trying to get this through. When accomplished, we and Lincoln County can move forward cohesively together.”
The need for a bill to allow the reconfiguration of the some of the land at Coyote has to do with sections in both Lincoln and Clark Counties. Cargill explained that originally CSI bought some open land and some lease land from the BLM in 1998. However, the lease land was right in the middle of the 43,000 acres that straddled both counties. “We called it the ‘Donut Hole.’”
In going through the habitat conservation and environmental assessment plans, the BLM, Fish and Wildlife and others, requested the ‘Donut Hole’ acreage be transferred to far the eastern edge of the CSI property, to which they agreed. Lincoln County’s portion was 7,548 acres.
After following all the necessary mandated procedures to have the land reconfigured were approved and accepted, Cargill said, a couple of non-profit environmental groups objected and sued BLM and CSI around 2006. It was settled on the Clark County side in 2008, she said.
“However, she explained, “because of that lawsuit, BLM felt reluctant to accept the approved habitat conservation plan in 2008 on the Lincoln County side and requested CSI to get some federal legislation that says it’s OK for us to do this.”
But since 2008, CSI has had difficulty getting the legislation passed, most times, Cargill said, “because it was tacked on to the end of other larger bills, and one bad vote, one bill somebody doesn’t like, would scrap the entire thing. That has happened to us in the past two congressional sessions.”
Now, she said, the reconfiguration bill is a stand-alone bill in Congress being supported by Senator Dean Heller in the Senate Natural Resource Committee, and Congressman Cresent Hardy in the House Natural Resources Committee.
Cargill said, “We’re hoping that the two bills will go to a hearing this fall, and then have a successful vote when it goes back to the floor. And we’re very excited and positive about it.”
She added, “Until this is done, there remain whole sections of Lincoln County land that we can’t develop right now.”
But she is very confident that after things are all worked out, she said, “We believe Coyote Springs will be a true suburb of Las Vegas. It’s not that far.”