Sun Editorial:

Housing proposal for old Badlands golf course deserves to be flushed


Christopher DeVargas

A look at the old Badlands Golf Course, which sits in a natural ravine surrounded by the Queensridge master-planned community, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018.

Developer Yohan Lowie has come up with a plan for the former Badlands Golf Course that is every bit as modern and innovative as the flying machine, the landline telephone and motion pictures.

Lowie is asking the Las Vegas City Council to allow homes to be built with septic tanks on the site.

That’s right, septic tanks.

In an incorporated portion of the Las Vegas Valley.

In 2018.

This is patently absurd, and the council should waste no time in rejecting the proposal, which is flawed for a number of reasons in addition to the waste treatment issue. Lowie’s plan just plain stinks — potentially quite literally, should it somehow pass.

Keep in mind that state law generally requires properties located within 400 feet of a community sanitary sewer line to hook into that line. In this case, however, the development sites in question are blocked from the sewer line by an access road controlled by the homeowners association for property owners on the former course. The HOA has refused to give Lowie access to the road to build sewer connections to the sites he’s seeking to develop.

City Councilman Steve Seroka, in an interview with the Sun’s Yvonne Gonzalez, said residents were willing to work through the logjams on the issue to make sure that any improvements on the golf course acreage wouldn’t further hurt their property values or erode their quality of life. Seroka said Lowie had largely brought his current problems on himself.

“The only thing that prevents him from gravity-feeding the sewer system (thereby connecting to the sewer line) is his inability to just talk to the existing homeowners association and residents,” Seroka said. “If we could work through that, not only would the septic requirement go away, the contention about the whole issue would go away. So really this comes down to a dialogue between the developer and the existing residents.”

Whether that can happen after years of ugly court battles and contentious city council meetings is unclear, but the council would be foolish to approve the new proposal. Although Lowie contends the property can be developed based on an old zoning rule, his opponents say master plans prohibit homes from being built there. In addition, they contend that the area is in a floodplain and that building homes and roads on the golf course acreage would entail spending millions of dollars on infrastructure to channel stormwater through the community.

Last month, neighbors scored a victory via a court ruling saying the city council had overstepped its authority and violated the law in allowing a separate plan for condominium development to move forward.

Now comes Lowie with his septic tank plan, which is a harmful, regressionist idea.

For Las Vegas to continue to present itself as a modern, progressive community to developers and for people looking to buy homes here, the project needs to be rejected. Better yet would be for Lowie to withdraw it and either go back to the drawing board or try to work with the property owners.