Proposed developments at a former golf course are on hold after the Las Vegas City Council decided to postpone hearing the items for almost three months.
With Mayor Pro Tem Lois Tarkanian ill and absent, and Councilman Bob Coffin in Korea, the council decided Wednesday to hold off on hearing the items until all members were seated. The four members present decided to hear the Badlands proposals May 16, after the council member replacing Ricki Barlow is elected March 27 and seated April 18.
Developer Yohan Lowie has been seeking the project for almost three years, and his lawyers said Wednesday they opposed further lengthening the process. They said delays are costing the developer as well as local residents.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman said it would be a disservice to what has been a two-and-a-half year process so far to hear the proposals and make decisions without a full council. She said delaying would give the new council member time to get up to speed. She also noted a judge’s recent ruling against the developer and the city in a case that could go to the Nevada Supreme Court.
Lowie’s legal representation requested before the council meeting Wednesday that Councilman Steve Seroka and Coffin recuse themselves, raising questions about bias and impartiality.
“Advocating for neighbors is not the same as advocating against an applicant,” City Attorney Brad Jerbic said.
Seroka was biased against the project during his election campaign and Coffin was prejudiced against Lowie, who is “of Israeli nationality and of the Jewish faith,” said Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison, who was speaking as a private attorney on Lowie’s behalf and is not running for re-election.
Coffin has “publicly stated on multiple occasions that my client, Mr. Lowie, is treating the residents of Queensridge like the Jewish State of Israel treats, quote, unruly Palestinians,” Hutchison said, noting that Coffin compared Lowie’s tactics to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s settlement of the West Bank.
“My client cannot receive a fair hearing or have a fair and impartial tribunal as is required under the Constitution,” Hutchison said.
Speaking over the phone from a religious conference for peace in Korea, Coffin on Wednesday stood by his criticism of Netanyahu and said he would continue to vote on the Badlands issue.
“They seem to continue to rely on this half-truth in order to secure my abstention, which would rob me of my vote and rob one-seventh of the citizens of … Las Vegas of a vote on this issue,” he said. “I will not do that.”