A task force in the Las Vegas area is studying ways to manage the monumental growth in the region. Las Vegas has been one of the hottest housing markets in the country, with explosive price appreciation and rapid build-out in and around the city. As the metropolitan area expands rapidly, residents and community leaders are wrestling with the impact of this population gain.

The 17-member Clark County Community Growth Task Force, formed in February, held a workshop this week to discuss the social impacts of growth. A week earlier, the task force met to discuss the process for planning parks, fire stations and other public facilities.

“Our community has done a lot of things right when it comes to planning for growth, but there are challenges, especially when it comes to setting funding priorities for local government,” County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury said in a task force announcement. “This is an important area of concentration because task force members need to know how we currently plan for roads, parks and other public facilities in order to develop recommendations that may guide us to do some things differently in the future.”

On Nov. 30, the task force will meet again to discuss potential strategies to discuss coordination with multiple government agencies.

Task force members began studying growth issues in March as a part of a Community Growth Management Initiative in Clark County. The commission appointed a group of community leaders and citizens to the task force, which was formed to focus on urban design, natural resources, public facilities planning and intergovernmental coordination, according to a task force announcement.

The task force has studied how to amend land-use rules for mixed-use developments, expand mass transportation system to include rapid transit and light rail options in conjunction with transit-oriented development, establish priorities for the county Redevelopment Agency to include identification of prime areas for infill and redevelopment, allow special handling for projects that establish attainable/affordable housing, energy conservation and self-sustaining rehabilitation and pre-package affordable housing deals through land acquisition, planning and special handling.

Task force members have also considered ways to establish an incentive program to promote the use of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles, include air quality and transportation elements in the county’s land-use planning process, improve transportation system linkages to reduce vehicle miles traveled and allow for more travel with fewer diversions and delays, convert cost-effective drought restrictions into permanent measures, establish a process to address the amount of land that is available for development under the Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, and allow artificial turf as a landscape option for residents who live in homeowner association developments.

“The time has come for our community to talk very frankly about growth and what we want Southern Nevada to look like in the future,” said Woodbury. “We’ve had a lot of success in recent years with the citizen task force model in bringing people of different opinions together to sort through some very complicated issues. Growth may be the most complex topic yet but I’m certain our community will rise to the challenge.”

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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