Las Vegas Sun

September 22, 2014

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From atop the hill, the ‘right to a view’

It's shaping up as a battle between the millionaires on the hill and RV owners down below.

A group of homeowners in MacDonald Highlands, one of the most exclusive developments in the Las Vegas Valley, are fighting a plan to put an RV and ministorage facility across the street from their subdivision's entrance.

The Henderson City Council on Tuesday is scheduled to consider rezoning 4.5 acres northeast of Horizon Ridge Parkway and Valle Verde Drive to allow Bill and Jodi Davis of Henderson to build the 446-unit ministorage facility with 24 recreational vehicle spaces, the latter to be covered but not enclosed. Walls as high as 12 feet will surround the complex.

That's not the view that some MacDonald Highlands residents expected to see from their multimillion-dollar hillside homes. The thought of having to drive by a ministorage facility to reach their subdivision is not a pleasant one for some, either.

"Our people have spent a lot of money to create a nice lifestyle," said MacDonald Ranch resident Rich MacDonald, manager of the company that developed MacDonald Highlands. "It shouldn't be trashed up with a ministorage facility that belongs near a freeway. It's tacky looking. There is just not justification to put it down there."

About 200 families live in MacDonald Highlands, where more than 1,000 homes eventually are planned.

George Garcia, the Henderson consultant working to get the project approved, said he does not understand the concerns of MacDonald Highlands residents. Those homeowners who live directly northeast of the proposed storage center are not opposing it, he said. Garcia said he wants to meet with MacDonald Highlands residents to see what views they would have of the facility.

The storage facility will be behind an office building and have a similar design, Garcia said. There will be pitched-tile roofs and landscaped walls, and MacDonald Highlands residents will see only the roofs at most, he said.

"I think it is a legitimate question whether this is snobbery or not," Garcia said. "Very few people have a legal right to a view."

In October, the Henderson Planning Commission voted 5-2 to deny the rezoning. Commissioner Dale Lay said he does not like the 12-foot walls and called the project incompatible with the neighborhood.

But MacDonald said this is about more than simply a view, citing concerns about crime, including the possibility that the RV facility's tenants might use the units to produce methamphetamines.

Henderson Police said RV storage centers have led to many calls at a similar facility -- for burglaries, domestic problems and even people living in the storage units.

The proposed storage facility would include an office with caretaker's quarters.

An office building or retail use on the site would be more compatible with the residential development, said Paul Bykowski, vice president of land development for MacDonald Highlands,

"Anything that brings increased police activity to the area is not compatible with residential," Bykowski said. "It's highly unlikely that police have to respond to office buildings."

Brian Wargo can be reached at 259-4011 or at [email protected]

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