Las Vegas Sun

December 17, 2014

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County board caps height of church crosses at 50 feet

The Clark County Commission said no to a church that wanted to erect three crosses — the tallest one 90 feet tall — near Interstate 215. But the commission OK'd three smaller crosses, as long as the church keeps the tallest one to 50 feet.

South Hills Church, which plans to move into a new sanctuary later this year at Serene Avenue and St. Rose Parkway, was before the commission on Feb. 4 seeking a waiver to the standard 25-foot height permitted for accessory structures in that area.

But they ran into neighbors who complained that the crosses would ruin views and set an unwanted precedent for height.

The church planned to put the crosses near the intersection of Pecos Road/St. Rose Parkway and Interstate 215, where they would be visible from the freeway.

Commissioner Steve Sisolak, whose district includes the church property, attempted to appease both sides by proposing a middle ground.

Rather than the requested heights of 90, 80 and 70 feet for the crosses, Sisolak made a motion authorizing them at 50, 40 and 35 feet. The commission approved the plan.

Now it's up to the church to decide what to do. Pastor Brett Johnson said the crosses were donated by a benefactor, and there will have to be some discussion about how to proceed. "We either build that (what the commission has approved) or we don't do it at all," he said.

Johnson said he wasn't expecting to run into any opposition. "I honestly thought this would be kind of a slam dunk," he said.

Alain Rivard, the project's architect, pointed out that there already are signs and other structures clearly visible from the 215, including a sign at a nearby storage facility and the sign in front of Green Valley Ranch Resort.

"As you can see, we're not that different," he said.

But resident Monique Neugebauer said she was worried that the crosses, if they had been allowed to stand at 90 feet, would have looked like telephone poles from the line of sight of the freeway.

She said she wasn't happy about the commission approving the 50-foot height because she was still worried that the allowed heights would be setting a precedent unwanted by neighbors.

The church's congregation of about 1,300 people will begin occupying the new 40,000-square-foot building sometime in August or September, Johnson said. Services are currently held in rented space on Horizon Ridge Parkway.

Ashley Livingston can be reached at 990-8925 or [email protected].

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