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April 24, 2014

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County commission orders removal of hillside sign near Boulder City

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Leila Navidi

The Desert Hills Shooting Club sign is seen from the road in Boulder City on Thursday, June 21, 2012.

Desert Hills Shooting Club Sign

The Desert Hills Shooting Club sign is seen from the road in Boulder City on Thursday, June 21, 2012. Launch slideshow »
Clark County commissioner Mary Beth Scow

Clark County commissioner Mary Beth Scow

Pro Gun Club

A pair of powerful Las Vegas businessmen Wednesday morning lost their bid to keep a large sign for his shooting range painted on a hillside facing Boulder City.

That isn’t stopping Pete Eliades and Sig Rogich, whose Pro Gun Club sign is at the center of more than a year of controversy. After the Clark County Commission voted to force removal of the sign, which Boulder City residents called a visual blight, Jeremy R. Alberts, an attorney representing Eliades, promised a suit is on the way.

Eliades, known for owning the Olympic Garden strip club and other businesses, and Rogich, a longtime political consultant, are listed as the club’s officers in Secretary of State records.

By county code, the club has five business days before it has to remove the signage. If the club files an injunction against the county beforehand and a judge grants that injunction, the sign might remain until legal wrangling ends.

“It could be weeks, it could be years,” Alberts said of the length of future legal action.

Having spent past meetings talking about the pros and cons of the sign, commissioners engaged in little debate before Wednesday's vote. Two weeks earlier when the commission took up the sign, Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani was absent and the vote was tied 3-3.

She was present Wednesday, however, and after saying she watched debate on video from the previous meeting, she voted with those who opposed the sign.

The sign is on private property within an unincorporated area of Clark County. But elected representatives from Boulder City told commissioners the sign affected every resident their city, a bedroom community of 15,000 people.

“Everybody I talk to is opposed to this sign,” said Duncan McCoy, Boulder City city councilman. “Everybody in Boulder City hates this sign.”

The Pro Gun Club is within the district of Commissioner Mary Beth Scow. She reiterated her view that the sign “is illegal.”

“It was put up without any permits and its use of natural landscape for commercial purposes is something that I feel this board should not accept,” Scow said. Then she asked fellow commissioners to consider how they would vote if they faced the same issue in their own districts.

“Would this be something you would want to accept?” she said.

Commissioners Giunchigliani, Lawrence Weekly and Susan Brager joined Scow in voting against the sign.

Commissioners Tom Collins, Larry Brown and Steve Sisolak, who voted to allow the sign, said nothing. At a previous meeting, though, they expressed concern about the expense of a lawsuit filed against the county, that the sign might stay up forever if the county lost a lawsuit and that Boulder City wasn’t willing to pitch in money to help in a legal defense in case of a lawsuit.

Boulder City Mayor Roger Tobler promised, though, that should a lawsuit ensue, Boulder City attorneys would file a motion to intervene to assist the county.

Giunchigliani said Boulder City had some expertise in signage issues, having been sued in years past for not allowing certain signs on its roadways.

“Even though this is a county issue, we could be somewhat partners,” she added.

This was the commission’s third whack at the issue. The first came in June after the county Planning Commission approved the sign in a 5-2 vote. That vote went to commissioners for final approval, but they postponed a decision, saying they wanted to gather more information.

In discussion before the tie vote two weeks ago, Scow characterized the sign as “an overstep of decency to the community.”

After the sign first became an issue last summer, it has been reduced in size. While it first included a club name and a phone number, and it was on two hillside facets. That was reduced to just one hillside and the phone number was erased leaving just “Pro Gun Club.”

More recently, an offer was made to reduce the sign to just “Gun Club.” In addition, the offer was made to get rid of the sign in 2½ years, which is roughly the state’s timeline for building a highway bypass around Boulder City. The argument is that the bypass would bring the highway closer to the shooting range, negating the need for the sign.

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  1. Who owns the land the sign is on? If it is owned by the gun club owners then this is another freedom lost.

    I don't like the sign atop the Mandalay Bay that reads THE hotel. I think it's stupid, but I would never ask a bureacrat to forcefully remove it.

  2. "What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don't like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don't expect freedom to survive very long."

    Thomas Sowell

  3. It appears this sign was erected, without permits on non commercial property.

    If this is to be allowed nothing would stop your neighbors of putting billboards on top of their houses with bright lights on them.

    All property has zoning, all construction has rules and permits to be approved.

    The county is making the ruling that it should be making.

    We all have rules to follow, that does not take away rights.

  4. "She reiterated her view that the sign "is illegal."

    So far everything in this story has less to do with legality and more to do with personal opinion.

    Mary Beth Scow: You view in such matters is completely meaningless, and in no way germane to the situation. And then of course there is this little gem:

    "... its use of natural landscape for commercial purposes is something that I feel this board should not accept,"

    REALLY?!? Where were you and others when developers came in to prostitute our natural landscapes for their own profit? Station Casinos even has a property named "Red Rock" that takes it's name from the surrounding natural monument, and obscures views of it. Even Jim Rhodes came in and you gave him permission to tear up Red Rock in order to tear up the natural landscape there, and congest the roadways with more and more traffic and pollution. Yet you're worried about a sign on private property?!? Get over yourself! What exactly is the real problem here? Is it a sign that has no impact upon you, or are you abusing your position as a public servant to settle some disagreement you have with the owners of the sign?

    I seriously hope this decision is appealed, because they will win, and you'll get tossed out of office for wasting tax dollars.

  5. Both VegasLee and DMCVegas have some pretty good points. Our state has suffered badly in the economic downturn. Using landscape for messages is nothing new...a practice that has been used for hundreds, if not over a thousand years of human history. The subject sign was errected on private property out in the boon docks, althouh without a permit (something that is quite common with those who live in the rurals).

    Perhaps it is because this sign associates with Boulder City, a city who wishes to maintain a pristine image of themselves publicly, that it tarnishes Boulder City's image and how folks perceive it, that is causing the MOST trouble. I support the sign being there and I also understand the image problem for Boulder City and its citizens. This does need to be decided in court, and not by special interests.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  6. The sign is a result of a construction project. There is no minimum height that defines a 'project'. If they did not get a construction permit, they are in violation of the law and must remove it.

    Furthermore, they do not own the airspace above or around their property. Yet, they have taken control of that airspace and force everyone who looks at the mountains to look at their sign. If this were on TV the channel could be changed but by the road, it cannot.

    Furthermore, there are no atheistic to the project. It is gross, ugly and distorts the view for everyone looking in that direction - and for personal gain or arrogance alone. The sign is as much of an eyesore as if an old trailer court were sitting on the same hill.