Las Vegas Sun

August 27, 2014

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Clark County Commission:

Constable, legislative vacancies, ‘party houses’ on docket for county commissioners

Several personnel matters await action by the Clark County commissioners Tuesday when they meet in regular session at 9:15 a.m. at the county government building.

Commissioners will introduce but likely not discuss an ordinance that would eliminate the Las Vegas Township Constable’s Office, which found itself back in the news after Constable John Bonaventura was arrested on a count of driving under the influence while using an official vehicle.

At the Wednesday Zoning Commission meeting, which starts at 9 a.m., commissioners will discuss what to do with fencing along vacant properties on the Strip and hear a report on pedestrian safety near the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.

Constable conflict

The Las Vegas Township Constable’s Office has drawn the ire of the Clark County Commission after repeated controversies since Bonaventura’s election in 2010.

Bonaventura, who denies he was over the legal limit, was arrested Tuesday night, the same day the proposed ordinance abolishing the constable’s office was announced to the public.

The ordinance will be introduced at Tuesday’s meeting and scheduled for a public hearing in March, after which the commissioners can take action on it.

Filling legislative vacancies

When commissioners appointed Lesley Cohen to replace Assemblywoman April Mastroluca, who abruptly resigned in November, Commissioner Mary Beth Scow requested they discuss establishing a process to use during future appointments.

Commissioners on Tuesday will discuss how they appoint people to fill vacant legislative seats and could develop a process to choose qualified candidates.

Any process commissioners put in place might be put into action quickly, depending on troubled Assemblyman Steven Brooks’ uncertain future in the Legislature.

Boosting Family Services

The county’s Department of Family Services, which runs foster home and adoption programs, will ask commissioners to approve 49 new full-time positions at a cost of $4.2 million.

Funding for the jobs would come from increased federal revenues the department receives for child welfare services.

The staffing would add to several areas of the organizations operations, including Child Protective Services investigations, its hotline, foster care licensing and its emergency response team. Four new District Attorney’s Office employees who handle Department of Family Services cases also would be hired with the funds.

Short-term rentals

It’s been almost a year since County Commissioners imposed a $29,000 fine on a home in the Spanish Palms neighborhood for violating the county’s short-term rental ordinance, which requires leases be for at least one month in an attempt to prevent properties from being used as “party houses.”

Since then, 10 more homes have been investigated by the county, but none has been fined, and dozens of rental properties around the valley can be found with a simple Internet search.

Las Vegas and Henderson both require short-term rentals be licensed with the city. On Wednesday, county commissioners will consider whether to craft a short-term rental ordinance of their own.

Licensing short-term rentals could give the county more oversight over the properties and provide a boost to room taxes and licensing fees, but many residents probably won’t appreciate their neighborhoods being treated like hotels.

Strip eyesores

Although construction along the Strip is beginning to pick back up, a few vacant or underdeveloped parcels remain as reminders of the economic crash.

Most of these unfinished properties are clustered in the northern part of the Strip and are surrounded by temporary fences, which weren’t necessarily designed with aesthetics in mind.

The fences have been called eyesores by many, and commissioners will try to marry form and function Wednesday when they discuss possible solutions to the issue.

One proposed option is a painted wooden fence along the vacant properties.

Welcome sign

The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign is perched on an island in the middle of busy Las Vegas Boulevard, and reaching the iconic landmark can be tricky for millions of visitors each year.

In September, the commissioners requested a study by staffers on options to increase pedestrian safety at the 54-year-old sign, which is south of Mandalay Bay.

The report is in and will be heard by the commission at its Wednesday meeting. A crosswalk, a pedestrian bridge and more fencing around the area are among the options that will be presented.

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