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Developers of Land Near Blue Diamond Face Tough Obstacles | News

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Developers of Land Near Blue Diamond Face Tough Obstacles

LAS VEGAS -- The controversy surrounding a planned development on a mountaintop near Blue Diamond and Red Rock Canyon continues. Developer Jim Rhodes leads a group of investors planning to build homes and stores on top of old gypsum mines.

Last April, Clark County commissioners gave Rhodes the application rights to build more than 1,200 homes on 2,400 acres he owns. Many of the few hundred people living in the Blue Diamond community fought the plan since 2003.

Starting early December, they'll be able tour the mountain top and judge the project on their own.

"Lots of noise. I don't like the idea of all those trucks coming through while they're doing the development. It will probably go on for years and years," said Blue Diamond resident David Hardy.

The development doesn't have a name yet, but it is planned to be a complete community. That means grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants could one day be built on land with a commanding view of the city.

The largest engineering challenge involves building a six to eight percent grade road from State Route 160 up the side of the mountain.

"We need to be able to move trucks and emergency equipment. It needs to be a comfortable road, but it's going to be a hillside road," said project planner Ron Krater.

The development is also criss-crossed by a series of caves. Gypsum was mined there for 70 years. The mineral is often used to make drywall. If developers get to build on Blue Diamond Hill, they will likely have to cave in and level many of those mining tunnels.

Development company Gypsum Resources, LLC will hold meeting with Blue Diamond residents and environmentalists beginning Wednesday. But actual construction, if approved by County Commissioners, could take several years to begin. Planners call it a "multi-generational" project.

Blue Diamond Hill development tours begin December 3 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and continue December 4 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tours will continue on following Fridays and Saturdays. The tours are free. Appointments for the bus can be made with Strategic Solutions at 889-2840.