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Neighbors Worry About Red Rock Development | Housing

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Neighbors Worry About Red Rock Development

LAS VEGAS -- It's one of the Las Vegas valley's most controversial home developments. People living near Red Rock and Blue Diamond still feel there's several unanswered questions about developer Jim Rhodes' massive project.

When Clark County commissioners allowed Rhodes to move forward on his project to develop land he owns near Red Rock, they also told him to go off a cliff, literally. The developer is now forced to build a road to the east. Supporters call it an engineering challenge while opponents worry it's a scar on the environment. 

With an impressive view of the valley, Rhodes wants to build an entire community in the area -- thousands of homes and businesses. But first, planners need to find some way to get cars up a cliff.

"One thing we're looking for is a gradient that we can work with, that we can start to incorporate some switchbacks and some other techniques to start to make our way up the hill," said project planner Ron Krater.

Where the difficult-to-build eastern road will end up remains a mystery.

Some Blue Diamond residents fear the road will be so difficult to build, the county will allow a new road closer to their homes.

"Frankly, I don't see how they can possibly build a road up on the eastern flank of Blue Diamond," said resident Jennifer Kruleski. "It's not about the homes. It's just the idea that he's building near a conservation area."

Highway 159 will be used for construction vehicles passing the community of Blue Diamond using an old mining road. Most of the development area is on a natural bowl on top of the mountain, out of sight from residents down below.

"We want to identify what those critical viewed areas are and what people can actually see and what the angle is from the valley floor up to the ridge," said Krater.

Developers say they're responsibly converting an abandoned gypsum mining area to something people can enjoy. But many neighbors just don't trust them and enjoy the area just the way it is. 

The county is only allowing Rhodes' development team to apply for rezoning. Right now, he could build homes on the land he already owns. If he convinces the county he can build that road, there could be stores and restaurants up Blue Diamond Mountain as well.