By Alexandra Cohen
De Oro Media Group
Las Vegas Tribune Exclusive
Tuesday the Las Vegas City Council Recommending Committee voted for an abeyance on the controversial ordinance — Bill No. 2018-24 — sponsored by City Councilman Steve Seroka, a councilman who is being sued in
Federal Court by developer Yohan Lowie for bias. This abeyance now moves the bill to the September 4, 2018 Recommending Committee, then to be heard by the full City Council on September 6.
The proposed bill will severally penalize developers with excessive fines and jail time for not abiding by new standards. The bill is opposed by the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP),
The Latin Chamber of Commerce and Laborers Local 872, along with others in the building and trades community. The bill NO.2018-24, also known as the «Yohan Lowie bill,” is an ordinance to amend LVMC Title 19 (The Unified Development Code) to adopt additional standards and requirements regarding the repurposing of certain golf courses and open spaces.
The ordinance was met with strong position from those speaking at today’s meeting. Tommy White, Secretary Treasurer of the Laborers Local 872 said “this City Council is sending the wrong message to not only the local building community, but to the entire nation. This is simply government overreach.” Mr. White vowed to bring 600 of his union members to the next meeting to protest the flawed ordinance.
Peter Guzman, President of the Latin Chamber of Commerce, stated, “I have received numerous calls from my members opposed to this ordinance. This ordinance is contrary to our group’s philology and focus of promoting commerce and growth in our community.” Todd Davis, General Council, EHB Companies pointed out to the Recommending Committee that “the Agenda states ‘NO FISCAL IMPACT,’ when clearly there is a fiscal impact to taxpayers ranging from substantial legal fees to defend the ordinance, to hundreds of millions of dollars if
the ordinance is found to be a taking.”
Councilwoman Michele Fiore publically and vehemently objected to the ordinance in the July 18 council meeting and at times verbally sparred with the bill sponsor, Councilman Seroka, citing that the ordinance started as a 5-page ordinance and FAILED in the Las Vegas Planning Commission by a 5 to 1 vote. Now, behind the scenes, it has been expanded to a 13-page document and is being considered for approval.
Developer Yohan Lowie, stated, “this is typical of the corruption and disingenuous acts of certain members of the city of Las Vegas who have demonstrated for the past three years, and one of the reasons why I am in litigation with Councilman Seroka and Bob Coffin for the animus they continue to display. They are enacting a law to create criminal penalties for the property no longer being a golf course and no longer being green. All property owners should be concerned.” This bill may be as far-reaching as to affect individual homeowners living in a golf
SECTION 7 in the bill states: Whenever in this ordinance any act is prohibited or is made or declared to be unlawful… the doing of such prohibited act or the failure to do any such required act shall constitute a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or by imprisonment for a term of not more than six months.
Mr. Lowie has hired famed criminal defense lawyer David Chesnoff to represent his interests in possible forthcoming criminal offenses that may arise from this bill. Additionally, along with attorney and Lt.
Governor Mark Hutchison the City has been put on notice through a letter, which states the City will be in violation of the EX Post Facto Clause and Equal Protection Clause and a Taking by Eminent Domain.
After the July 18 city council meeting, developer Yohan Lowie stated, “If they want to put me in jail, they can. I will fight to my last breath to prevent the City from EVER taking my property away. I will continue to fight this matter all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to get justice.”