The “Taking” of Badlands 123

By Chuck Muth
Part one of a three part series
This is the first of what I expect to be a three-part series on the brouhaha over the now defunct, long-shuttered Badlands golf course which should have been handled and resolved by the Las Vegas City Council YEARS ago.
Alas, caving in to a “squeaky wheel” of angry homeowners in the adjacent gated community of Queensridge by some former and current members of the council resulted in the beef ending up in the worst possible place…
The courts. Ugh. Legal fights are usually next to impossible for the average person to understand. So let me take a stab at ‘splainin’ this in Joe Lunchbox terms.
If any of you reading this think I’ve gotten something wrong — I’m not a lawyer, after all — shoot me an email and I’ll look into it further and clarify/correct if need be.
Now, the main issue is that the city took actions that denied the owner of the Badlands land his ability to build residential housing on the land which is and always has been zoned for… um, residential housing.
And that government “taking” of the land resulted in a series of lawsuits. But the lawsuits themselves created yet another controversy: Which court system has jurisdiction to hear and resolve the matter?
The Queensridgians (or is it Queensridgites?) — instigated and radicalized by a bombastic, media-hound lawyer named Frank Schreck — took their case to the state’s district court and won an initial decision. However…
According to arguments by the lawyers for the home builder, that district court ruling was wrongly decided by the judge. As such, the case was appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court, which has yet to rule on it.
In the meantime, the home builder — arguing that his constitutional rights had been infringed — took HIS case to federal court.
So what we have here is a Hatfield and McCoy situation, with the Queensridge residents on one side and the home builder on the other side… with the City of Las Vegas in the middle.
And by City of Las Vegas, I mean the TAXPAYERS of the City of Las Vegas. ALL of them, not just the ones who live in Queensridge.
Taxpayers who have already lost MILLIONS of tax dollars on legal fees. With no end in sight.
In fact, as recently as the January 15, 2020 council meeting, the city approved an ADDITIONAL $50,000 for the Kolesar & Leatham law firm to represent the city in a pair of ongoing lawsuits…
One “concerning the City’s failure to act on the (home builder’s) applications within the time mandated by law.”
And the other “alleging due process and equal protection claims relating to the development of a portion of the former Badlands Golf Course.” The problem is, the city’s playing a losing hand. It’s got a pair of two’s… at best.
Indeed, by most accounts I’ve heard, the city AND the city’s taxpayers are highly unlikely to win and should probably just fold. Why?
Because of a little thing called “Knick v. Township of Scott.”
And I’ll cover that in Part II of “The Taking of Badlands 123.” Stay tuned…

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