Some of the qualities that Henderson offers current and prospective residents in our neighborhoods are the amenities such as nearby parks, bike trails, walk trails, golf courses, and others. Such amenities not only improve our quality of life but add to the property values for adjacent and nearby residences and provide an economic boost to the areas. The location, condition, and subsequent plans for those amenities serve as major factors in decisions to select a neighborhood or area to live or work. Businesses searching for a place to move their headquarters or operations, also consider those criteria for their employees.
Neighborhood master plans and subsequent changes must be carefully and openly developed, implemented, and maintained. And the amenities we enjoy must never be pushed aside for the sake of another development — a development that may initially seem more enticing in the near term but would have a huge and long lasting negative impact to our residents, businesses, and the local economy. A truly open and transparent government provides its citizens with timely, relative, detailed, and accurate information; and accepts constructive feedback.
Henderson and other local government agencies have methods of informing and soliciting comments from residents during plan development and prior to zoning changes. However, the area that government agencies select to send notice of potential changes is often too small and too limited in comparison to the scope of the changes and their impact. Comments from affected residents and property owners may result in follow-up meetings and negotiations with government staff and private developers, but conversations during open houses and formal meetings arguably receive limited consideration or action in many cases. When a project is prolonged, revisions are made quietly, or changes proceed over a long period of time the public may be further disconnected from the process.
Occasionally, we get a stark reminder of how local governments have a direct and significant influence on those things we enjoy in and near our neighborhoods. Local governments manage comprehensive plans, master plans, land-use plans, etc., and those plans include zoning and prospective zoning for specific areas. When plans are finalized and implemented, they must be managed carefully to protect the residents and our quality of life. Plans and their proposed changes must be made widely known.
One recent reminder of the critical importance of open communication is in Las Vegas where affected homeowners/residents learned that housing units were planned for development on the closed Badlands golf course. Reportedly, many residents learned that the area had been zoned as “residential” prior to many of them moving in. Whether it is a trail, park, community center, or a golf course, we are not immune in Henderson and we must be vigilant. A strong government must respect and inform its citizens in a manner that will accept timely feedback and make related changes.
Badlands source: Golf course closure puts hit on home values in Las Vegas neighborhood, by Jamie Munks, LVRJ, 2-24-17. http://www.reviewjournal.com/local/las-vegas/golf-course-closure-puts-hit-home-values-las-vegas-neighborhood