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Attorney Unsure of Plans for Thrill Rides

7 September 2004

Las Vegas Sun

by Sito Negron

The attorney representing the Stratosphere said he wasn't sure what the hotel would do now that the Nevada Supreme Court has rejected its appeal of the decision that denied a thrill ride that would have swooped from the hotel across Las Vegas Boulevard.

"We could come back," said lawyer John Moran III, pointing out that the hotel recently had a ride at the top of the tower approved. "If they wanted to do another project similar to this one, I would presume they would put in an application again."

Moran said that he was disappointed in the ruling.

"I thought it would be something the Supreme Court would find in our favor. We were the ones who produced, I think, the correct statement of the laws and the correct statement of facts," he said.

Moran said the hotel was in an area zoned for thrill rides, and was on the northern end of the Strip.

"If the hotel can't do pirate ships and volcanoes and those type of attractions in an H-1 zone on Las Vegas Boulevard, where else in the valley should we do those type of projects?" Moran said. "It's sad when staying on the cutting edge of creativity is hampered when it shouldn't be."

Neighbors opposed the project, which is on the fringes of a neighborhood that is considered a centerpiece for the city's downtown renovation efforts.

In fact, the court noted that Mayor Oscar Goodman, during the discussion about the project zoning, said that "My vision as the mayor of the City of Las Vegas is to have a revitalized downtown. And I am convinced that in order to do that, one of the most important elements is to have people move back into a neighborhood which is maturing and decaying and to revitalize that neighborhood.

"If those folks in the neighborhood feel that this particular project is such that it will destroy their quality of life as they perceive it, then I have to feel that I must support the neighbors against the Stratosphere as far as these issues are concerned."

At the public hearing before the City Council, there were 175 protests against the ride and 671 in favor. Those opposed said it would be too close to the residential area and generate increased traffic and noise. The hotel-casino offered four experts to rebut the oppositions' concern.

The ride called for a passenger car ascending 510 feet and then falling 204 feet, reaching a maximum speed of 93 miles per hour. The passenger car would then ascend a 325-foot tower that would be built on the Stratosphere's property across Las Vegas Boulevard.

Neighborhood activist Ben Contine said the decision was the right one.

"What a great victory," Contine said. "I think it was reflective of the city following through on their commitment to make the downtown area a wonderful place for people to live. Since the denial, you have seen numerous high-rise proposals and more people buying homes in the neighborhood. That corridor now has the potential to be a world-class residential corridor."

He said he was proud of the way the neighbors organized.

"The Supreme Court referenced the opposition from the neighborhood residents and businesses. This brings a sense of pride as the residents were organized, informed and diligent."

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