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Gaming Guru

Alan Snel
 

Noise, traffic from events rankle residents near The Linq

17 November 2014

LAS VEGAS -- It looks like an innocuous request — Caesars Entertainment Corporation asking Clark County to expand the Strip’s Gaming Enterprise District to include a 38-acre parking lot behind The Linq Hotel & Casino.

But the request has generated more than 50 emails from irate residents, who argue Caesars’ use of the parking lot site for events such as concerts and car races is creating noise, traffic, bright light and litter problems for the people living in the Koval Lane and Flamingo Road area.

“They claim they’re being good corporate citizens, but they’re not,” said Rich Worthington, HOA president of Park Towers Association at Hughes Center and a 13-year Park Towers resident.

The first sign of noise and traffic problems occurred April 4 and 5, when The Linq parking lot was converted into an outdoor venue for the Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards, drawing 55,000 people over 2½ days, Worthington said.

The music event created massive noise, light, trash and traffic problems for 1,400 households living in neighboring buildings such as the Meridian condo center, Park Towers and the Platinum condominium/hotel, he said.

In an Oct. 24 letter to the Paradise Town Board, Park Towers resident Pam Krug described the music’s impact this way: “Last April my husband and I were in our home and we honestly thought a bomb had gone off. There was an immediate shaking vibration of the windows throughout our unit — particularly our floor to ceiling living room windows.”

In a Review-Journal interview, Worthington added: “Our windows were shaking on April 4 and 5 and it went to 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, and we finally got to sleep and the sound checks started at 7 a.m. the next day.”

FEARS OF NOISE, TRAFFIC

Residents such as Worthington and Krug fear that if the county approves moving the festival lot/parking area into the gaming district, then noise and traffic conditions from the site will become legally routine.

That’s why they plan to make their voices heard at a county Planning Commission meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday and at a County Commission meeting on Dec. 17 when the Caesars request will be addressed. Caesars officials did not return calls and emails to respond to the residents’ concerns.

Caesars is applying to expand the Gaming Enterprise District because the parking lot is part of the existing Harrah’s Las Vegas Casino & Hotel, Flamingo Las Vegas and The Linq Hotel (formerly the Quad) casino-hotels, county spokesman Dan Kulin said.

A Clark County planner said the April country music event — in the form of a loud concert — should not have been allowed at that site.

“No one realized it was going to be that huge of a concert,” said Lebene Ohene, Clark County asssistant planning manager.

Ohene said she told The Linq’s operators afterward that “a parking lot is not a concert site.”

To stage an event of the scale, Caesars needed a special-use permit, she said. Caesars is allowed to stage live entertainment in conjunction with The Linq, but not a concert of that size in the parking lot, Ohene said.

But The Linq’s operators were never cited for holding a concert in an area that does not allow it, Ohene said.

The Linq also hosted a popup car race, the Red Bull Global Rallycross, in the converted parking lot on Nov. 4 and 5. In that case, the site did have a temporary outdoor commercial event permit from the county.

‘OBNOXIOUSLY’ LOUD NOISE

But that permit did not stop the loud noise. Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said she visited Park Towers on Nov. 4 to learn about the race’s impact on the neighbors and described the noise as “obnoxiously” loud.

As Giunchigliani put it, “It was very invasive.”

The county’s ordinances governing commercial impacts on residents may not have been crafted to anticipate this type of conflict between the hotel-casinos and adjacent residents, she said.

The county commissioner also pointed out that there was housing at the parking lot/festival site at one time that served as a buffer, but after it was torn down there was no shield for the residents. At one time several years ago, the site was considered as a possible home for a proposed arena.

“It’s an interesting quandary,” Giunchigliani said. “They (the residents) have legitimate concerns.”

Even if the county annexed the parking lot/event site into the gaming district, Caesars would still need to apply for permits to stage events at the lot, Kulin said.
Noise, traffic from events rankle residents near The Linq is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.