Skip to comments.Desert Connections (Harry Reid aids Coyote Springs developer)
Posted on 08/20/2006 1:47:06 AM PDT by calcowgirl
One of the most inhospitable places in the country, Coyote Springs Valley is so barren that, until recently, its best use was thought to be as a weapons test range.
Yet the valley an hour northeast of Las Vegas is on its way to becoming a real estate development of historic proportions, with as many as 159,000 homes, 16 golf courses and a full complement of stores and service facilities. At nearly 43,000 acres, Coyote Springs covers almost twice as much space as the next-largest development in a state famous for outsized building projects.
Helping make Coyote Springs come alive was an alliance between a multimillionaire developer and one of the highest-ranking members of Congress: Nevada Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate minority leader and a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.
The relationship between developers such as Harvey Whittemore and politicians such as Reid is especially close in Nevada, home to a small fraternity of movers and shakers, powerful demands of rapid population growth and a huge amount of federally owned land.
Over the last four years, Reid has used his influence in Washington to help the developer, Nevada super-lobbyist Whittemore, clear obstacles from Coyote Springs' path.
At one point, Reid proposed opening the way for Whittemore to develop part of the site for free something for which the developer later agreed to pay the government $10 million.
As the project advanced, Reid received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Whittemore. The contributions not only went to Reid's Senate campaigns, but also to his leadership fund, which he used to help bankroll the campaigns of Democratic colleagues.
Whittemore also helped advance the legal careers of two of Reid's four sons. . . .
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
I won't read the whole article but will say that what it implies does not surprise me. You can be sure that nothing will hurt Reid, dems are excellent liars.
It's the frontpage article of the Business Section.
I re-read. Thought I saw a 'page 5' somewhere in the article the first breeze through. 5:10 AM at the time, no coffee yet.
Is Nevada getting tired of ol' Dingy yet?
And just where will they find water and power for this nonsense?
Maybe if there's something in oil drilling for old Dingy Harry, we'll have more oil exploration.
Desolate is one thing, but this is ridiculous.
By LAUNCE RAKE
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS COYOTE SPRINGS - The Coyote Springs Valley sprawls between three southern Nevada mountain ranges in a remote area rich with cactus, purple sage, jack rabbits and tortoises. Soon, thousands of homes will be built in this classically Western setting.
Already, workers are carving out a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course to help entice residents. Harvey Whittemore, the powerful lobbyist-turned-developer, says he's as proud of the natural elements of Coyote Springs as he is of the golf course.
The work under way is the product of a decade of study, planning, cajoling governments and sometimes acrimonious debate over something once seen as impossible: a new city in the desert, 55 miles north of Las Vegas, halfway to just about nothing at all.
``People said I was crazy,'' Whittemore said during a recent tour of the nascent development. ``What I said was: You have all this land, the best land in southern Nevada, and you've got water.''
Whittemore says most people still believe the project is confined to blueprints, but the movement of heavy equipment on the site belies that.
``When people talk about it, they think it's another four or five years. I tell them, 'no, it's another four or five months,''' he adds.
While land and water provide the essential ingredients for desert development, Coyote Springs would not be possible without federal and local governments.
The project's roots date to a land swap Congress approved in 1988 for a rocket-production company. In the swap, Aerojet traded land in the environmentally sensitive Florida Everglades for 29,000 acres at Coyote Springs and a 100-year lease on an additional 14,000 acres.
In 1996, the company agreed to sell the land to Whittemore's holding company. Two years later, Coyote Springs Investment completed the deal and began trying to win federal and local approval for the development.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has an interest because the land included habitat for the endangered desert tortoise. The Bureau of Land Management had oversight of the leased acreage and surrounding land.
Both Lincoln and Clark counties also had zoning oversight, and wanted to ensure that municipal services would be provided without charging existing taxpayers. Whittemore and a small army of consultants overcame the permitting challenges, in part by creating self-funding districts for the municipal services and by providing land and water for habitat protection.
Among the agreements, Coyote Springs Investment will provide 460 acre-feet of water annually - about 150 million gallons - to sustain the endangered Moapa dace, a 3-inch fish found in northeast Clark County.
The dace would receive the water through releases within Coyote Springs' Pahranagat Wash, which feeds the Muddy River 15 miles downstream. The wash is part of the land set aside from development, and the set-aside and agreement to release water for the dace helped the project win an award from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Water is a crucial element, and Whittemore is working to win state approval to import water from Lincoln County for the project.
In 1998, he sold part of the water he controlled. The Southern Nevada Water Authority, the water wholesaler for all of urban Las Vegas and its suburbs, paid him $25 million for 7,500 acre-feet.
The money was helpful, and so was the strategic alliance with the Water Authority, Whittemore says. Even with the sale and the water going to sustain the Moapa dace, he says Coyote Springs still has 4,140 acre-feet - more than 1.3 billion gallons annually - for the project. That's more than enough to support thousands of homes and the first golf course.
That water already is pumping to the project, filling lakes on the golf course and watering thousands of plants in the project's greenhouses.
Pardee Homes is among the homebuilders who have dived into the project. Klif Andrews, Pardee's division president, says his company and four other builders will begin selling custom lots later this year. Homes in the master-planned community will go on sale in August 2007, and people can open their front doors by the end of that year.
Andrews anticipates selling ``1,000 to 1,200 homes a year for the first two, three years.'' Once it's built out, decades from now, the development could have 159,000 homes, including condominiums.
Some environmentalists oppose the project, including Sierra Club activist Jane Feldman, who served on a technical committee that advised Whittemore on ways to limit environmental impacts.
The basic problem is the remote location, Feldman says, adding, ``We have tremendous concerns about what's going on out there. Leapfrog urban development is just not smart by any definition of the word.''
While Feldman says federal and local governments should have blocked the development, she still credits Whittemore with providing natural space in the development.
Whittemore says he's done everything he can to make the project environmentally friendly. He adds he was under no obligation to provide 13,000 acres for green space.
``The land is going to be developed,'' he says. ``Don't you want it done to the highest standard? We have a true commitment to protecting the natural resources.''
Whittemore also says he realizes that some opposition will always be there because of his history as a lobbyist.
``I think people are a little bit jealous,'' he adds. ``I am very blessed. I am the luckiest guy in America.''
On the Net: Coyote Springs: www.coyotesprings.com/
U.S. Water News Online
CARSON CITY, Nev. -- A state engineer's decision on Coyote Springs Valley could slow a powerful lobbyist's development plans and thwart efforts by Las Vegas to get water from the valley.
Hugh Ricci says no new water rights will be issued in Coyote Springs Valley for at least five years, although those with existing rights can begin pumping water in the area about 50 miles north of Las Vegas.
A study will be made over the next five years to see if drawing the 50,465 acre feet already claimed will hurt the environment or other water rights.
The decision allows lobbyist and developer Harvey Whittemore to start the initial phases of his proposed golf course community in the valley that straddles the Clark-Nye County line.
But without more water, Whittemore, who already owns rights to 6,100 acre-feet in Coyote Springs, may have to scale back his plans. The developer had sought an additional 16,000 acre-feet to build a community of 50,000 homes.
An acre foot is enough to supply a family of four for a year.
The decision also dampens plans by the Las Vegas Valley Water District to draw 27,500 acre-feet from the Coyote Springs Basin; and delays an agreement between Whittemore, the Water District, the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Moapa Valley Water District that set ratios on how much water each would get from the Coyote Springs Valley.
Ricci noted little solid information exists on the amount of water in the area's deep carbonate aquifers, and he wants more data before allowing additional pumping.
Environmentalists praised the decision as a way to ensure future water decisions in the valley are based on science.
John Hiatt, conservation chairman of the Red Rock Audubon Society, called the Ricci ruling ``great news,'' though he would have rather seen the applications denied.
The Red Rock Audubon Society had protested the application, as did the Sierra Club and the federal government.
Whittemore said Ricci's decision was expected.
``We have always advocated a go-slow approach,'' he said.
Whittemore said he could still proceed with the initial phases of his development in 12 to 18 months, which include 2,000 homes. Besides the 5,000 acre-feet of water he will retain, Whittemore said he has 8,600 acre-feet for temporary use from the Las Vegas Valley Water District.
Vince Alberta, a spokesman for the Las Vegas Valley Water District, called the decision responsible.
OK, this has to be the final answer.
Thanks, I forgot to refresh before my last, so I'm redundant.
No you're not... my link was bad. Thanks for adding it.
Thanks to you, I didn't check the link, but was referring to the map, which I had attempted to place instead of the link, but didn't get it done with the copy/paste method. Copy seemed to work but it wouldn't paste. How did you manage? I did notice a size difference between the article and the posted map.
First, to post the image in its original size, type the following (substituting the URL you copied):
<img src="http://www.qqqqq.jpg">which is simply giving the "source" of the "image".
When I looked at the dimensions of the map from coyotesprings.com, it was kind of large. To shrink the image, you would simply specify smaller dimensions. There are several ways to do that, but I find it easiest to just specify a different width. If you change only one number, it will automatically proportion the whole photo. By changing the 500 to 400, I reduced the photo to 80% of its orignal size.
In this case, my post was as follows:
<img width="400" src="http://www.coyotesprings.com/images/coyotemap_revised.jpg">
In the opposite direction from Vegas, developers are way ahead of these folks. Lots and homes are being sold now with plans for hundreds of thousands more. They are hoping things will boom when the bridge is finished over Hoover Dam.
The weather is much cooler in CS and theres beautiful country around it but theres little out there for hundreds of miles. I would think retirees who hate the heat and the city but like to go to vegas once a month.
From the website:
Primary homes center on luxurious, yet affordable home ownership in a living, connected environment.
Second homes provide all the comforts needed to unwind for a weekend, or as long as it takes.
Vacation properties provide guests with an affordable escape and a wide spectrum of amenities.
Ranch estates offer ample acreage for equestrian activities, or just room to roam.
Retirement residences let seniors in on the fun, when life should be about just that.
Town and village centers provide integral community services, as well as a vital employment base.
CALL IT SOUTHWEST. CALL IT AMERICAN. BETTER YET, CALL IT HOME.
The architectural and stylistic elements of Coyote Springs embody an eclectic mix of Southwestern and Western influences, such as those found in the settlements of Nevadas Pioneer Country. Each neighborhood incorporates its own variations of this style.
Details such as recessed doors, washed stone, terra cotta rooftops and private courtyards create an atmosphere found nowhere else. Artistic touches like the use of natural light, weather-beaten doors, exposed beams and earthen colors illustrate the soul of Coyote Springs.
Pardee Homes, the master residential builder for the community, is a proven pioneer of environmental stewardship. Their commitment to harmony between home and environment is shown in their conservation initiatives.
They build the home. You build the community.
To build the community you've always wanted, Pardee needs your imagination. Help us know what activities you seek in a neighborhood and let us develop the Villages of Coyote Springs.
Southern Nevadas place to live
and home of the PGA Village®
|Whittemore said the PGA Village at Coyote Springs will be the western winter home to PGA professionals and the host site for future PGA events. ...
www.nicklaus.com/design/112204.php - 14k -
|Construction of the PGA Village at Coyote Springs, scheduled to begin in 2005, will serve as a prime destination for PGA professionals in the western US, ...
www.cybergolf.com/state.asp?stateID=33&newsID=2456 - 28k -
|Model homes won't be the first buildings to rise at Coyote Springs. The PGA village announced in 2004 will emerge first. The parent company behind the ...
www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2005/Nov-07-Mon-2005/news/4162919.html - 32k -
|Information on the new Nevad Planned Community of Coyote Springs. ... has partnered with the PGA of America to build the "PGA Village" at Coyote Springs, ...
www.milliefine.com/coyote_springs.htm - 6k -
|The Coyote Springs development will be developed in a series of Villages. The specific plan identifies 12 different villages with a mix of residential and ...
dsnet.co.clark.nv.us/dsnetapps/agendaweb/Data/P0185562.htm - 29k -
The plans show a 764 acre tentative map for Coyote Springs Village 1, which was approved in October 2005 for a 623 lot single family residential subdivision ...
dsnet.co.clark.nv.us/dsnetapps/agendaweb/Data/P0186134.htm - 14k -
Cached - Similar pages
[ More results from dsnet.co.clark.nv.us ]
|Coyote Springs is located 45 minutes from downtown Las Vegas at the junction of US 93 and State Route 168. The philosophy behind the PGA Village at Coyote ...
www.pgafallexpo.com/app/homepage.cfm?moduleid=324&linkid=9543&appname=100038&Exid=464576 - 46k -
|For more information, please visit Villages of Coyote Springs. Master Planned Community Coming to Beautiful Coyote Springs Southern Nevada ...
www.pardeehomes.com/coyotesprings.php - 24k - Aug 18, 2006 -
|A world class golf destination, Coyote Springs is the home of the PGA Village and Jack Nicklas signature course. Located north of Las Vegas.
www.coyotesprings.com/vision_homes.html - 10k -
|Only the second PGA Village in the United Holy Cow,....this looks to be out of my price range!
World-class golf makes its way to the West
THE PGA OF AMERICA PRESENTS THE PGA VILLAGE® AT COYOTE SPRINGS
Conceived as the regions first true world-class golf destination, Coyote Springs features a premier golf village as the gateway to the community. Only the second PGA Village® in the United States and the first of its kind in the West, The PGA Village® at Coyote Springs offers state-of-the-art facilities and an unparalleled golf experience.
The PGA Learning Center
The ultimate learning experience for golfers of all skill levels, The PGA Learning Center is dedicated to teaching the sport in a fun environment where PGA Professionals provide the expertise to enhance enjoyment of the game.
The PGA Historical Center
The PGA Historical Center unlocks the history of golf its growth, the grand traditions of its founders and the championship moments that embody the sports rich legacy.
For more information on The PGA of America: click here
*******************AN EXCERPT *******************************************
When the Democrats adopted the "culture of corruption" meme as their campaign theme earlier this year, we noted that the culture hardly respected party lines. The leader of the Senate Democratic caucus, Harry Reid, took contributions from clients of Jack Abramoff and intervened on their behalf at least four times, and Abramoff hired one of Reid's staffers and started holding fundraisers for the Senate Minority Leader in Abramoff's offices.
Now COGirl at Hang Right Politics points us towards a Los Angeles Times report on the "culture of corruption" surrounding Harry Reid and a new real-estate development outside of Las Vegas. Reid has intervened on behalf of a powerful developer to gain government concessions while the developer puts money into Reid's campaigns -- and pays Reid's sons' salaries:
********************More Excerpt **********************
The story of Coyote Springs sounds like a Horatio Alger story. The land Whittemore bought in 1998 from a defense contractor who intended on using it for target practice had a number of restrictions on its use. A quarter of it was subject to a federal power-line right of way. Another quarter had federal protection for the desert tortoise, an endangered species that also is Nevada's official state reptile. The land had a fragile series of streams and washes that required special permission on which to build without ruining the desert's ecosystem.
None of these obstacles proved too difficult for Whittemore, at least not while he had his friend Harry Reid running interference in Congress. Interior refused to relocate the tortoises for over five years, until the Bureau of Land Management agreed to swap the land for another parcel abutting a federal preserve elsewhere. No one ever did an analysis to determine whether the deal was fair to either party, nor did the BLM go to Congress for approval on the changes to a project that Congress had explicitly legislated.
In 2002, Reid worked on the power corridor. He inserted obscure provisions into a land management bill that relocated the power corridor, freeing Whittemore to build on the 10,500 acres that Congress had previously held -- which means that someone else now had to lose property value for Whittemore's benefit, and for no cost whatsoever. That bald move caused raised eyebrows at the BLM and the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Reid backed away -- for the moment. Less than two years later, Reid tried again to give Whittemore the land for a song ($160,000), but Congress balked again. He finally settled for freeing the land for development and allowing Whittemore to buy it at a fair market rate, and forcing the government to relocate the power corridor.
In 2005, Reid and fellow Nevada Senator John Ensign conducted a series of interventions with the EPA to eliminate the final obstacle -- the environmental impact on the fragile ecosystem in Coyote Springs Valley. When the agency blocked Whittemore's efforts, Reid and Ensign held several meetings with EPA officials to pressure them into submission. Whittemore used another Reid son, Lief, to lobby his father's office for assistance. In the end, the pressure paid off, as the EPA backed down from its opposition after winning a few concessions on the development plan.
What did Reid get in exchange for all of this support? According to the Times, Whittemore contributed $45,000 to Reid and his PACs since 2000. He also gave the DSCC $20,000 in 2000, when it pushed Reid as a leader for the party in the Senate. Reid's son Josh got $5,000 for his unsuccessful campaign for a city council seat; his other sone Rory got $5,000 for his successful effort to win a spot on the Clark County Board of Commissioners.
Money talks. And Harry Reid walks. If you wondered why the Democrats have abandoned the corruption theme for these midterm elections, now you know.
UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers!
Why wasn't it entitled "How to line your pockets while being a lying, leaking, learing, lusting, looselipped, lumpjawed, crosseye, amoeba jocky of a Senate Demonicrat!"
You're right, Harry does look like he's in need of massive hydration
Well, I was pretty darned surprised that the LA Times took the time to research this little landswap enrichment game at all. The article ended on an entirely to cordial note, IMO. Dirty Harry needs to be investigated thoroughly.
Thanks for another example of a maggot infested leftie doing what they do all the time while blaming republicans.