Developer plans to break up Bonnie Springs Ranch, build homes

Soon to be covered by mcmansions
The Old Town replica at Bonnie Springs Ranch (CC BY-SA 3.0 from Wikimedia Commons)

Documents filed with Clark County confirm rumors that the owners of Bonnie Springs Ranch are seeking to divide up the 63-acre property in order to build residential housing.

On Dec. 13, land-use plans were submitted to the county. They show the 63-acre property being broken into 22 different parcels. The largest would be an 8.5-acre property directly off Bonnie Springs Road that would encompass a restaurant, motel and event barn. The other 21 are residential properties ranging from 1.84 to 3.39 acres each.

Bonnie Springs Ranch
The proposed changes to Bonnie Springs Ranch.

Bonnie Springs Ranch currently includes Old Town (a replica of a western town), a motel, restaurant, zoo, trails and event space. According to its website, the ranch’s history goes back to 1843 when it was a stopover for wagon trains going to California along the Old Spanish Trail. The property’s namesake and former owner, Bonnie Levinson, died in February 2016.

Bonnie Springs Ranch has not issued any public statement regarding a forthcoming sale. No official sale has been recorded, and a message left at the ranch by the Current has not been returned. The property was previously listed on multiple commercial real estate websites for an asking price of $31 million but is no longer listed.

Vital Vegas, a local blog, reported on Monday that the existing motel is not taking reservations past February.

A letter to the county dated Sept. 14 details part of the plans: “The Applicant is proposing to re-vamp the property to include an updated restaurant with on premise alcohol sales and outdoor entertainment. Two manager’s residences are also proposed. Additionally, the Applicant is proposing several decorative rock features throughout the Property.”

County documents also attach BSR6276 LLC to the project. The LLC is registered to developer Joel Laub. A biography of Laub associates him with the building of the Silverado Ranch Master Plan Community. He is the former CEO of Astoria Homes.

Bonnie Springs Ranch is completely surrounded by public lands and is currently zoned for rural use. The proposed residential properties fall under the existing zoning guidelines. That fact differentiates it from the proposed housing development on nearby Blue Diamond Hill. That controversial development has been battled in county commission meetings and the courts but involves changing the existing land-use guidelines to increase the density. The nonprofit Save Red Rock has led that charge.

The Current reached out to Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones, who previously served as the lawyer for Save Red Rock, but have not heard back. Bonnie Springs Ranch falls under Jones’s district.

BSR6276 LLC, the company associated with the Bonnie Springs Ranch development, contributed $5,000 to Tisha Black, the Republican who Jones beat for his commission seat. BSR6276 LLC also donated $10,000 to Steve Sisolak’s successful gubernatorial campaign.

Save Red Rock posted this statement on their Facebook page: “We at Save Red Rock appreciate the history and legacy of Bonnie Springs and that the new developer will continue to provide public access to this special area in Red Rock. This plan does not seek to change the rural zoning and Save Red Rock does not oppose a private property owner who is willing to build what he bought and respect Red Rock Canyon local land use limitations.”

Bonnie Springs Ranch is expected to go before the Clark County Planning Commission to discuss their application on Feb. 19.

April Corbin
Reporter | April Corbin is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. Most recently she covered local government for Las Vegas Sun. She has also been a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of its student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. April serves as treasurer of the Society of Professional Journalists Las Vegas pro chapter and is an at-large member of the Asian American Journalists Association. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise. She lives with her boyfriend, his toddler, three mutts and five chickens. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, exploring Nevada and defending selfies.

35 COMMENTS

  1. Since i grew up here since 1962 all of our childhood places n historical parks have been taken away ee need to petition this complaint to stop tge development of housing in Bonnie springs please let me know if this is possible n how to get it in circulation Our children n grandchildren and now great granddaughter have been here for centuries n would love to keep this wonderful site in our area n for many other families to enjoy i know many that will be on board to sign this petition please reply my email is [email protected] Thank you

  2. Stop this please lets petition to keep this beautiful place as a natural preserve for our history for families to retreat to n for our childhood memories that we share with generations NOW and to come thankyou n please pass this on so hopefully it will be a national park here forever ????

  3. In Nevada, what does the designation of Rural actually mean? Will Save Red Rock fight this if the designation is changed to Residential?

    • The rural designation allows for residential housing. Save Red Rock has stated they will not oppose the development because it fits within the current zone guidelines. The story has been updated with their full comment.

    • Any attempt to change the zoning to increase density will be evaluated and SaveRedRock will be all over that. PLEASE visit the website: Saveredrock.com to get involved and help us protect Redrock Canyon for everyone to enjoy and protect the eco-systems and wildlife in this beautiful area.

  4. I use to be Bonnie Springs head zookeeper. Work there for about 4 years . My girlfriend at the time being was Cindy. Miss Bonnie house keeper. My name is Brian. It’s very sad to see this place go. I really love my job there.

  5. There is no need for a new restaurant. I love the quintessential nature of it now. Yes, it’s run down, so fix it! This is a treasure with so many memories. I would rather see money spent on this than the Raiders stadium. This place is one of the few family attactions Vegas has! All people from all economic groups come here. Selling it to a developer means the land is only for the wealthy. Stop putting profits before people!

    • Good comment. I agree. I’m heartbroken that Bonnie’s kids sold out. But knowing them personally, I knew they would. I hope Bonnie haunts them! Boo!!

  6. We don’t need anymore fucking homes. EVERYWHERE I go in Vegas there are homes being built. I miss when Vegas was not small but not too big, now all these homes everywhere. Building more shopping centers & bullshit we don’t need; traffic is already a goddamn nightmare and it’s going to get worse because 3 freeways isn’t even enough anymore. For the love of God keep Vegas small. It’s already way too big. Plus we’re driving all the NATURAL wildlife that used to be 45 miles away & putting them in someone’s backyard. The shit isn’t cool. Plus with all these homes, I am FUCKING SICK of hearing about “conserving water”. You motherfuckers are wasting the water we have on building the homes WE DON’T NEED and building more homes that use more water. FUCKING STUPID. As a used to be proud Las Vegas resident, I am pissed the fuck off with all the bullshit coming to this city. Don’t EVEN get me started on the bullshit politics with all the migration to Las Vegas.

    • I totally agree with you, Mindy…we don’t need more homes, adding to our already over crowded infrastructure…roads, schools, water usage, etc., not to mention the encroachment on beautiful, natural environment of Red Rock Canyon!!!

  7. I have been a resident of Las Vegas since 1975 and have spent many a cold winter’s day at Bonnie Springs, sitting next to the fire and sipping a hot-buttered-rum. I have toured the zoo and once, when I first arrived in town, went into the old town to watch the western reenactments. I remember a few times when we rented horses and took a trail ride.

    However, Bonnie Springs is privately owned property, and while I too would hate to see it turned into a subdivision, the owner of the property has the right to do what they wish with the property as long as it is within the standards of the current zoning. As April pointed out in her article, the owner is not asking for a waiver of any standards. That is not the case with Jim Rhodes who is asking for a waiver to increase the density of homes that are authorized to be built on Blue Diamond Hill, from 1,500 to over 5,000.

    Residential lots of 1.8 to 3.4 acres in size is not high density and I would hope that the homes will blend with the environment.

    • I agree with the reply’s . Enough is enough. Bonnie Springs and Red Rock is all we have left of our natural recreation areas that has not been destroyed yet. This is the last of it. Yes Vegas has gone down the toilet and I’m not proud either . I don’t like saying I’m from Vegas. There is a bad stigma associated with the concept. I’m ashamed of the politicians and the developers and the casino owners. The casinos have a responsibility to give back to the community that has made them rich all these years. Red Rock is a tourist destination also . If that goes that’s just another gem in our valley destroyed . It should be designated as an historical site . It’s over 150 years old with history to it. That’s our history also. Protect it. That’s all of our responsibility .

    • Craig Ruark, the property does have Rhoades involved. He is partnering up with the buyer. If this zoning change gets approved that will open the doors for Rhoades to do more damage. It currently is not zoned for housing. Bonnie had a home and some of the workers had places on the property . There was no mass housing. And it’s never been zoned for it. Although it’s private property just like anywhere else in this town there are rules and restrictions on every single persons property , business or personal . Judy because someone owns property doesn’t mean they can do whatever they want to. It’s like you having a neighbor who repairs cars in the street in front of your house, or your neighbor builds a large building for storage or work shop that doesn’t fit your neighborhood . Or your neighbor raises chickens in the back yard. Or your neighbor parks a giant 18 Wheeler in front of your house. Those are all zoning violations. All rules were created to protect you and your investment and your family.

      • Pamela, please visit SaveRedrock.com to join forces with those who wish to protect and preserve Redrock Canyon! The development that is currently being proposed will add about 30 houses, total to the property and the homes will be on acre plus lots. What proof do you have that Rhodes is partner with Laub? From the research done by SaveRedrock, there has been no attempt to change the current zoning (rural) only to update the actual Bonnie Springs commercial area (where the wild west shows and petting zoo are located). I can guarantee you that SaveRedrock, who leads the charge against the Rhodes development, will be all over this like a sentinel on a watchtower to make sure that no shenanigans are pulled. I am guessing that the new owners, seeing the battle (over a decade) that has been waged on the Rhodes front, decided to build what they bought. We will miss Alan and April (Bonnie Springs sellers) as neighbors in the canyon, but they have a right to sell their property.

    • Unfortunately, the land is privately owned and they have a right to sell it. It’s so close to Blue Diamond that I’m not sure how much it will ruin anything. These will be high-dollar homes for sure. I am very doubtful that they will blend with the environment as these days, urban/modern style houses are what designers are doing for higher-end clients.

      I lived in Calico Basin when I was younger. I thought the deal was that you need to have 2 acres to build in Red Rock? 2 1/2 acres was the minimum any land owners held in Calico Basin. This plan is flawed if that is the case and the home sites could be devalued. It may be worth looking into

  8. Well , been going there for the last few years and taken people from out of town to see something that isn’t ugly Vegas housing or dirty casinos…Went to their Halloween event the last 2 years and it was fun…now all of that is gone…just one more reason to move out of this bland , boring , ugly , dirty , crap hole that we have lived in to many years…17 years is already far to long to have stayed here…If you aren’t a criminal , degenerate gambler or alcoholic…this town offers nothing…

  9. I too have lived here since 1978. I now live in the VIllage of Blue Diamond next to Bonnie Springs. The roads can’t handle more houses. Where will the bikers ride ? The runners run? Come on. We need some areas not to be messed with. There is no need for additional homes in that area. Its all about money. GREED Kills people.
    Why can’t they just upgrade Bonnie Springs? Upgrade it a bit but no houses. Please.

  10. This is why I moved out of Nevada.They let those money hungry developer’s do whatever they want to do.I would tell you my story,but no one cares.It is sad.But you won’t change it.

  11. Another great place for families to spend time together and enjoy the outdoors overtaken by yet another housing development. Such a shame that this is what happens to land here.

  12. Being one of the few born and raised in Las Vegas, Bonnie Springs is a hidden treasure filled with nostalgia. It’s a piece of history that has been around longer than most any other attraction in Vegas. Does there need to be updates? Sure. But taking away old town and the petting zoo instead of fixing it up is just sad. No one is going to visit for a wedding hall. This is one of the few things families and friends can do in Vegas without being bombarded by casino smoke.

  13. This makes me so sick!!! Is there anything sacred in this town?! Bonnie Springs is a historic landmark! Preserve it’s charm for generations to come! How can these greedy b******* do this?! Please listen to the residents! Fine, own the land but why tear down our historic attraction! SHAME ON YOU!!!!

  14. I have been hoping for home development that close to the mountains and addessed in Las Vegas and not Blue Diamond or any new other town. I have even been waiting for home development to begin on Blue Diamond Hill. To make the distance from a home to Red Rock Canyon, walkable. Or reachable by bike in just a matter of 5 to 10 minutes. And which people driving from Blue Diamond Hill to Red Rock Canyon could catch Blue Diamond Hill directly along the west side of Blue Diamond Hill and not have to take Charleston Blvd or the not at the north or south side of Blue Diamond Hill for the shortest driving distance.

  15. It disgusts me that these developers don’t have the integrety to keep Bonnie Springs alone and build around it. This is one of the few family orinented historical places left in southern nevada. I pray that the zoning department will preserve the existing Bonnie Springs for future generations to enjoy. If it needs upgrades, then upgrade it, but don’t destoy it. Don’t allow them to take away a part of our history. There is enough new growth and developement in other areas of the valley.

  16. Would this be a family decision?? I mean this was Bonnie’s property and she left it to her kids right? He second husband passed before she did, so it would be up to the kids as to what happens to this property, right??

    • I call bullshit. I knew Bonnie’s kids we’re gonna sell as soon as she died. She knew it too. I hope she haunts them …I’m sick over this. I can’t believe anyone would even take the property and change it. Even if you gave me millions of dollars, I could never destroy it. Bonnie loved it so much. She put her life into Bonnie springs. And her kids never even wanted it. They were never happy. Maybe now they will be. But it won’t last. Regret is on its way back to bite y’all I the ass!

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