How Will Our Local Officials Deal with the Lack of On-site Raiders Stadium Parking?

By ALAN SNEL

Southern Nevada residents will get an early look at how the Las Vegas stadium board and the County Commission will treat the Raiders based on the fact the NFL football team’s recent stadium parking plan is woefully short of complying with county parking requirements.

The county requires the Raiders have 16,250 parking spaces at the proposed $1.9 billion 65,000-seat domed stadium, but the Raiders parking plan shows only 2,400 spaces for the 62-acre site at Russell Road and Polaris Avenue on the west side of I-15.

County spokesman Erik Pappa said the Raiders will not be issued a certificate of occupancy until they secure enough parking spaces.

Typically, public boards that oversee publicly-owned sports stadiums consist of local business and community leaders who are fans of the team and are caught up with the hoopla of being “major league” — which means the oversight normally is not intense.

In the case of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, the members have gone along with the Raiders’ requests without much intense public debate, such as recently approving a stadium lease to meet a deadline for an NFL owners meeting deadline. It was the lease issue that had apparently prompted local casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, who helped get a $750 million stadium subsidy for the Raiders, to take his $650 million contribution to the stadium off the table.

The stadium authority is chaired by Steve Hill, Gov. Brian Sandoval’s right-hand man when it comes to economic development in Nevada. Hill has backed the Raiders stadium project, serving as an advocate for the Raiders like most of the stadium board members.

The stadium board meets Thursday at 1 p.m. at the County Commission chambers at 500 S.Grand Central Parkway.

The parking issue is not on the meeting agenda. But board members and the public are free to raise the issue at the meeting.

Stadium board meeting items include staff updating the stadium board on the agreement to allow UNLV to play its football games at the venue and on the agreement on personal seat licenses.

The Clark County Commission’s evaluation of the Raiders stadium parking situation will likely be much different than the one at the stadium authority. Even though Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak has been a fan of the stadium project and the Raiders it’s likely that Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani will raise questions about the stadium parking issue. The county commission has a joint meeting today, but stadium parking is not on the agenda.

The Raiders have an extension from the county to work on the parking issues, Sisolak told LVSportsBiz.com last week when LVSportsBiz first broke the news on the Raiders submitted parking plan on a Twitter post last Wednesday.

Pappa noted, “They have time to secure more parking spaces . . . The stadium will not open until 2020.”

The Raiders plan to build a 30-foot-wide pedestrian walkway across I-15 to reach the site on the interstate’s west side, widen Polaris from 60 feet to 80 feet and create an area for motorists to drop off and pick up fans.

Pappa said, “Project applicants must meet all County requirements, including those for parking, unless variances are granted by the Commission.”

And the Raiders will not receive special treatment from the county, he said.

“The County regularly works with high-impact projects such as this to ensure that our requirements are met prior to opening,” he said.

Sisolak said that neighboring property owners were jacking up land prices by 300 percent to 500 percent because of the needs for nearby parking lots. That’s why, the county commissioner said, it’s only fair to extend the time for the Raiders to look into more parking options. Sisolak said remote lots and shuttle services will be part of the package.

A big financial winner from the lack of stadium parking space is likely MGM Resorts, which has several casino-hotels such as Mandalay Bay and parking garages on the Strip across the interstate from the stadium site. Fans could potentially park in the New York-New York or Luxor parking garages (and pay parking fees) and walk on the pedestrian bridge spanning I-15 to reach the stadium.

Writer Alan Snel can be reached at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com

Alan Snel

Alan Snel brings decades of sports-business reporting experience to LVSportsBiz.com. Snel covered the business side of sports for the South Florida (Fort Lauderdale) Sun-Sentinel, the Tampa Tribune and Las Vegas Review-Journal. As a city hall beat reporter, Snel also covered stadium deals in Denver and Seattle. In 2000, Snel launched a sport-business website for FoxSports.com called FoxSportsBiz.com. After reporting sports-business for the RJ, Snel wrote hard-hitting stories on the Raiders stadium for the Desert Companion magazine in Las Vegas and The Nevada Independent. Snel is also one of the top bicycle advocates in the country.

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