Replacements named for planning commission

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Las Vegas leaders on Wednesday filled the gaps left in April by a pair of longtime planning commissioners who were controversially ousted.

Former commissioners Ric Truesdell and Byron Goynes — who, combined, have served nearly 30 years on the panel — will give way to Cedric Crear and Sam Cherry next month.

Crear, who serves on the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents, will take over the seat vacated by Goynes, who was first appointed in 2000 and abruptly booted via an obscure term-limit ordinance adopted in 2011.

Goynes has hinted he may run for the Ward 6 City Council seat to be vacated by Councilman Steve Ross in 2017.

Cherry, a well-known downtown developer, will step in for Truesdell, another commercial real estate developer who nearly escaped Goynes’ fate, despite having served on the planning panel for a year longer than his colleague.

City officials initially said Truesdell could stay on the commission, pointing to a pair of “breaks” he took from the board to run for City Council seats in 2004 and 2012.

They backed away from that stance only a day after the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that only Goynes had been asked to step down, while officials continued to “research” Truesdell’s departure.

It remains unclear why the city reversed course. City Attorney Brad Jerbic still hasn’t answered questions about whether the pair should have even started their final terms.

Critics of preliminary efforts to oust Goynes but not Truesdell say the move amounted to political fallout from the city’s now-abandoned plan to spend public money on a $200 million, 24,000-seat downtown soccer stadium.

Goynes voted against a controversial proposal in February that would have cleared a path for the city to spend public money to host “a broader range of fee-based recreational activities” — not just soccer — at a future downtown stadium. The proposed amendment failed 6-1, with Truesdell casting the lone vote in favor.

Some commissioners viewed the item as a referendum on the stadium issue itself. City leaders overruled commissioners’ recommendation on the matter a month later.

Goynes has declined to speculate on potential political motivations behind his departure.

Truesdell — who faced questions late last year over his decision to vote on medical marijuana permit applications in which he or his company had a vested financial interest — has not returned requests for comment on his ouster.

His replacement on the board helped build the 120-unit SoHo Lofts condominium building at Las Vegas Boulevard and Hoover Avenue in 2004. Cherry’s company also co-developed the 24-story Newport Lofts luxury condo building near Casino Center Boulevard and Hoover Avenue in 2007.

Goynes’ successor runs a marketing and outdoor advertising company, but is perhaps best known for his work on the state’s higher education governing board.

Crear sounded enthusiastic about his new gig.

“I am a lifelong resident of Ward 5,” Crear said. “I look forward to diving in, to being an advocate for the citizens of Ward 5.

“Hopefully I can live up to everything (Goynes) has done.”

Both new appointees will attend their first meeting in July.