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Urban Dwellers Oust Arts District Entrepreneur

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{Photo SamStone KXNT)  An arts district conflict was settled in favor of the residents of Desert Manor, who successfully shut down weekend concert events in the lot across the street.

{Photo SamStone KXNT) An arts district conflict was settled in favor of the residents of Desert Manor, who successfully shut down weekend concert events in the lot across the street.

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(LAS VEGAS CBS KXNT) Buses and trucks rumble past, and the wail of sirens is occasionally audible. A gleaming transit center in the next block bustles with downtown commuters. A converted motel sits among the light industrial businesses and squat storefronts — some vacant.

The residents at the Desert Manor are clearly accustomed to the sounds of urban life.  But they’ve drawn the line at Saturday night concerts blasting into their bedrooms, and that’s a problem for concert promoter Tim Thurtle, who sought a permit extension at City Hall this week to continue hosting teen dance parties through June in a lot across the street from Desert Manor.

Thurtle told the city council he’s been shopping for months for an indoor venue for his Area 702 Productions. But the city permitting requirements are so strict for the category called “teen dance hall” that no available building is eligible.  A building with enough bathrooms, for instance, turned out not to have a sprinkler system. The biggest challenge is a restriction on proximity to alcohol.  Many otherwise perfect spots would require teens to walk past a tavern or liquor store to get to the entrance.

The lot at the corner of First and Garces came to Thurtle’s attention when a friend who operates an electrical contracting business there during the day was written up by city inspectors for creating an eyesore in the area of town promoted as an arts district.  Thurtle offered to clean up the site if he could hold concerts there on the weekends.  He’s added landscaping and art to the lot, built a stage, and generally improved the look of the property, he told KXNT.

Thurtle’s strategy was to impress the city, and gain permanent admittance into the arts district.  He boasts that his young customers are well-behaved.  Smoking, drinking, and loitering outside the concerts are prohibited, he said.  He’s worked with the city to get temporary permits for his events, and at the city’s instruction, started the permanent licensing process.  He’s booked musical events through June, and told the city council on Wednesday he’s invested $25,000 in the enterprise, including marketing for the upcoming concerts.

But the manager of the Desert Manor stepped up to object to the permit extension, citing complaints from the residents about noise.  A dozen or so residents stood silently behind him, but signaled the council with body language, one with his hands over his ears.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman was persuaded without any further testimony, noting that kids need a place to go and listen to music, but the noise cannot be allowed to disturb neighbors. The council voted to deny the permits.

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