Las Vegas Disposal Boundary – Are we running out of land?

Las Vegas Disposal Boundary – Are we running out of land?

Land available for development in and around the Las Vegas valley is limited. Prospective clients sometimes express a desire to live outside the greater metropolitan area. I suggest that they consider Las Vegas and the few surrounding areas of privately held land as “islands” in a “great sea” of government held land. The great majority of land surrounding the Las Vegas area is government owned.

The Las Vegas disposal boundary is, in fact, a congressionally designated boundary outside of which, no conventional development can occur.  We here, inside the Las Vegas valley, are fast approaching the limits of this boundary.  As far back as 2007 there was much conversation with respect to how this boundary would effect future development. Then, came the downturn and those concerns were put aside.

What happens when we reach the limits of this boundary? In the past, it has been extended with the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) then having the option of selling off parcels to developers and private individuals from inside that extended boundary. What it takes, however, is an act of congress.  We are limited in any event. The Red Rock Conservation Area is to the west. Lake Mead Conservation Area is to the east.  Sloan Canyon is federally protected land to the south and to the north you have the millions of acres of the Desert Wildlife Reserve, the Nevada Test Site and the gunnery areas for Nellis AFB. That does leave some areas for potential development, but not many.

Excluding these protected areas, then you have the political considerations. There are, of course, many environmental factors, but the biggest of all is limited water. The water issue is complicated, but you certainly can make an argument that we are reaching our limit with what can be sustained with present resources.  Ultimately, the boundary might very well be extended. The forces for development will be pitted against the environmentalists and a fight seems inevitable.  The congress will decide.

In my opinion, this will be the biggest issue affecting Las Vegas real estate’s long term future. Good question for any supposed expert in the future of local real estate.  See if they even know what the Las Vegas Disposal Boundary is.

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