The County also needs to look to the job requirements for the jobs of the future. A decade ago, only 15 percent of existing jobs in Clark County required a four-year degree as a minimum prequalification. This number inched up over the course of the decade to 17 percent of the existing job base. According to RCG Economics, focused skills training is currently in more demand than a college degree (e.g., Microsoft certification). Looking ahead, the new jobs projected to be added over the coming 10 years will require increasingly more preparation. A full 29 percent of the projected new jobs will require at least a four-year degree as an entry-level condition.39 This is lower than the national projections for future jobs, which reports that about 26 percent of new jobs will require a bachelor’s degree.40

Strategies to enhance access to quality educational opportunities include:

• Enhance multi-modal transportation opportunities, placing priority on low-income neighborhoods, safe routes to schools, and concentrating new housing along transit corridors.

• Encourage diverse mixed-income housing and neighborhoods and review the impacts of restrictive zoning on educational achievement.

• Create economic development opportunities within neighborhoods that provide tools for communities to build social capital and civic infrastructure that supports schools.

• Siting new schools and services in a thoughtful way, including the co-location of schools with health and
other services.


Figure 9 shows where residents with a college degree currently live.


This section details the goals, objectives, and actions that support improved economic competitiveness and education and will move Southern Nevada toward the vision.

• Goals are the big overarching ideas, changes, or practices that are essential to realize, the community’s vision.

• Objectives establish specific, measurable goals that guide how the Plan is implemented in a way that will achieve the vision.

• Strategies outline the steps needed to achieve the objectives.

Achieving the Vision Through Strategic Land Use
Since the way we use land profoundly influences how we live, work and play, this document touches on many aspects of the region’s land-use planning. The goals and policies included in Chapters 3, 4 and 5 will guide the design of the valley’s regulatory system, including the zoning code, rules governing the subdivision of land, the interaction of land use and transportation and economic development.The Plan also recommends strategies that should be pursued in the first few years following Plan adoption. These strategies are found in the Implementation Matrix.

Goal 1. Match land use and transportation plans with regional economic development plans.

Objective 1.1 Invest in and maintain infrastructure, that meets the needs of a diversified economy.

1.1.1 In coordination with organizations such as the LVGEA, develop a regional approach to 1) assess the need for and implement
infrastructure that can support a diversified economy and 2) recommend updates to land-use plans to match land use and
transportation plans and policies.

1.1.2 Provide tools such as scenario planning analyses to local governments and the RTC to develop land-use strategies that
implement the Plan at the local level.

1.1.3 Coordinate the RTC’s Regional Transportation Plan and local government master plan updates with the CEDS.


Objective 1.2 Determine future needs for employment lands.


1.2.1 Conduct and publicize a regional inventory of available commercial and industrial land and facilities.

1.2.2 Work with local governments to bolster longer-term economic growth and development by designating employment lands for future industries, while mitigating the pressure to respond to short-term development demand for residential development.

Objective 1.3 Foster the development of the healthcare and education sectors, locally serving sectors that would enhance quality of life for residents to better integrate with existing land uses and create a better environment to attract new workers.

1.3.1 Support community stakeholders to plan for regional educational and medical assets that support economic growth and diversification, such as a UNLV medical school.

1.3.2 Encourage quality housing and transit near existing medical facilities, schools and training programs to increase access to local medical providers and provide opportunities for residency programs in order to get doctors to stay in the region.

1.3.3 Identify how and where medical and educational institutions can be integrated into mixed-use developments in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods to stimulate economic vitality while offering needed services.

1.3.4 Provide housing options for healthcare workers near their place of employment that integrate parks, trails, and active transportation infrastructure.

Goal 2. Ensure that Southern Nevada offers a range of place types to attract and retain future workers, visitors, businesses and entrepreneurs.

Objective 2.1 Develop strategies and make targeted investments to encourage infill redevelopment and property rehabilitation.

2.1.1 Implement the four Opportunity Site strategies: Maryland Parkway, Boulder Highway at Broadbent/Gibson, Downtown North Las Vegas, and the Las Vegas Medical District and create and encourage the use of an infill and revitalization action plan for areas with similar characteristics to the four Opportunity Site strategies that identifies barriers to mixed-use development and suggests tools to overcome them.

2.1.2 Create a set of sample revitalization and renovation plans for existing buildings, which could be approved through a streamlined permitting process and implemented via low-cost loans, modest rehabilitation subsidies, or CDBG dollars, etc.

2.1.3 Make targeted enhancements in key infill areas to enhance walkability and connectivity to existing and new recreational, commercial and transportation options.

2.1.4 Preserve and enhance historic neighborhoods and allow appropriate infill and enhancements that can support the neighborhood’s economic development.

2.1.5 Develop and build upon existing programs to promote reinvestment in business districts through sweat equity and volunteerism to create gathering spaces, improve safety, and stabilize neighborhoods.

2.1.6 Study market readiness and redevelopment potential for deteriorated commercial areas and underutilized strip retail developments.

2.1.7 Work with rural communities and small towns to implement economic development goals where comparative advantages align better than in the urban areas of Clark County.

Objective 2.2 Develop and expand community based economic development and reinvestment to support vibrant, transit-supported mixed-use districts throughout the region.


2.2.1 Identify place making improvements, regulatory changes and design standards to increase customer draw in areas with a unique flair (arts, antiques, international appeal, family oriented, etc.).

2.2.2 Develop strategies to better connect residential demand with local commercial services and products to reduce retail leakage.

2.2.3 Identify, adopt and support programs that aid in the revitalization of local business districts, such as the arts district in downtown Las Vegas and areas with active business associations.


Regional Planning & Economic Development: WHERE DO SMALLER TOWNS & RURAL COMMUNITIES FIT IN?

In September 2013, Southern Nevada Strong project staff and consultants held an economic development workshop in Laughlin and Moapa Valley (Overton), respectively.

The purpose of each workshop was to discuss the latest trends in economic development, with particular focus on how smaller communities and rural areas identify their assets and what role they play in a regional economy.

The workshop encouraged participants, who included businesses, economic developers, and community leaders, to identify potential new approaches to strengthening the local economies of Moapa Valley and Laughlin, respectively, and build closer economic connections to the larger Southern Nevada region.

Participants were asked to consider key questions:

• What are my area’s current economic priorities?

• What will our children or grandchildren do to earn their living when they grow up?

• Will they be able to, and want to, stay in this area?

• What is the region’s current and future demographic, economic and social mix?

The presenter shared that characteristics that may have been attractive to companies yesterday, won’t attract companies today.

Companies today are looking for:

•A Talented Workforce/ Entrepreneurs

• Quality of Life

• Good Location

• Strong Civic Leadership

The presenter emphasized that working at the regional scale is especially important to smaller towns and rural areas because:

• They build more critical mass

• Regions compete in a global market, not along political or municipal boundaries

• More ideas and diverse perspectives = better ideas

Through the workshop, participants identified opportunities for their respective communities, discussed ways to measure success and defined desired outcomes. They also identified strategic initiatives necessary to catalyze growth, and discussed partnerships that could be pursued to align efforts with other communities and the larger region.

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Moapa Valley, in the rural northeastern corner of Southern Nevada, experienced similar effects of the Great Recession as the urbanized Las Vegas valley. Mesquite, an incorporated city and Overton, an unincorporated town, anchor the area and are located off of the I15 freeway. Each of these communities has worked on economic development efforts.

Mesquite has unique challenges and opportunities. The City planned for growth and enjoys adequate infrastructure and available land for development, boasting the availability of numerous modern buildings and sites. However, limited natural resources pose a concern for the rural community and position smart growth and sustainability as vital concepts for the area.

Prioritizing Moapa Valley’s downtowns, including downtown Overton and downtown Mesquite also align with the Regional Plan. Mesquite also suffers extreme disparities due to a significant retired population with mainly stable above average incomes, juxtaposed by a high unemployment rate of eligible workers.

Recovery in Moapa Valley is slower than in the metropolitan area of Southern Nevada and businesses, economic developers and community leaders must be creative to support the area’s economic well-being. Rural and small town communities are an important part of diversifying the region’s economy in their ability to attract and capture different sectors looking for unique characteristics, location and developable land.

Recognizing the unique characteristics of rural areas and small towns is important to distinguish in an economic development strategy in order to align with the needs of target industries. The community looks forward to continuing to participate in larger regional efforts through projects like Southern Nevada Strong and with the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance.

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With a population of about eight thousand, this quiet town plays host to two million visitors per year who come to enjoy the entertainment and recreation Laughlin has to offer. All of these activities bring benefits to the region as well as to Laughlin; however recreation and tourism are only a portion of what’s needed for sustainable economic development.Although Laughlin’s casino resorts have managed to maintain economic stability for the region by serving as the economic engine, a need for diversification is recognized to nourish a healthy community. Participation in Southern Nevada Strong has been a recent part of the multi-faceted approach that Laughlin has undertaken over the years to broaden its economic base.Laughlin boasts many assets, including:

  • Availability of large publically-owned land supply
  • Great weather
  • New parks and trails including 1,200 acres along the river walk
  • High number of hotel rooms
  • Annual events
  • A renewed focus on the Colorado River and Lake Mojave
  • Strong alignment with manufacturing
  • A great community for retirees

Laughlin is in sync with Southern Nevada Strong, recognizing that regional planning can bring a variety of benefits to our neighborhoods by identifying local solutions to regional problems. We can improve the quality of life in our communities by working together to provide cleaner air, safer streets, and homes closer to transit, jobs, and services. Along with improving local conditions, these factors are essential to attracting and retaining quality jobs that provide opportunities at all employment levels.Regional Planning provides the broad context in which local and regional decisions can be made that move the town and region toward a sustainable future – a future with more choices and opportunities for all residents

Goal 3. Enhance the role of small businesses and entrepreneurs as leaders in economic diversification and revitalization.

Objective 3.1 Determine the building and space needs of entrepreneurs and startups to embolden existing small businesses to participate in revitalization.

3.1.1 Identify neighborhoods that are well positioned to attract businesses from specific sectors and develop place based strategies, cluster training, and workforce outreach efforts around those areas to reduce commute times and connect local residents to job opportunities.

3.1.2 Identify target industry locational needs, determine which industries are most likely to be successful in infill development, and develop a strategy to promote new development that accommodates them.

3.1.3 Assess potential support for locally-owned business preferences, including co-working spaces.

3.1.4 Expand and pursue public market concepts that allow flexibility for a diversity of businesses including micro business, farmers markets, or public markets through a public-private partnership.

3.1.5 Provide tools and technical assistance to business districts to help increase market draw.

3.1.6 Encourage the development of “third places,” (locations outside of work and home including coffee shops, cafes or bars) that foster entrepreneurs and small business owners by allowing people to meet and exchange ideas or work with the ability to access basic services such as wifi at no charge.

Goal 4. Support the educational system and learning environments through thoughtful land-use and transportation planning.

Objective 4.1 Prioritize the school environment for children, encouraging development that better supports existing schools.

4.1.1 Explore community-based approaches to educational improvement and reform that focuses on improving the educational and developmental outcomes of children and youth in distressed communities, paying special attention to access to free preschools and all-day kindergarten.

4.1.2 Support updates to land-use plans based on the preferred land-use alternative, emphasizing relationships between revitalization, urban infill, and education.

4.1.3 Support events and educational programming that addresses socioeconomic disparities and coordinate with partner organizations and initiatives to improve social equity.

4.1.4 Partner with Safe Routes to Schools to integrate safe walking and biking routes in new development areas to make neighborhoods more attractive. Prioritize investments that improve multi-modal school access.

4.1.5 Promote the integration of schools, parks and community services into neighborhoods.

4.1.6 Review the impacts of restrictive zoning on the educational system. (Restrictive zoning limits the types or form of development in a specific area. For instance, development of higher density buildings may be banned in certain areas of the community.)

Objective 4.2 Work closely with the Clark County School District Real Property Management Division, local governments, and developers to develop thoughtful school and service siting criteria.

4.2.1 Work with the Clark County School District to prioritize repurposing and rehabilitation of deteriorating schools, especially in neighborhoods near the Opportunity Sites.

4.2.2 In the spirit of collaboration, research legislative changes (local, state and federal) necessary to allow the school district more flexibility with facility use and management with particular consideration for the role of regulations affecting Recreation & Public Purposes Act leases and BLM land and related impacts on schools on BLM property.

4.2.3 Consider changes to school design, including building schools with multiple stories and locating schools in infill areas, and consider repurposing commercial or vacant big-box retail spaces into schools.

4.2.4 Continue to strengthen the relationship between the CCSD and local governments to achieve shared goals for effective learning environments and educational performance.

4.2.5 Identify potential funding sources that could be directed to building or retrofitting schools so that they can support a better learning environment.

4.2.6 Encourage the local business community to support education and schools programs to better connect opportunities for student career mapping, mentoring, and educational needs of employers.

4.2.7 Implement the RTC’s Regional Schools Multimodal Transportation Access Study to improve safety for children and promote a better overall environment near schools.

4.2.8 Collaborate with the Clark County School District, local governments and the RTC to address school siting requirements, including but not limited to, separation of uses near planned school sites and bus access.

4.2.9 Promote the need for schools to be located adjacent to public facilities and Pre-K, health, social and educational services that support healthy families.

4.2.10 Elevate the importance of school siting as a strategic education and economic development initiative with the building and development industry, business community, local chambers and other stakeholders.

4.2.11 Co-locate schools and other learning facilities and community resources to capitalize on community skill sets and knowledge.

Goal 5. Increase collaboration between the state government, local governments and the region’s higher education institutions to align economic development and education efforts.

Objective 5.1 Partner with higher education institutions to support economic development.

5.1.1 Pursue a stronger higher education system that includes a UNLV medical school, a tier 1 research institution, and Graduate Medical Education programming, (formal medical education either hospital sponsored or hospital-based training) following completion of an M.D. or D.O. degree.

5.1.2 Collaborate with local higher education institutions to develop local revitalization and improvement efforts.

5.1.3 Align complementary plans, special area plans and incentives with regional target sector industries, such as medical districts.

5.1.4 Consider public investment in a center for research and development, in partnership with area universities, hospitals, the LVGEA, and businesses that can be leveraged to promote investment and stimulate more collaboration.

Chapter Four Pt. 1