Comstock residents’ association, Storey Co. manager at odds on ruling
May 1, 2013
The Comstock Residents Association claims a legal victory over mining traffic on a state highway, but Storey County’s manager sees it differently and calls it a moot point.
The association, citing an April 24 ruling by District Judge James E. Wilson Jr., said the decision in their lawsuit concluded Storey County had authority to impose a no-use-of-the-highway condition in a special use permit regarding Comstock Mining Co. traffic on Highway 342.
“We’ve held all along that the prohibition of trucks on the highway was a legitimate use of the County Commissioners’ discretion, and that the county has the authority to regulate mine traffic through historic residential neighborhoods,” said Robin Cobbey, association chairperson.
The association said in a news release the ruling went against advice given the commissioners by Storey County Attorney Bill Maddox that they didn’t have authority to regulate highway traffic; only the Nevada Department of Transportation could.
Storey County Manager Pat Whitten said the county attorney would inform commissioners of the ruling and, at that time the commissioners would determine — likely on advice from Maddox — whether to appeal.
“My opinion is they won on one point and Judge Wilson found for the county on other points,” said Whitten. He added: “In our opinion it’s moot because the trucks are off the highway.” A previous agreement between the Bureau of Land Management and Comstock Mining allowed use of an alternate route for the mining company’s large load hauling purposes.
The court said there were three causes of action in the association’s lawsuit. The judge issued a declaratory judgment siding with the residents on county authority to impose a condition regarding trucks on the highway in the mining company special use permit.
On association allegations the Storey County manager amended condition No. 5 of the mining firm’s special use permit by letter and that Storey violated the law in amending that condition, the court ruled contrary to association arguments.
The court decided there was no factual or legal basis for the first charge, spurned an injunction request from the association in connection with the latter contention.