Carson seeks appeal for abandonment

Carson City will seek a second opinion from the Nevada State Supreme Court regarding the way Carson turns its streets into private hands.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Forsberg said Friday he would appeal the district court decision that Carson City can't charge for street abandonments within the original 320-acre town site of Carson City.

Forsberg said he thought the decision by Judge Mike Fondi was incorrect and he decided to appeal the decision after discussing the matter with city supervisors.

"Because of the potential consequences to the city of letting this stand, the city feels we have to appeal it," Forsberg said. "The decision said the city can no longer abandon any street or alley in the area and charge for it. This could have a significant future fiscal impact."

Forsberg said the decision doesn't set a statue of limitations allowing an unknown number of people to come forward asking for refunds.

Forsberg argues Carson City was granted its land from the federal government and therefore owns the street. The city can charge for street abandonments because of this reason, he said.

State law says if a street is dedicated to the city for free, the city can't charge when a request returns the street to private ownership.

"The question is: Were the streets in this townsite dedicated by property owners way back when?" Forsberg said. "We say no. The city always owned the land. It was given by the federal government and the city can charge for an abandonment. I think both Tom Hall (attorney for Carson City) and I believe strongly that the city has a legitimate argument."

Mayor Ray Mayasko said if the decision had not included the ruling that everyone who had ever paid for a street abandonment could ask for a refund, the city probably would have accepted the judges ruling.

"We'd like to make sure we can get a review of that particular issue," Masayko said. "It opens up a lot of contingencies. It's such a significant issue we don't want to prolong the deliberations on this, but we believe it is important to all stake holders to discuss the issues that opens up the door for reimbursements we thought were long past."

Fondi disagreed with the city on its abandonment process, ruling that the city can't charge for abandonments within the borders of the Carson City townsite patented in 1866 by District Judge Samuel Wright. The 320 acres were outlined by Minnesota Street on the west, Roop Street to the east, Fleischmann to the north and what would be Eleventh Street to the south.

In June supervisors asked for a review by a judge of the city's abandonment process after Clark Russell, as Carson City Entertainment, Inc., threatened to file a lawsuit against the city. Russell paid $125,000 in 1989 for a portion of Ninth Street. When the city did not require Dwight Millard and Hank Thomas of Millard Realty and Construction Co., to pay for the abandonment of a portion of Plaza Street, Russell raised the issue of fairness.

Forsberg said he now believes that Millard should have been charged for his portion of Plaza Street because the street was given to the city by the federal government and was not dedicated as city officials thought in 1997.

Forsberg said the case could be tied up at the state Supreme Court level for up to a year.


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