The need for a new entrance to Mark Twain Park in Lyon County led the county to build a road, complete with fence and gate, on private property without a formal agreement.
County Engineer Dick Faber said he thought the county had a verbal agreement with owner Dwight Millard Sr. for the road easement, which was on a tentative map.
"We were in negotiations with the property owner," he said. "The contractor was supposed to stop at the property line, but went ahead and put it in."
The road was put in at the north end of the park, east of the substation.
Faber said Millard Sr. provided the tentative easement but in 2004 sold the property to his son, Dwight Millard Jr. and two partners, Troy Scott and Chris Peterson, who wanted to develop the property.
"We were told Dick Faber was going to look at going through our property, and (Commissioner) Bob Milz said there was an agreement," Peterson said. "But then we found out there is no easement recorded."
Peterson said Millard Sr. didn't recall an easement agreement.
"Even if there was a verbal agreement, it was not with us," he said. "There was never any verbal agreement with us."
Peterson said he and his partners want to be paid for the easement.
"They proposed a payment of $50,000 to us and it was never followed up on," he said.
He said if the county won't settle, he will ask that they return the ground to its previous condition.
Peterson said the three had planned a subdivision of six houses, had the tentative map approved, but didn't have water rights. Then the market dropped and they put their project on hold
"This has been ongoing for more than a year," he said. "It wouldn't have been a bad deal if we had worked it out in the beginning. But when you go out there and there's already a road cut through your property..."
He said they did include the road on their tentative map, but didn't have a signed agreement and didn't get paid.
Their tentative map has since expired, and Peterson said he thought Faber would get them an extension. Extensions of tentative maps must be approved by the commissioners, but Peterson said he was unaware of that.
The county commissioners had asked Sierra Pacific Power Co., which wanted to expand its substation adjacent to the park, to move the substation to the south or east onto county property and put in a road.
Moving the substation might have resolved the road issue, but the company has filed a request for a special use permit to rebuild the station on its own property. That issue will be heard Thursday at the commission meeting.
Milz said Millard Sr. had included the easement on his tentative map, where Milz added the condition of the road easement. But he said Millard Sr. never followed through, and that as far as he knew, there was no road, only a gate at the park where the road was supposed to go.
"He never completed that project and then sold it to Peterson and his son," Milz said. "So we did everything that we were supposed to do, assuming he would carry thorough with his tentative map. So we put a gate in where that easement was going to be. So that's where it's at today."
He said Peterson called him and asked for $50 for an easement.
"He's trying to make some money, and that's the issue," he said.
Milz added that county officials have worked with Sierra Pacific for an easement and will consider paying Peterson off working with the utility.
"It's up to the full board to decide which alternative is appropriate," he said. "What happens with Sierra Pacific will determine what will happen with that potential easement."
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-7351.
If you go
WHAT: Lyon County Commission Meeting
WHEN: 9 a.m. Thursday
WHERE: Lyon County Administrative Complex, 27 South Main St., Yerington