Proposal to fund Old Clear Creek Road repair made
A bill to divvy up the proceeds from the sale of the former Clear Creek Youth Camp was heard by the Assembly Government Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
In 2015, the Nevada Legislature passed Assembly Bill 15, which set aside money from the future sale of the 100-acre state-owned property to rehabilitate and preserve the Stewart Indian School on Snyder Avenue.
Assembly Bill 285 would amend that and split the proceeds, giving half to the State Highway Fund for the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) to repair Old Clear Creek Road, the long-neglected road with disputed ownership that leads to the old camp site.
“This bill is not designed to hurt any effort at the school,” said Janette Bloom, a homeowner on Old Clear Creek Road, who introduced the bill to the committee and spoke again after others had spoken in support and opposition to it. “The thought is it would raise additional money.”
The former youth camp is located in Carson City, which has denied requests to rezone the property for residential use because Old Clear Creek Road is in such disrepair, jeopardizing delivery of fire and other emergency services to new development there.
Nick Marano, Carson City manager, said after the meeting the Carson City Board of Supervisors would reconsider rezoning the property if Old Clear Creek was fixed.
If the board approved, the property, which can only be sold for open space at this point, would become more valuable.
According to Morgan Hultz, a legislative intern at the Assembly, the property would be worth three times its current value if the road was repaired and sold as residential lots.
Home sites at nearby Clear Creek Tahoe, for example, which range from half an acre to five acres, start at $350,000, according to its web site.
Six people spoke in opposition to AB 285, including five Native Americans who either had relatives who were at Stewart Indian School or were there themselves.
“I am an alumni. I was there from 1959 and graduated in 1965. I have many good memories from there. I feel something has been decided, but sometimes we have to fight harder for our rights,” said Aletha Tom. “I think this should be awarded to the school for upgrades.”
Terri McBride, an archeologist who volunteers at the school site, also opposed the bill.
“I understand that the road has been an issue for decades,” she said. “But this looks like a private property group grabbing state money to improve their property values.”
Both Carson City and Douglas County support the bill and would reportedly agree to maintain the road if NDOT repairs it.
The road has a long and complicated history. For many years, it was a state highway, then in 1957 NDOT abandoned it and its ownership has been in dispute ever since.
As a result, parts of the road aren’t maintained and homeowners on it do their own snow plowing.
The road crosses Carson City, Douglas County, U.S. Forest Service land as well as land owned by the Washoe Tribe.
Until recently it had only a few dozen residences on it and was mostly used to transport children to the camp, which is why the bill’s advocates say the state should contribute to the road’s repair.
“The youth camp for 40 years was the primary user of the road,” said Bloom. “Fifteen thousand kids a year traveled there.”
The road hasn’t been repaved since it was first built in the 1930s, she said.
Starting a decade ago, the road started to get more traffic with the addition of the Clear Creek Tahoe golf course and plans to build hundreds of homes there, which have yet to be built.
As part of the development deal, the golf club built a road, Golf Club Drive, that connects Old Clear Creek Road to Highway 50 West.
As a result, people use Old Clear Creek Road now to either get to the golf course or as a shortcut from Lake Tahoe to Costco and other shopping destinations in south Carson City.
AB 285 is sponsored by Assemblyman Al Kramer, R-Carson City, at the request of the road’s homeowners.
Kramer also owns property on Old Clear Creek Road and said he would abstain from discussion and voting on the legislation since he stands to benefit from it.