$1M package may settle Nugget street dispute
December 14, 2007
The city may settle a land dispute with the Carson Nugget for a $1 million package.
The Nugget filed a lawsuit in 2000 saying the city didn’t have the right to charge money for sections of Plaza Street it bought in 1974 and Spear Street it bought in 1980.
The board of supervisors will consider the agreement at its meeting Thursday. The casino also has to sign the deal.
The city would pay about $252,500 directly to the Nugget, about $631,000 toward a new Nugget complex or street improvements near the Nugget and about $143,900 to maintain a plaza on state property south of the Nugget.
This is the last of three cases Carson City has to settle over what is often called street abandonment. This is where someone acquires part of a street from the city. The land in these cases came from a federal government transfer of the original 320-acre town site, now part of downtown, in 1866.
The Nevada Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that the city could not charge for transfers of streets that were dedicated by the federal government for public use.
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The fight over the issue started in 1999 when the city tried to get Millard Realty to pay about $129,000 for parts of Eighth, Ninth and South Plaza streets that it had transferred to the business for free in 1996 where the Plaza Hotel was built.
The Carson Station, which had already paid the city for other sections of streets, and Millard Realty fought the city in the 2002 Nevada Supreme Court case.
The city settled with the Carson Station for $200,000, with another $100,000 going to improvements to the Boys & Girls Club. The casino had paid $125,000 for part of Ninth Street.
The city later settled with Doug Hone, who bought part of Valley Street for the City Center complex.
Street abandonment settlements can get expensive, said Supervisor Robin Williamson, not because of the initial payment, but because of interest that builds up on that payment over the years.
“I’ve got three-ring binders on this stuff,” she said.
But Clark Russell, owner of the Carson Station, helped set a precedent for settlements helpful to the city by designating part of the award for public improvements.
Bob Stewart, a former representative for the federal Bureau of Land Management, said there isn’t a clear paper trail of owners from the original town site and that’s where some of the confusion came in. At some point, though, the city at least acted as owner.
Other claims on street abandonment could come forward, but these three are biggest, said Supervisor Shelly Aldean. Also, there is a statute of limitations on claims.
The settlement will also help improve downtown, she said, with the thousands of dollars in improvements as well as direction from a downtown study the city and the Carson Nugget would each contribute $50,000 as part of the agreement.
Carson Nugget representatives could not be reached for comment.
• Contact reporter Dave Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.
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