Carson takes one last shot in dispute over abandoned streets | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson takes one last shot in dispute over abandoned streets

Geoff Dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau

Carson City is hoping the fourth time is a charm in the battle over whether it can charge property owners when it abandons streets and alleys.

Capital City Entertainment, which owns Carson Station, and developer Dwight Millard challenged that policy, saying they shouldn’t have to pay for property originally dedicated to the city without charge.

The district court agreed, ruling the city couldn’t sell the land because it never paid for the property in the first place. The court decided pieces of land adjacent to private property were “dedicated” to the city by adjacent owners and, therefore, the city is simply returning control of their property to them and can’t charge for it.

That decision was upheld by the Nevada Supreme Court in June and upheld again on rehearing by the high court.

The city filed July 29 for another chance to convince the Supreme court, this time asking for a hearing en banc — by the entire seven-member court — instead of a three-justice panel.

The argument prepared by Deputy District Attorney Mark Forsberg says the panel failed to consider that the document patenting the 320-acre town site and transferring it to the city and its residents doesn’t say the land used for streets was “dedicated” to the city. He argues the patent instead “sold the land in bulk” to the township trustee, Judge Samuel H. Wright.

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It quotes a Sept. 7, 1866, document deeding the land for a townsite as saying “payment has been made” for the 320 acres making up Carson City.

“Dedication cannot be implied or assumed when the land encompassing the streets and public places was sold and not given,” Forsberg argues. “The very essence of a dedication is that there is no compensation to the dedicator.”

“The townsite trustee and its successor holds title to the purchased remnants of the townsite, i.e., the streets, alleys and public places, in trust for the community,” he argued.

According to the motion for a hearing by the full court, that means the city has the right to sell them.