City can appeal street decision to full Supreme Court
July 21, 2002
Carson City officials have until the end of the week to decide whether to exhaust their final appeal to the full Nevada Supreme Court regarding the city’s on-going battle over street abandonments.
A panel of three judges reaffirmed Wednesday the court’s September 2001 decision that Carson City could not charge for streets abandoned in the original 320-acre townsite.
It’s a decision that if left standing, could cost the city “a pretty significant amount of money,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Forsberg, as those who’ve paid for abandonments ask for their money back.
Forsberg said city supervisors must decide if they want to to make another attempt to convince supreme court justices the city was granted its original township from the federal government. Therefore, the city owns the streets and can charge to abandon them.
However, the three justices — Bob Rose, Deborah Agosti and Miriam Shearing — argued in their 2001 decision there is no proof the city owns the property. The justices argued individual property owners gave the city its streets in the 1860s. In their reconsideration, the justices took an opposite stance, saying the federal government dedicated the streets to the city, and therefore, the city cannot profit from them.
Forsberg continues to disagree with the justice’s interpretation of the issue, saying not charging for the downtown property would create a “windfall” for those who benefit from abandonment.
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Carson Station and Pi-on Plaza president Clark Russell, who has a lawsuit pending over repayment of a 1989 abandonment, said Friday he is pleased with the court’s decision.
“It’s what we’ve been saying all along,” Russell said. “We’ve been under this thing now for a long time. We have a lot of evidence, and they continue to pursue. They lost, they asked for a reconsideration. What else are they going to do?”
Because of Carson City’s small downtown blocks, developers often ask that rarely used streets be abandoned and the land included in their development plans. In 1999, Carson supervisors asked for a judicial review of the city’s abandonment process after receiving threats of a lawsuit against the city on the abandonment issue. 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.