Future of old road debated; officials propose assessment district
Appeal Staff Writer
Property owners along Old Clear Creek Road are being asked whether they would like Carson City and Douglas County to take over maintenance of their private throughway.
City officials are proposing to create an assessment district to finance improvements to a three-mile stretch beginning about a mile west of Highway 395 and ending near the former Clear Creek Youth Camp. The city met with some of the owners Monday to find out what they wanted.
The city has been asked by some of the residents there to take over maintenance of the crumbling road but won’t until it’s repaved, re-striped and drainage improved, according to the city.
Total cost to the owners to create an assessment district would be $2.7 million.
“I’m not really impressed with your proposal,” said Dan Wheeler, one of the residents.
Smaller-property owners would pay $18,000 to $20,000 each for their share and pay it over 10 or 20 years. Cost would be higher for those who own more land. There are 32 property owners along Carson City portions and up to 20 in the Douglas County sections.
The road improvements would cost $1.7 million. The remaining $1 million would pay for establishing the assessment district and other costs related to fixing the road, its design and to sell a bond that would pay for the work up front.
It would first require a straw vote. If owners representing a 51 percent share of the area’s assessed value approved it, it would be presented to the Board of Supervisors for a vote. Public hearings and the opportunity for protests would be part of the process, said Larry Warner, the city’s development services director.
A large amount of the $1 million would be needed to hire professionals to do such things as create the bond, appraise the road and create a design, he said.
“It’s an expensive proposition,” Warner said. “The key is to find out if there’s any interest.”
And interest, so far, hasn’t been keen, he said.
Old Clear Creek used to be Highway 50 until the state opened the current highway and turned over the old route to property owners.
It’s “taxation without representation,” said Michael Arnold, another resident.
There are other things the property owners could do about the road, Werner said.
They could create a homeowners association or some other group on their own to fix the road – if they want the city to take over maintenance.
Another option would be for the residents to close off the road. This might be possible once a new interchange is completed that would link a large housing development in north Douglas County to Highway 50, Werner said.
The housing development would add 366 homes, a golf course and clubhouse to Clear Creek Canyon. This access was required before other construction could commence. NDOT expects the new interchange to be complete in June or July.
Though Old Clear Creek is a private road, it’s used by outsiders for hiking, bicycling and sightseeing. The former youth camp may end up demolished because the buildings are too old for renovations to be cost-effective, said Cindy Edwards, head of the state’s buildings and grounds division.
Property owner Bob Fredlund took out a business license from the city to operate a toll road on Old Clear Creek. He hasn’t said why he’s interested in doing this, but has suggested the property owners form a group and decide what to do about the road.
“People are hesitant,” he said about the city’s assessment proposal. “They want to know what they’ll be getting for their money.”
Turning it into a toll road won’t be possible unless state legislators approve SB392 during this session to allow these operations.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.