Resident wants NDOT to clean up properties |

Resident wants NDOT to clean up properties

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer
Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal This house is one of two houses that is owned by The Nevada Department of Transportation on Ruby Lane and has caused concerns from residents about the high fire dangers of the properties.

A longtime resident on Ruby Lane is eyeing properties up the block.

He doesn’t want to buy them; he just would like the responsible party to clean them up, to make them safer and more attractive.

“They’re owned by NDOT,” said Jim Hanna, who has lived on the street for 36 years. “They bought them for the freeway.”

The two residences are on 1.5 acre lots. Only one is occupied. Both have old shake roofs and an overabundance of dry growth, particularly sage brush. The cottonwood and elm trees are in need of pruning, the dry leaves and branches need to be removed.

“If someone drops a cigarette – poof!” he said. “It’s dangerous. They need to be cleaned up.”

The roofing material is especially flammable because it’s made from wood, said JoAnne Skelly, Carson City/Storey County Extension educator for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

Another plant, sage brush, easily catches fire, even when the weather hasn’t been as dry as this year. Other plants often used with sage brush for landscaping, rabbit brush and bitter brush, are flammable, too, Skelly said.

And the trees, if not properly maintained, likely have dry leaves and branches not readily visible.

The Nevada Department of Transportation indeed owns the two properties, said Scott Magruder, an NDOT spokesman.

“Our ultimate goal is to get out of the business of being landlords,” Magruder said.

It’s a vocation they’ve been involved in around Carson City more frequently since the freeway project was started. They currently rent out about a dozen properties near the freeway route.

While some locations were cleared for the freeway path or as rights-of-way, other properties are being kept until the project is completed, including the two on Ruby Lane.

The rental agreement for the occupied property states that the responsibility for keeping up the landscaping is the renter’s. This person has been notified. The house next door hasn’t been occupied for at least a year, however, Magruder said.

While the uncontrolled plant growth is dangerous and is the immediate concern, Hanna said he hopes NDOT might improve – or at least encourage – improvements of these properties so they appear comparable to the privately owned places surrounding them.

“NDOT did a good job with the freeway,” Hanna said. “My only complaint is with the rentals because they’ve been going downhill for years.”

The freeway is expected to be completed by 2011. It now extends from Arrowhead Drive to Highway 50 east and the rest of the construction work will tie to Highway 395 at the base of Spooner Summit.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.

For your information

If you see property that appears to be in danger of catching fire, particularly vegetative fuels, contact the Carson City Fire Department at 887-2210. Instances that appear to be nuisances, however, should be reported to code enforcement, 887-2190.

Property owners who have dry vegetation to dispose of can obtain large receptacles as part of the city’s fuels reduction program, which focuses on residents in wildland-urban interface areas. Call 887-2210, ext. 1001 for details.

Call 911 if there is imminent danger.