Carson City’s offer to buy BLM land not likely to be accepted | RecordCourier.com

Carson City’s offer to buy BLM land not likely to be accepted

by Regina Purcell, Staff Writer

Carson City last week offered to buy 146 acres of North Douglas County land being offered for auction, but Bureau of Land Management officials said it is not likely to happen.

The capital city urged the BLM to “reconsider its ability to make the … property available … for a direct purchase at the minimum sale price.”

That minimum bid is set for $6.5 million, but BLM spokesperson Jo Simpson said the BLM will not be pursuing the sale to the city.

“BLM lands belong to the American people and we need to get the highest return,” she said.

Douglas County Commission Chairman Don Miner said the Carson City’s latest request shows “its paranoia about its economic future.”

“I think we will see in the coming weeks the true intentions of Carson City are not historic or environmental,” he said. “They would like to plan the land use of adjoining jurisdictions.

“While we would value their input, there is no way Douglas County is going to allow someone else to plan its land use.”

On Dec. 6, the BLM indefinitely postponed the sale of the 146 acres in response to a protest by Carson City.

There are 352 acres being auctioned, but Mark Struble of the BLM said 200 acres are earmarked for residential and recreation use only.

The 146 acres, originally scheduled to be auctioned Dec. 10, are zoned commercial, and located across Highway 395 from the Wal-Mart SuperCenter.

BLM staff at the Carson City field office are reviewing the city’s petition and protest. They will determine the validity of Carson City’s claims that adverse impacts were not fully researched and that sales-tax revenue could be reduced from loss of potential revenue if the auction is allowed to go forward.

Simpson said after the Carson City BLM completes its analysis, the petition and protest goes to Nevada State BLM Director Bob Abbey.

Douglas County Manager Dan Holler said there is a 60-day waiting period for those reviews, but the Douglas County Commission may decide at its Dec. 19 meeting to ask the Secretary of the Interior to intervene.

At the last board meeting, commissioners were angry at Carson City’s stall tactics.

Holler said if commissioners agree to make the request to the Interior Department, the ruling on the petition and protest could come sooner than the 60 days expected.

Miner expects commissioners to agree with staff recommendation.

“Absolutely,” he said. “There is no question if Carson City wasn’t to set this unprecedented interruption” of postponing the land sale.

Holler said he is not surprised the BLM will not consider Carson City’s latest request.

If they accept the minimum bid, he said, “they are not getting the highest and best value.”

n Regina Purcell can be e-mailed at rpurcell@recordcourier.com