Commissioners rip into Carson City for BLM auction
The public land auction, originally planned for Tuesday, is officially off.
On Friday, the Bureau of Land Management indefinitely postponed the sale of 146 acres in north Douglas County in response to a protest by Carson City.
The announcement comes on the heels of a boisterous outcry by the Douglas County Commission at its regular meeting Thursday.
BLM postponed the auction because of a petition and protest from Carson City, which claims the impacts to the state’s capital were not fully researched and that sales-tax revenue could be reduced.
Nevada State BLM Director Bob Abbey is reviewing the protest and is expected to rule in a few weeks.
At the meeting, Douglas County commissioners came out firing words at Carson City’s refusal to drop a protest against the land sale.
Carson City officials were not at the meeting.
County Manager Dan Holler said, while the conversation with Carson City officials was cordial, it ended in complete disagreement.
The sale would have allowed 146 acres of commercial development along Highway 395, east of the new Wal-Mart Supercenter.
Carson City, is already hurting from losses of retail outlets to Douglas County. Holler said he hopes, the city would drop its appeal and bring it to the state Legislature, allowing the sale to go forward.
The news sparked strong criticism from Douglas commissioners.
“I’m dismayed to say the least,” said Commissioner Jacques Etchegoyhen. “To be honest, this (protest) is a cheap shot — nothing more, nothing less.”
Other words used to describe Carson’s actions to delay the land auction included “this is a war,” “audacious arrogance,” “shameful” and “idiocy.”
“This is the worst example of shameful politics,” said Commissioner Bernie Curtis. “This is all about money.”
Commissioners said they didn’t know what else to do, since the BLM went above and beyond what they needed to do for the sale of the land, a process that began in 1998. It included a $33,000 fiscal analysis that Douglas County paid for.
“What (Carson) wants, we can’t get there,” Etchegoyhen said. “What can we talk about next? Those discussions are dead.”
After listening to options, commissioners directed county staff to allow Carson’s protest to run its course and then intervene in any way possible to hurry the appeal process after a decision is handed down by Abbey.
By filing a protest, Carson may have delayed sale of the site for up to two years. Commissioners are hoping that by contacting the Secretary of the Interior, any appeals process of the decision can be quickly resolved.
Caught in the middle of the showdown for prime commercial development is a small group of homeowners who own property adjacent to the BLM land.
Debra Mehringer owns just over an acre of land off Topsy Lane and came to Thursday’s meeting to be the eyes and ears for her neighbors. She and other residents are awaiting the sale of the land so they can sell their land for the same purpose.
She said she is frustrated by Carson’s protest that will stall the transaction.
“This last-ditch effort by Carson City is pretty much a feud between counties,” Mehringer said. “We want to get on with all of this. We’re the little island being affected by this.”
Carson City officials said earlier this week they did not intend to go to the meeting. Carson Mayor Ray Masayko said the Thursday meeting was not the time or place for the discussion.
n Regina Purcell can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org