Pinenut community moves forward | RecordCourier.com

Pinenut community moves forward

Late summer could bring resolution of a 2015 lawsuit challenging ownership of homes in Pine View Estates, which could mean finally fixing the community's longstanding sewer issues.

About 30 residents gathered on Saturday to hear an update on the lawsuit and sewer plans from Homeowners Association President Doug Stimson.

"I hate dealing with time frames," he said. "I've been giving time frames for the last four years. The time frame should be the end of July beginning of August, by that point in time BIA will have everything done."

The 240-unit subdivision sits on 62 acres in the Pine Nut Mountains south of Gardnerville and was built on Washoe Tribal allotment land in 1997.

The original allotment owner, Mark Kizer, sued in February 2015 claiming that the agreement that established the community violated federal law.

Stimson told residents that settlement of the lawsuit hinges on a list of items being completed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

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Once that's done, the settlement can go forward and both the residents and the homeowners association will have deeds to the property.

Those deeds are necessary before the community can deal with its sewage issues.

The plant installed started failing eight years ago. Because Pine View Estates is on federal land, it is under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency, which started sending out notices of violation in 2011.

Stimson told residents that the community has access to funding help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but the department wants to ensure they get the best deal.

He said the association board, the USDA and Douglas County are meeting this week to work out what needs to be done.

The options are to either replace the sewer plant at Pine View Estates or to connect to the Minden-Gardnerville Sanitation District line at the Wa-She-Shu casino.

Originally, connecting to the plant seemed like the better deal, but Stimson said cost estimates have increased to the point where obtaining another sewer plant might be more economical.

Just the hook-up fees for the 219 homes would run $400,000, and that doesn't count the cost of laying roughly 7.5 miles of sewer pipeline. Stimson said he hoped that if the community decided to connect, that it could use the right-of-way along Highway 395.

On the other hand, Stimson said the board found a like-new sewer plant for sale in Fallon that would have capacity to handle the community's demand.

"It was installed and used for six months before they took it out of service," he said.

The association's engineer Resource Concepts Inc., examined the plant and said it's in excellent shape.

Complicating installing a new plant is a state requirement it be located 984.3 feet from any home or building.

The association has a 10-acre parcel, but it is at best 600 feet wide, Stimson said.

He said they are seeking county support for waiving the requirement in the hopes that would sway the state.

He said the USDA is still supporting the community, but that it appears they won't know how much either option will cost until after the fiscal year ends.

That means a slight increase in the federal loan's interest rate, which Stimson characterized as being quite low in the first place.

"At this point it's moving forward but at a snail's pace," he said. "They're as frustrated with this thing as we are."