Washoe Rules on Private Property Stir More Controversy

By: Kara Tsoboi
By: Kara Tsoboi
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Washoe County has adopted new rules to help people determine which roads are public and which are private.
Many outdoor organizations are in support of the plan... while some property owners are incensed.
The owners of Ballardini are embroiled in yet another lawsuit over their property rights. Their lawyer says their lawsuit calls the new ordinance unconstitutional, and that the road into Ballardini Ranch is indeed private, although the county says differently.
For decades, Hunter Creek Canyon has been a popular recreation spot for hikers and mountain bikers.
But as the city's development expands, homes and roads begin to infringe on the access to these prime outdoor locations...calling into question new gates and fences blocking prior entrance point.
Commissioner Galloway, a proponent of the ordinance, says the new law outlines a clear process for addressing public disputes over road ownership.
Five or more people can now petition the county on the legitimacy of a road blockage...rather than take their complaint through an expensive court process.
Washoe County Commissioner Jim Galloway says County staff will research this issue. They'll then present those facts to the County Commissioners who will make its best determination without having to go to a court process.
Identifying the ownership of a road is not a clear cut process. The simplest way is to check whether it appears on a recorded map before the land was acquired by the new owner. The second option is to determine if the road has historical origins.
Commissioner Galloway wants to stress that the new ordinance in no way takes land away from private owners or permits the construction of new roads on private land. It only creates a process for mediation.


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