Washoe County commissioners are asking for a legal opinion on whether the county can rezone a parcel of land before it is sold to the Mount Rose Ski Resort.
Rezoning the property would net the county a higher price, officials said.
The ski resort currently leases 114 acres of county land. Owners want to build a new lodge and expand its operations, and say it would easier for them to obtain financing if they own the property.
Washoe County condemned the land in the 1950s from the Redfield trust for a park, but it was never built.
The county then leased the land to the ski resort.
Under state law, the county must offer the land back to the Redfield trust at its appraised value.
County officials said they expect the Redfield trust would then resell the property to the ski resort. If the county doesn't rezone it, officials said the trust probably would before selling it to the ski resort.
"Then we could be accused of giving the land away in a sweetheart deal,"Commission Jim Galloway said during Tuesday's commission meeting.
But Commissioner Chairman David Humke said he favors leaving the zoning as is and not raising the cost to Redfield.
"I don't think the county should enrich itself," he said. "We took it from a private party through eminent domain."