By Mark Waite
John Erbe, a resident in Richland Estates, said the subdivision with 44 single-family homes was intended to be the future of Pahrump back in 2005, with sanitary sewer and water lines that eliminated the need for septic systems and wells.
But Erbe said roads are deteriorated and appealed to county commissioners Tuesday to accept them for maintenance.
“If that fails, that subdivision or any subdivision similar to it, Pahrump fails,” he said.
Erbe said roads in Comstock Park, a subdivision with 678 lots that have been there since 1980, were designated county roads and maintained.
“We find it unthinkable that our recently installed roads, newer than Comstock Park Road, do not come under some jurisdiction responsible for future maintenance,” Erbe said. “It appears that contractors may have taken irresponsible action at the time of the building boom. As I see it there should have been permits required. There should have been surety bonds provided by contractors. What I ask commissioners, where were town inspectors during these boom times?”
Commissioner Joni Eastley said the roads weren’t taken into the county maintained inventory because they weren’t built to standards.
Nye County Public Works Director Dave Fanning said he didn’t give any verbal direction the roads weren’t built correctly. He said the county maintains Harris Farm Road where minor streets feed into the subdivision.
Fanning said roads in the subdivision weren’t offered for dedication by the builder.
“They never entered into an agreement with the county to develop them, so without that agreement you have nothing to enforce. So there’s nothing to go forward with to follow up and approve for a county maintained road,” Fanning said.
Nye County Planner Steve Osborne said normally a subdivision map would be recorded.
“Why would we OK a subdivision map and not have an agreement on the roads?” Commissioner Gary Hollis asked. “We’re going to have to bite the bullet and make this right. These people were sold a bill of goods as far as I’m concerned. They were told this was a perfectly good subdivision.”
Nye County District Attorney Brian Kunzi said a subdivision map was recorded for the property, there was an offer of dedication of the roads as a public right-of-way, which just means the public has a right to use the roads and utilities have easements.
“That does not mean the county has to maintain them,” he said.
Kunzi said the county can accept the roads but will be responsible for maintaining the roads and bringing them up to code.
Eastley said commissioners are supportive of the Richland Estates residents, but also have laws on the books to protect taxpayers.
“This is not a simple maintenance issue. I want to make sure everybody understands that. I would like nothing more than to have all the money available to fix this problem in Richland Estates. This is an area of subsidence and poor soils. I don’t know if anything can be done, short of tearing up all those roads and hauling the materials necessary and doing the compaction necessary and then rebuilding them,” Eastley said.
Fanning said the builder hired Nevada GeoTech to do a soils report.
“Do we actually need to get restrictions of builders? I think it would be a good thing to bring forward,” he said.
Eastley wanted Kunzi to look into the subdivision agreement. Commissioner Dan Schinhofen wanted to see the costs involved.
Hollis said, “I’ve been on this commission for eight years. This is about the third time Richland Estates has come up, major problems and somewhere down the line we’re going to have to do something to make this right. These citizens have been coming to us and coming to us and we keep saying we’re going to get back with you.”