weather icon Clear

Beatty man wants to develop his land near airport, officials say no plans submitted

When Rupert Bragg-Smith purchased 360 acres next to the Beatty Airport in 2005, he had a vision for providing a space where car manufacturers from around the world could showcase their products.

Bragg-Smith, who calls himself an entrepreneur, has a long history of land ownership in Nye County. He purchased 295 acres from the BLM in Pahrump in 1997, where he built the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch.

After selling the Spring Mountain facility, Bragg-Smith purchased 360 acres of land located south of Airport Road that adjoins the eastern portion of the airfield. There he planned to construct a track, hangars, and homes.

“I purchased that 360 acres to provide a testing and what they call ‘a long-lead experience’ for manufacturers around the world. A long-lead means you can showcase new products,” Bragg-Smith said.

“What I wanted to do is to provide a ‘western experience’ for the automotive industry,” Bragg-Smith said.

Bragg-Smith also purchased a vacant store on Amargosa Road in Beatty, which included three parcels of land. He planned the building to be a roadhouse or a gathering place in support of the testing facility.

“I wanted this to be an extension of the track, so people who are at the track during the day could come here at night and we could have social functions here, we could have barbecues, sit at the fire, do whatever you want to,” he said.

As years have gone by, nothing has happened to Bragg-Smith’s land. He said county officials have expressed little interest in working with him to develop the land.

“You’d think that someone owns that amount of land and wants to do some business and help the county, you’d think that they would fall over backward to get to you, and not discourage you from doing business,” he said.

Nye County Planning Director Darrell Lacy said the county typically does not invest in someone’s private business or land.

“We have lots of county-owned land at the Beatty Airport,” Lacy said. “We would love to work with anyone who would like to develop in the area. The old brothel next to the highway is now a medical marijuana facility, we hope the recreational vote will lead to more investment and jobs in that industry.”

Nye County Commissioner Lorinda Wichman said she is not aware of any plans that have been brought to the county for approval on the acreage owned by Bragg-Smith.

“Rupert does call county staff and run ideas around but he has never gone through the steps to approve a plan that I am aware of,” Wichman said. “Just because he has an idea doesn’t mean staff can move forward. It is his private property. He has the same opportunities as all other developers in Nye County. He only has to provide the plans for review.”

Also, Bragg-Smith said he invested heavily in the former Napa store in the last 10 years, trying to create a structure reflective of the history of a bygone era.

“I have consistently developed the building with an eye toward serving my future clients, including a beautiful front porch, and provisions for an outdoor entertaining area,” he said in a letter to Wichman.

He argued that Beatty is “the most strategic town” between Las Vegas and Reno.

“Because of Death Valley and its proximity to Las Vegas, (Beatty) has accommodations, and it could have a lot more,” he said.

Recently, several businesses, such as helicopter companies and movie production companies have expressed interest in the Beatty Airport. County officials, however, said that the current taxiway and hangar configurations are inadequate to meet the requirements of the clients that have expressed interest in using the airport.

“If the county has businesses that are looking for land adjacent to the airfield, I am open to discussing. The land has three-phase power and city water,” he said.

As of now, Bragg-Smith said he isn’t sure what’s going to happen with his land that has been sitting without any use for over 10 years.

“If the county is receiving inquiries for business near the airport, perhaps it would be in everyone’s interest that we all work together for the common good,” he said. “I personally have many ideas for this (airport), and I would be very happy to work with the county.”

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariaskolova77

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
IN SEASON: Okra, a southern favorite for your western garden

Okra may be considered a staple crop in the American South, but it also grows very well in our hot dry climate. As a member of the mallow family, it puts on a stunning display of delicate yellow flowers.

Special legislative session scheduled to open Friday

Gov. Steve Sisolak on Thursday issued the formal proclamation to call the Nevada Legislature into a special session beginning 9 a.m. Friday, July 31 to address significant policy issues that cannot wait until the regularly scheduled legislative session. This will be the 32nd special session in Nevada’s history.

Report chronicles massive decline in fish populations

With hydroelectric power, overfishing, climate change and pollution on the rise, monitored populations of migratory freshwater fish species have plummeted by 76% on average since 1970, according to the first comprehensive global report on the status of freshwater migratory fish issued this week by the World Fish Migration Foundation and Zoological Society of London.

AngloGold Ashanti gains exploration project permit

The administrator of the Division of Environmental Protection has decided to issue a reclamation permit for an exploration project to AngloGold Ashanti North America.

Immunizations remain required part of back-to-school routines

As parents continue to navigate what back to school looks like this year, one aspect of the ritual that hasn’t changed is making sure kids are up to date on their vaccines. Whether families choose in-person, hybrid or distance learning models for the fall 2020 school session, Nevada law requires immunizations for child care, school and university entry, with the exception of religious exemptions or a medical condition.

DMV will offer renewals online, by mail this fall

Nevada motorists who have been unable to make an appointment at DMV offices before their expiration date will benefit from two new initiatives announced Tuesday by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Nye County Civic Center proposal presented

In 2016, when Valley Electric Association was aiming to sell a 200-kilovolt transmission line and needed a vote of approval by its members in order to do so, one of the selling points for that sale was the promise that if it went through, VEA would donate $5 million toward the construction of a new community center. It may have taken nearly three years after the transmission sale was executed but VEA did finally make good on that promise, offering the $5 million donation to Nye County, with the Nye County Commission voting to accept it in September 2019.

NCSD superintendent lays out school reopening plans

Earlier this month, the Nye County School District Board of Trustees approved the district’s COVID-19 re-entry plan, which laid out three models for returning students and staff to school safely.

Pahrump elementary schools to observe hybrid education model

With less than a month left before youth across Nye County are scheduled to begin the new school year, the Nye County School District has announced a change in its school re-entry plans, switching Pahrump area K-5 schools from the originally selected 100% in-person education model to the hybrid model that requires students to conduct their learning online three days out of the five-day school week.