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Boy Scouts camp at Nevada’s Potosi Mountain could end up in hands of developers

Updated August 15, 2019 - 4:58 pm

A piece of property that stretches across some 1,150 acres in the higher elevations between Las Vegas and Pahrump has been home to the Boy Scouts of America Las Vegas Area Council’s camp and has been enjoyed by many area youths for more than six decades.

But, with a recent decision by the council, the camp at Mount Potosi, known as the Spencer W. Kimball Scout Reservation, which sits near the small community of Mountain Springs, could end up in the hands of a developer. The property is being marketed with a purchase price of $90 million as a potential residential development that could include single-family homes, townhouses and other types of residential units.

“The decision to sell the Kimball Scout Reservation was not made lightly by our local council board of directors, and was based on our ongoing efforts to manage our local Scouting resources wisely,” said Mike Marchese, Scout Executive/CEO, Las Vegas Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, in an email. “This decision was deliberate by the council, and was made as part of the re-evaluation of our property portfolio, allocation of financial resources, and delivery of the Scouting program to best meet the community’s needs.”

Newmark Knight Frank (NKF), a commercial brokerage, is providing the marketing and representation services for the council. Newmark listed the property for $90 million or just over $78,000 an acre.

That’s a far divide between the price per acre of land in the Las Vegas Valley.

According to Brian Gordon, principal at Applied Analysis in Las Vegas, the average price per acre for urban land in the Las Vegas Valley for the past 12 months was roughly $400,000, excluding resort properties.

“This includes all property types (residential and nonresidential),” Gordon said in an email on Wednesday, Aug. 14.

According to Newmark, the current zoning is Rural Open Land (R-U). The planned land use is Major Development Project (MDP).

What’s planned

According to the release from Newmark, the site could eventually house 1,250 units with everything from single-family homes on three-acre estate lots and attached townhomes and stacked-flat condos.

“The Mount Potosi Canyon Road land listing offers an extraordinary opportunity for developers, as the potential acquisition of 1,150 acres of contiguous land in one transaction has not existed in Las Vegas for many years,” said Curt Allsop, Newmark Knight Frank executive managing director, in a news release from Newmark. Allsop is leading the team working on the camp’s sale.

Allsop continued: “Located just outside of Las Vegas in a striking natural environment offering unequaled views, the site’s remarkable attributes, combined with the traditional price points of a master-planned community will allow for luxury living without the luxury price tag.”

In the release, Newmark talked about how the recent project to expand Highway 160 is advantageous to the future development in Potosi Mountain.

“With the ongoing widening of nearby State Route 160, the site is approximately 12 minutes from the nearest grocery store…,” the release stated.

Newmark’s “consulting services will include the engagement of the best professionals in the industry to secure the most desirable and appropriate development plans for the Potosi Mountain land parcel,” the release stated.

Newmark has contracted with a Las Vegas-area private helicopter company to provide aerial tours of the property to prospective buyers, according to the brokerage’s release.

The Mount Potosi site could be a well-sought-after property by home buyers. “The metro’s strong fundamentals and the population influx from neighboring states has increased demand for communities that offer both privacy and exclusivity, which the Potosi Mountain site provides,” Allsop said.

In an email from a spokeswoman at Newmark, the commercial brokerage said it couldn’t disclose if there are any potential buyers or interested parties.

According to a July 13, 2007 report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the U.S. Forest Service had an interest in buying the land from the Boy Scouts when it was put on the market over 10 years ago. At that time, the council had the price set at $100 million, according to the Review-Journal story.

“The Forest Service has no plans to acquire additional lands on the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area at this time,” Naaman Horn, public affairs specialist for the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, said in an email. “We can not speak to how the land might be developed if it were sold.”

The Boy Scouts area council obtained the land from the federal government under a land grant arrangement, according to information in the Review-Journal report.

In that report, Philip Bevins, Scout executive for the Las Vegas Area Council at that time, said, “A land grant allowed the local Scout group to occupy the land in 1958 under a 25-year recreational-use arrangement that expired in 1983, conveying the land to the Scouts as owners.”

“At the time, the land was administered by the Bureau of Land Management,” the report in the Review-Journal stated.

“One of four ‘patents’ that spelled out the deal for a traditional nominal fee, typically $1, from the Boy Scouts of America’s Boulder Dam Area Council, as it was called then, was signed by Rose M. Beall, chief of the BLM’s Patents Section, on Oct. 6, 1958,” the Review-Journal story stated.

“Nearly a year after the arrangement was forged, the BLM changed its policy, requiring that land revert to public ownership in cases where it’s not being used as intended,” the report continued.

“But the Scouts’ deal with a ‘no reversion’ clause was already in effect and remained in place through 1983, allowing them to take possession of the land,” the report stated.

Competition

The camp, which sits at an elevation of 5,800 feet, near Potosi Pass, has been up against a lot of competition, according to the Las Vegas Area Council.

“It was hard for our camp with no waterfront and more arid temperatures to compete with other Boy Scout Camps in surrounding states (California, Arizona, and Utah in particular) with oceanfront, more alpine, and/or water sports capabilities,” Marchese said in the email. “Our youth members will continue to enjoy camping activities and learn the principles of conservation at the camp properties of those neighboring local councils where a majority of our youth were already attending summer camp.”

This is a developing story. Check pvtimes.com for updates

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com on Twitter @MeehanLv

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