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County considering legal action on Amargosa property

Nye County officials are moving forward with abatement of the Amargosa nuisance that has created a controversy in the small farming community.

Steven Settlemyer, the owner of the property located at 2712 E. Cook Road in Amargosa Valley, was issued an abatement mandate in March after waste buildup on his pig farm was considered a nuisance. Officials said since then, the number of piles has grown to four.

“I think we need to move forward as far as actually going after these guys because we’ve asked them to take that material, put it through the compactor, (and) get it removed from the property,” Nye County Commissioner Frank Carbone said. “They continue to move material on that property and continually moving grease-type materials on that property, even though we told them to stop.”

Nye County District Attorney Angela Bello said the next step would be to consider what, if any, legal action might be appropriate to address the ongoing issue. This will include meeting with Planning Department Director Darrell Lacy to discuss the owner’s lack of a solid waste permit and whether the material is being transported to the property without complying with the requirements of proper state, federal, county permits and licenses.

While the cost of the abatement was estimated at more than $50,000, officials said they don’t have a contractor for the job yet. They also said they would recoup losses from the abatement through a lien on the property.

“We don’t have a firm quote from anyone,” said Nye County Manager Pam Webster.

When reached by phone, Settlemyer said he wasn’t aware of actions by the Nye County Board of Commissioners.

“We have never heard the word from them about what they are going to do,” he said.

Settlemyer called the proposed action a “land grab” and said the waste was dumped on the property by his tenant.

“They want me to clean up the mess, but I didn’t make a mess,” he said.

“When you rent something to somebody, you’re kind of stuck with what they do,” he added.

According to a complaint filed in March, an unknown “white substance,” which was believed to be milk or milk substances, was being pumped onto green waste or compost piles.

Settlemyer, however, claimed that there has been only green waste on his property.

Lacy said the owner of the property still has an obligation to clean up the nuisance.

“We will only step in if the landowner does not clean it up,” he said.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. Follow @dariasokolova77 on Twitter.

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