Incline Lake owners take stock of appraisal, look toward future |

Incline Lake owners take stock of appraisal, look toward future

Emma Garrard / North Lake Tahoe Bonanza / Boats line the shore of Incline Lake last summer.

As the dust settles from news last week that shareholders of the Incline Lake Corp. were less than pleased with a preliminary appraisal from the U.S. Forest Service, news has now surfaced that the project is indeed going forward.

“We are staying on track with the forest service acquisition proposal we’ve worked on for two years,” said Norm Nash, shareholder spokesman. “We have a tremendous amount of time and energy invested in this project. It’s a very complex piece of property.

“Basically, the Forest Service has valuated all of its titlements. The appraisal didn’t reflect where we perceived where we or the general public thought the value should be. The appraisal, the forest service methodology is different from ours, but it is not an uncommon hurdle and we will get through it.”

Forest Service officials thus far are standing by their appraisal processes.

“The appraisal included all the detailed information and market evidence provided by the sellers that determine the value of the property,” said Forest Service spokesman Rex Norman. “The information provided by the sellers was very comprehensive and detailed.”

“There was nothing fundamentally different with this appraisal than with those done elsewhere in the private sector – the same process, analysis and standards are followed.”

Nash, however, pointed out that the process for the 777-acre property’s sale started in 2004.

“Properties that sold then including Ponderosa were sold for their full value,” Nash said. “There is a disconnect between initial value (of Incline Lake) and what the forest service came through with.”

The mere mention of the word “Ponderosa” perhaps sends shivers down the spines of Forest Service officials, as well as principals from Terra Firma, the Minden-based consultants who tried to link the Ponderosa owners with the agency for the sale of the 570-acre ranch for similar public use.

In July 2004, after months of negotiations with public lands, the historic ranch was sold to PeopleSoft founder David Duffield.

The sale of the land sent shockwaves through local agencies slated to manage it: Karen Mullen, then director of Washoe County Parks, summed up “losing” the Ponderosa, sounding distinctly similar to those involved with Incline Lake.

“There was so much work put into this and were so close to getting it all done,” Mullen said.

While Nash said he and the shareholders of Incline Lake Corp. were “rededicated” this week to continue work with the forest service, he did not discount the merit of private ownership of properties like Incline Lake or the Ponderosa.

“I look at a person like David Duffield, in many respects he might be the best person to the community to run (the Ponderosa),” Nash said. “Certainly what he’s done with the property hasn’t been detrimental. Sometimes private enterprise has a way of doing things that’s beneficial to the public. Private property owners have come a long way in showing their sensitivity.”

Nash noted he received word from Sen. John Ensign’s office that they are also committed to giving Incline Lake owners a “fair deal.”

Ensign, one of the authors of the 1998 Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act, stood on the shores of Incline Lake in August 2005 and declared the land’s public acquisition be put on a “fast track.”

“Look, as I mentioned, looking at this, we’re on track with this for two years,” Nash said. “An unbelievable process like this can take that long. But there’s been tremendous public support, tremendous political support. The forest service appraisal did not meet our expectations, we feel there are some inconsistencies that may be re-evaluated. But we are all working for this.

“Ensign wants this to come to fruition. We certainly wouldn’t want to see the (SNPLMA) money go to the federal government. And a (public) land acquisition such as this is a benefit to all. We all understand this.”

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