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County is responsible for Emigrant Trail easements

It seems to me that the County of Nevada, through its Planning Department, bears significant responsibility for the existence of non-continuous trail easements through the various subdivisions involved in this dispute.

Each of these subdivisions, when created, would have been subject to review and approval by the County of Nevada Planning Department. This would have been the ideal time to have established continuous easements, i.e. prior to permitting more intensive development of the land. Apparently, this department missed this opportunity and instead allowed the discontinuity that currently presents implementation issues.

Given this, it seems to me that the county should take responsibility for developing a set of continuous easements to allow for a single trail through the several subdivisions if there is any possibility of establishing a single continuous line for an easement. Having not seen a map of the current easements, I have no way to know whether this is remotely feasible.

The potential legal authority for this is the county’s eminent domain authority. This would probably result in a not insignificant cost to the county in the form of compensation to landowners who would be impacted by the modified easement who were not so impacted by the originals. However, it seems to me this is the only real way to resolve the issue with a continuous trail.

If this were done, the county should seek to recover some of the cost from the original developer(s) of these subdivisions, if they still exist as ongoing businesses. It does not seem fair to seek recovery from the current property owners who played no role in the decisions which created the current state of affairs but are simply victims of failure on the part of the developers and the County Planning Department.

Robert S. Erickson

Nevada City


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