Town residents may get to buy land they thought they owned
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The 10 residents of the rural western Nevada ghost town of Gold Point will finally have a chance to get ownership deeds to land they thought they bought years ago.
The Bureau of Land Management has announced plans to transfer ownership of the town site to Esmeralda County, ending a decadeslong property dispute, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported last week.
Under the proposal, the county would pay the federal government $82,000 for the 0.35-square-mile (0.91-square-kilometer) town site 185 miles (298 kilometers) northwest of Las Vegas.
The deal is set to be completed by the end of the year, after which the county plans to sell individual lots back to local residents.
The problem stems from public records that went missing or were never filed more than a century ago, casting a legal cloud over dozens of old parcels.
Gold Point was never properly recorded with the federal government, so the land was never transferred into private hands, according to the Bureau of Land Management. Those who claim ownership to parts of the town have no legal way to prove it.
“The fact that we don’t have title to our own land basically puts everything in limbo,” resident Walt Kremin said.
Bureau spokeswoman Kirsten Cannon said the federal government will retain the mineral rights beneath the town site, but nothing of value was found there besides gravel, sand and fill during a five-year mineral validity exam conducted in preparation for the sale.
It’s unclear how much the folks in Gold Point might have to pay to buy their lots back from the county.
Several Nevada senators and congressmen have tried to fix the bureaucratic problem since it was first discovered three decades ago, but none of the bills introduced since 2003 came to a vote.
Esmeralda is Nevada’s smallest county, with a population of less than 1,000.
Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com