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April 28, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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I: FEATHER RIVER Wednesday, April 28, 2010 Vol. 143, No. 38 md Surrounding Areas Since 1866 50 CENTS Feather River Inn owner buys Nakoma Diana Jorgenson Portola Editor djorgenson@plumasnews.com After nearly six years of upheaval and bankruptcy court, the Nakoma Resort and Golf Course at Gold Mountain has been sold to the Schomac Group, Inc., de- velopers out of Tucson, Ariz., who are also current owners of the Feather River Inn, 10 miles away at the other end of Mohawk Valley. Principal Michael Schoff sees the two properties as "sister resorts, providing a superb mix of lodging, convention facilities and recreational amenities" and hopes to see both golf courses -- the nine-hole course at Feather River Inn and the 18- hole course at Gold Mountain -- open at the beginning of June. Court documents prefacing the April 7 hearing date de- tailed a selling price of $900,000 and the assumption of approximately $893,000 in real and personal property taxes to Plumas County. In reality, the sale entailed much more than Nakoma and the golf course. All told, Schoff said, it was a $4 million package that eventu- ally included all the unsold lots -- improved and unim- proved, residential and commercial -- at Gold Moun- tain, as well as a 9-hole golf course. Gathering all the pieces of  the fragmented Gold Mountain venture required negotiations with three other entities and was a long and complicated process as Schoff described it. It was important to Schomac that when the sale was completed, it could work only with the home- owners association at Gold Mountain and the communi- ty services district, rather than a lot of interested parties with separate issues. Nakoma, with its unique 23,000 square-foot lodge de- signed by Frank Lloyd Wright, has attracted several potential buyers during its stint in bankruptcy court, but has been plagued with problems. Parts of the golf course had not been surveyed, ease- ments had not been obtained in some cases, wells that were supposed to be included were not and, of course, vacant buildings and un- tended land deteriorate and incur damage. As problem after problem surfaced, potential buyers fell by the wayside. It fell to Gold Mountain property owners to care for the golf course and keep it green, in an effort to hold their own property values steady and in hopes of enticing a buyer. Gold Mountain home- owners also set up a develop- er liaison committee, chaired by Jack Carlson, to facilitate a potential sale and to work with developers interested in the property. Without their efforts, Schoff acknowledged, Schomac could not possibly hope to have the course open this summer. It fell to the courts to disen- tangle the legal messes and encumbrances, with the help of trustee lawyers Belding, Hai'ris, and Petroni, who tallied up a tab of $216,959.28, but settled for $160,000 to keep the sale moving, thus earning the appreciation of presiding Judge Zive of the federal bankruptcy court. The sale is conditioned up- on approval from a "requisite percentage" of the 59 in- vestors of Gold Mountain, who are not likely to see much of a return on their investments. Plumas County, on the other hand, stands to see a sizable windfall after negotia- tions are completed. See Nakoma, page 12A Annex at capacity Joshua Sebold Staff Writer jsebold@plumasnews.com The Plumas County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a contract leasing space in the Health and Human Services Building, also known as the courthouse annex, to the U.S. Forest Service at an early April meeting. Facility Services Director Joe Wilson explained the county had been trying to fill the space left vacant after the close of the Alcohol and Drug Department. ' He told. the board th  Storrie Fire Rehab Team would use the space. Wilson: reminded the board the state Fish and Game Department was already renting space. The director added that the contract included an initial six-month lease with three options to renew the contract for the same period and said, "The Forest Service has indicated that they will be exercising their option to continue their lease." See Annex, page 9A Art Walk coming FRC goes digital Linda Satchwell Staff Writer Isatchwell@plu rnasnews.com Feather River College pres- ident Dr. Ron Taylor present- ed compelling reasons for purchasing two software applications accessible via the Internet, CCCApply and eTranscript, at the April board of trustees meeting. FRC is one of /he last community colleges to sign on to the systems. CCCApply will allow stu- dents anywhere to apply for enrollment in the California community college system, andto hdce tt'fe applications sent to FRC. The system has the obvious benefit of making FRC that much more accessible and easier to apply to, according to Taylor. In addition, it automates and streamlines the resi- dency process. Students have to answer a series of questions that will make it easy for the Admissions and Records office to determine residency, "which is a huge See FRC, page 12A celebration Take a look at local trees. See page 1B Four in a row. College baseball clinches conference. See page lC County stays out of PDH debate Joshua Sebold Staff Writer jsebold@plumasnews.com Acting County Counsel Brian Morris told county supervisors at a Tuesday, April 20, board meeting that it wasn't the county's job to make judgments on whether or not ballot language for anotler entity's election was appropriate. Morris told the public the county simply conducted the election and had "no discre- tion to review or change what has been directed to be placed on the ballot by the (Plumas) hospital district." Supporters of a tax limita- tion initiative recently voiced their outrage that Plumas District Hospital didn't use the ballot-label they had provided and wrote another one instead. Local attorney Robert Zernich, one of the five original initiative propo- nents, indicated the ballot language would probably end up being written by a judge. The topic came up at the very beginning of the meet- ing, with attorney Michael Colantuono, representing PDH in this matter, telling the board he had discussed the issue with Morris and wanted to repeat his key points for the supervisors. "The county's role with respect to an initiative elec- tion in a district is pretty limited." "You provide the mechan- ics of the election, but you don't have to provide any of the policy making, and you don't have to provide the lawyers to defend the policy making if that policy making becomes controversial." The attorney said it wasn't possible for the entire text of an initiative to appear on a ballot, which was why ballot labels were written, limited to 75 words. "Under the Elections Code it's the district board, the hospital district board, that's required to write that ballot label, and should there be a controversy about it, it's our responsibility to defend the action that we've taken. "It's not the county board's responsibility, it's not the county counsel's responsibil- ity, and to the extent that this causes the need for legal fees, they don't have to come out of your budget, they have to come out of the district's budget." He told the board he understood the supervisors had a county counsel to advise them, but his advice was "When the proponents or others come to you asking you to get involved in our election, I think the right answer for you to do is send them back to us." He stressed the hospital board was elected "to bear that responsibility. They have to take the heat. You're not called to be in this particular kitchen; we are." He concluded, "We're prepared to stand up to our responsibilities. We're pre- pared to bear the expenses that are necessary to let the See PDH, page 9A Candidates draw lines at election forum Linda Satchwell Staff Writer Isatchwell@plu masnews.com Lee Anne Schramel-Taylor of the League of Women Voters moderated the sea- son's first election forum April 22 at the Graeagle Fire Hall. Candidates for county assessor, Chuck Leonhardt and Mike Gardner: sheriff, Greg Hagwood and Bob Shipp; and supervisor for District 5. Jon Kennedy, Dick Lundy and Ralph Wittick, all participated in the forum. Following the usual format, audience members were encouraged to submit cards with questions for the candi- dates; it was an informative evening, with most races pitting two highly contrasting candidates against each other. Candidates for assessor went first and, while both candidates have similar backgrounds in real estate, the similarities ended there, Leonhardt has been county assessor for the last 13 years. Gardner painted himself as a patriot, showing the medals that various family members have won in wars going back to World War II. Gardner said in the news- paper's published candidate statement that he was "the candidate for lower taxes." At the forum he said, '"The basic premise of my whole running is the fact that I have had issues with the assessor over the past 10 years." Gardner felt his own prop- erty taxes hadn't decreased sufficiently, and he said he "wanted to go through the whole darn county and drop values through the whole county." Leonhardt explained that in making decisions, the assessor's office studies the market. "We look for those properties we believe are most susceptible to having their values reduced. Pri- mary indicators would be properties that sold or were constructed at the height of the market. "We continue to study the trend of decline in relation to the trend of appreciation at the peak of the cycle. That allows us to build a model to know what properties we need to address." When asked later to ex- plain why not all properties are assessed every year, Leonhardt said that under Proposition 13. individual properties have their own base years. Because a property can only be assessed upward a maximum of 2 percent per year under Proposition 13. each property has to be compared to current market value. "'We can't do blanket reductions." he said. using his own property as an example. "I own a piece of property I bought 20 years ago. My Prop. 13 value is still way below current market value ... I get the better deal of the two. My Prop. 13 value is better than current market value: I get to continue to See Forum, page 8A IIl!!![!lll!![ To subscribe to the Bulletin. call .)o0-280-0800 IIH00]IIII|I00I00:B0000|IIIIIIII,|i:I IlI|iIllll[ll TII' II!l J iJl II, J4Ii,,00l |I U,, l,laI00IlanIiiIIiIiiimiuiiiu