September 4, 2018
ALERT: Nevada Set to Increase Pier & Buoy Fees on September 21, 2018
Click here to read the NDSL proposal
In 2017, Senate Bill No 512, Chapter 366, requires the Nevada State Land Registrar to modify fees for the application and permitting of piers and buoys. Earlier this summer TLOA engaged with Nevada Division of State Lands (NDSL) when they proposed outrageous increases to their existing fee structure for piers and buoys on state land. As a result of TLOA and individual lakefront owners voicing their concerns, NDSL staff embarked on an appraisal of market value of piers and buoys associated with the use of state lands. TLOA most adamantly objects to the NDSL staff’s assertion that fees be based on “Fair Market Value” since nothing in the statute requires this approach. In fact, the prior statute since 1993 mandates the fees for the application and permitting of piers and buoys, and did not make the leap to the “use” of state lands. TLOA believes the legislature had no intention of making this kind of change during the hearings in 2017.
Recently, NDSL staff released their appraisal report. TLOA found it to be one of the most appalling examples of appraisal practices ever encountered. Not only did the report violate many of the professional appraisal standards, it failed to even consider the exhaustive evidence and information compiled for the exact type of review in California earlier this year. TLOA provided all of its findings to Nevada well in advance of their appraisal report, however, neither NDSL staff nor their appraisal gave it even an ounce of consideration. It is unthinkable that the State of Nevada would ignore recent and applicable information for roughly the same issue in the neighboring state on the same body of water.
With the NDSL’s workshop only a few days away, let’s review the current NDSL staff proposal. The professional appraisal report prepared for NDSL suggested annual fees for piers should be $12,000.
That’s right, $12,000 per year, per pier. Buoys were appraised at $500 per year, per buoy. The NDSL staff, however, has reverted back to their original proposal, with a 3-year phase-in.
At the end of the phased increase in 2022, the annual fees are as follows:
Residential Proposed Current
Piers (regardless of size) $1,000/year $ 50/year
Buoys $ 300/year/buoy $ 30/year/buoy
This scheme is not based on any factual, relevant data but instead on arbitrary and capricious decision-making by the Registrar. The one-fee-fits-all approach completely abandons and disregards the concept of fairness, and fails to consider the amount of state land actually occupied by the structure. In many cases, the majority of the pier is on private land between high and low water. TLOA contends that even if you considered the value of a pier, the value exists on private land before transitioning to state land. In addition, private piers provide public benefit such as safe harbor to distressed boaters and swimmers, and serve as an important aid to navigation.
If left unchallenged, the fees would be some of the highest charged in all Western states. The NDSL suggests this is justified as a way to fund environmental projects at Lake Tahoe, but TLOA could not disagree more. We contend that this extortion scheme is not what the legislators had in mind when they transferred their authority to the NDSL Registrar in 2017.