IVGID board shuns beach-access settlement offer | SierraSun.com

IVGID board shuns beach-access settlement offer

Kevin MacMillan
A look at one of the Incline beach kiosks, which at one point were labeled with signs reading "private beach" prior to Steven Kroll's lawsuit being filed. The beaches since have been deemed "public with restrictions."
File photo |

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The IVGID board of trustees has one more day to reconsider a compromise from Steven Kroll regarding his beach-access lawsuit before it heads to the Nevada Supreme Court.

The board decided during a June 6 court-ordered closed-door conference to not accept a settlement proposal from Kroll’s legal team, IVGID legal counsel Scott Brooke confirmed this week.

“The mediation was not successful and, accordingly, the briefing before the Supreme Court will continue,” Brooke said after Wednesday’s Incline Village General Improvement District board of trustees meeting.

Kroll’s legal team first offered the settlement on May 17, proposing the board agendize for vote to repeal a section of IVGID’s recreation policy regarding access to Incline, Ski, Burnt Cedar and Hermit beaches.

If the board were to repeal the section, according to the offer, it would grant access to the 427 parcels that lie outside the community’s beach boundaries, including those in Crystal Bay.

A repeal also would protect the district’s 1968 deed restriction included in its purchase of the beaches, thus only allowing current IVGID residents access, and not the general public.

Currently, the deed restriction allows access to the beaches only to parcels situated within IVGID boundaries as of that year.

Wednesday morning, Kroll sent a letter to the board, asking trustees to reconsider their “private vote to take the heavy decision of whether or not to settle this lawsuit out of the hands of your constituents.”

“I conclude that the members of the Board fear that if it is not my lawsuit you have to deal with, it will inevitably be someone’s, and therefore you have thrown up your hands and basically said: ‘a pox on both your houses — let the Court decide and put an end to this controversy once and for all,” Kroll wrote. “This is not good logic. Why are you worrying about future lawsuits when you have a live one here and now that needs to be dealt with in a way that protects your constituents’ interests?”

Kroll has set a deadline of midnight Friday, June 14, for the district to reconsider; if not, he will appeal to the Nevada high court.

“… I don’t think those 8,000 Incline property owners will be happy to learn that you took the decision of whether or not to risk their beaches and their property values away from them,” Kroll wrote, referring to the decision coming behind closed doors.

Brooke said he doesn’t anticipate the board will change its mind by Kroll’s deadline.

“Mr. Kroll was looking for and demanding a certain response from the district — there was no trustee willing to do what Mr. Kroll demanded,” Brooke said. “… Mr. Kroll’s demands did not cover all the issues that are pending in the case.”

Kroll filed his complaint in the spring of 2008, alleging both federal and state violations. He argued that the district’s recreation policies violated his First and 14th amendment rights, and further alleged the 1968 deed restriction violated his constitutional rights.

On Feb. 10, 2010, the now-late U.S District Court Judge Edward C. Reed ruled in favor of IVGID regarding the federal claims. On Sept. 6, 2012, Washoe County District Court Judge Steven Kosach ruled in IVGID’s favor on the state claims.

Kroll’s suit also came months after a similar resolution was developed by a beach access compromise committee that included Kroll and Crystal Bay resident Frank Wright (who also has sued IVGID regarding beach access); Incline residents Andy Wolf and Chuck Otto; then-trustees Gene Brockman and Bea Epstein; and General Manager Bill Horn.

In August 2007, amid many urges from residents to not approve the compromise, the board voted it down, 3-2.

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