Sale of Dyer Mountain property to SPI settles tax bill

Published: Tuesday, Sep. 24, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 24, 2013 - 12:54 am

Dyer Mountain, where developers had once planned a controversial four-season resort near Lake Almanor, is no longer encumbered by back taxes owed to Lassen County.

The county received a check for $3.3 million covering all the taxes, interest and penalties that had accrued since the county Board of Supervisors approved the Dyer development, Richard Egan, Lassen County treasurer and tax collector, said last week.

The payment puts the final touches on a federal bankruptcy judge’s approval earlier this month of the sale of 7,000 acres on Dyer Mountain to Sierra Pacific Industries, the Anderson-based forest products company.

SPI paid $17.2 million for the land covered in mixed conifer forests, according to bankruptcy court records.

Mark Pawlicki, an SPI spokesman, said the timber company has no interest in pursuing the development proposal, which included ski facilities, golf courses, 600,000 square feet of commercials space and more than 4,000 residential units.

The combination of the sale and the tax payment are a death knell for the development, said Richard Crabtree, former Lassen County counsel now serving as special counsel to the Board of Supervisors.

“This means the four-season ski resort is not going to happen,” Crabtree said Friday.

A lawsuit filed in opposition to the development proposal by three environmental groups is still pending before the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento. Mountain Meadows Conservancy, Sierra Watch and the Sierra Club challenged the development agreement and a tentative subdivision map approved in 2007 by the Lassen supervisors.

Attorneys for SPI notified the bankruptcy court they plan to ask the supervisors to rescind the development approvals, Crabtree said. Once that action is formally filed with the Lassen supervisors, Crabtree said, he expects them to consider it within 60 days.

Egan had been preparing to sell the Dyer Mountain property in a tax sale to recover the amount the developers owed Lassen County.

“I was not looking forward to that and I’m happy it is no longer necessary,” he said Friday.

He deposited the funds received through the escrow process in the county treasury. Around $1 million consisted of penalties and interest.

The Dyer Mountain project was one of the most contentious and protracted land use battles in the Sierra Nevada. It has been mired in bankruptcy, foreclosure and debt since Lassen County voters overwhelmingly approved a 2000 ballot initiative that eased they way for building on the timbered slopes and wet meadows.

Before this month’s purchase by SPI, ownership had changed hands at least three times and the proposal was the subject of at least five lawsuits and several court orders.

Read more articles by Jane Braxton Little

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