U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., and Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., have introduced legislation to correct a 40-year-old land-survey error that placed private properties inside the boundaries of U.S. Forest Service property.
In 1960, 25 properties were surveyed as part of the Mountainaire development near Flagstaff. Incorrect corner monuments were used in that survey, and a recent Bureau of Land Management survey found that these properties are encroaching into the Coconino National Forest.
Some of these parcels are undeveloped, and some have portions of owners’ homes within the encroachment area. The legislation, HR 862, aims to convey ownership back to property owners by authorizing “the conveyance of two small parcels of land within the boundaries of the Coconino National Forest containing private improvements that were developed based upon the reliance of the landowners on an erroneous survey conducted in May 1960.”
Kirkpatrick said, “Imagine waking up one day to learn that your property isn’t really yours. These residents deserve a solution – this problem was created 40 years ago but it’s affecting them today. Our legislation offers a common-sense approach, and I hope we can get this done.”
Gosar said, “The Mountainaire land dispute imposes economic burdens on my constituents, and this situation must be corrected. When I introduced this bill last year, it passed the House of Representatives and we came close to getting it signed into law. I will continue working toward seeing this bill become a law.”
The bill has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation.