I have lived in North Salt Lake since 1983. I have observed the city being a
puppet for developers during that entire time. The developer commands, and the
city obeys. And woe to any local politician who crosses the Smoot interests.
But get on Smoot's good side, you can be elected forever.
Residents who build in foothill areas that include steep grades, higher amounts
of precipitation, and large man-made cuts for roads are jointly liable with
cities and developers. Buyers need to exercise a degree of intelligence as
Perhaps a little more history would be useful. Back in the 80's the
developer came to the city of North Salt Lake, demanding to be annexed to North
Salt Lake. The developer said that if North Salt Lake didn't annex his
development he would take his marbles to Bountiful to be annexed by them, in
essence encircling North Salt Lake. North Salt Lake meekly complied and has
been the servant of the Smoots and other developers ever since.As a
sidebar I'd like to point out the uses of a national forest boundary. The
helter skelter development of North Salt Lake is in part due to there being no
forest boundary east of the city. Farther north, where the national forest is
present, development is more controlled (though far from ideal). Blessings on
the forest service!
WHY do people insist on building HUGE homes on the mountainside. With as many
homes that have slid down in the last twenty years, has no one learned anything?
I will happily stay on the west side of the tracks in the flatlands...in my
modest home. But at least we are still standing after a hundred years. We live
in an unstable state due to earthquake faults, low water tables, etc. Yet
people insist on building on shifting sands.
Unfortunately marxist is correct. I can see that happening in some places near
where I live. The problem here isn't with landslides, but with water. City
and county cry when there isn't enough water yet they don't put up the
red light on developing. From what I see in the area pictured in this article it
seems to be location of where these houses are built. And if it happened last
year and again this year, guarantee it will happen again in future years. Sad
but true. A house may look nice and the view is great but if it's built on
unsteady foundation or where a lot of rainfall or other elements can take the
house out, I say look else where for that dream home before it becomes your
I'm sorry. But when buying a home in the first place. There are some
things to think about. The view might be nice, but don't build, or buy a
home near top of a hill. It is only a matter of time, when Nature decides to
redesign things. That means hills have ways of coming down. And another is
don't build or buy a home, where there used to be a riverbed, or drainage
area. Water will return.
California mentality! Build on a mountain side, then wonder why things happen
when nature changes. Build in a water shed or valley, then wonder why things
happen when nature changes. Build in a forest, then wonder why things happen
when nature changes. Wonder, wonder, wonder, but it is all someone else's
fault.Face it, the buyer's desire for status and ego satisfaction
exceeded the desire for due diligence at the time of purchase. Been there, done
Grandpa always said, don't build on the foothills. That ground isn't
These areas have been designated as slide areas for years. However with
Utah's Caveat law on housing these developers are chiding politicians with
their money and influence to allow building in these slide areas. This is
corruption and it is the norm in this state.
Marxist makes another excellent point, about better management of land by those
not in the pocket of local developers.
The real frustration here is that someone would buy a home built in a gravel pit
and then claim surprise when the ground moves.
Here in Washington we had a catastrophic landslide that killed dozens of people.
It too was a known slide area. The Home Builders Lobby, is to powerful for
politicians to say NO to. As the most build able land is taken, we shall see
more and more housing sold and built in marginal and dangerous areas of the
I'd be scared to death if I lived in Centerville on 850 East between 100
South and Pages Lane... The only real difference in the lay of the land there is
that no one is building directly above that location...yet.
People want a home with a view so they buy a house on a hill. There is always an
inherent risk involved when doing so. All the studies done can only estimate the
degree of possibility of something like this occurring. When the risk is deemed
minimal by established standards, then development begins. But there is always
that minimal risk. It's just a simple, geological fact. People that want to
live in a forest have to be aware that a fire could someday consume their home.
People that choose to live downstream from a dam should be aware that that dam
could break and sweep away their home. Likewise, if you choose to live on a
hillside, be aware that something like this can happen. It's not a new
phenomena, it's happened many times over the years and is well documented.
Before you decide to buy a home, know the terrain and assess the potential
dangers. If you decide it's worth the risk's involved, go ahead and
buy. The state can't protect us from all potential danger. We as
individuals have to make reasoned decisions and accept the results.
"North Salt Lake city officials Tuesday night declared a state of emergency
in search of state relief money..."Why should taxpayers have to
foot the bill? Let the wealthy (greedy?) developers and homeowners associations
pay for it!
It is interesting that until something goes wrong, everything is right. When it
goes wrong then it is everyone else's fault and the taxpayers need to pay
for the lack of due diligence on the part of those who should have been diligent
in their choice of where they built their home. (I believe with a little work,
that last sentence could have rhymed)
I think I remember a big fuss from about twenty years ago when the Utah Geologic
Survey published a map of geologic hazard areas in the state and were forced to
pull it from distribution when the legislature was assailed by the developer
lobby.I think -- if my memory is correct -- that it was finally
released again a few years ago but they cannot advertise it. So it sits on
shelves somewhere unless a prospective home buyer is savvy enough to ask about
it.I just Googled and found that there is a Utah Geologic Survey
website that provides information for each county. So I'm a little
confused.Does anyone else have more information on the history of
John Charity Spring is right. The "answer" that everyone is looking for
lies in the fact that the entire hillside is sand and gravel. The developer
should be held responsible for building in such a place, and the city should
also be held responsible for approving the permits. Though I agree
the buyers here may not exactly be doing the proper due-dilligence, I feel that
if the city and the developer tell me it's safe, I would believe them!
(gravel pit below my house not withstanding)
I agree that the state should not be footing the bill for poor judgement on the
parts of the city, home builder/developer, and home buyer. If you buy in that
area, you should have appropriate insurance on your home. Just the same as the
government should not subsidize flood insurance making it easier for people to
buy in flood prone areas.
The story said that the development was at the maximum allowable slope limit,
hence pushing the envelope or boundaries in order to maximize profit. Profit is
not bad, only when the pursuit of it blinds you to other values.Cedar Hills had a case of shifting mountains, and there are others as well.
Wait until Traverse Ridge "slumps" a little or a lot. Who
is responsible? How about the home owners who bought the home trusting the agent
and developer without doing some research him/herself. We write a shout a lot
about personal liberty, rights and being left alone from governments intrusion.
Well this is part of the risk, being responsible for your own decisions. I don't support shoddy developments, nor misleading sales people in
the market but really folks, is it too much to ask the recently wealthy or
wanna-be wealthy who are buying McMansion to do a little independent homework
before you drop a bundle on a home? Proximity to shopping,
schools, church and recreation should be augmented by a talk with a geological
engineering firm, or some other professional who has a responsibility to look
out for your interests because you purchase their advice.
Hello you build your house on a mountain then cry foul when the mountain falls.
I think some common sense is needed.
Let the lawyers sort it out. Don't use my tax money. I don't live next
to the country club.All the engineers involved should have some sort of
insurance if they can sign off on plans.I suppose the fine print
indemnifies just about everyone. But a judge will determine if they can get away
with it.Perhaps these folks who live up on the hill need to pitch in and
get a good lawyer. (Hint: NO ONE ELSE is going to represent you well. Not the
city. Not the developer. You need your own lawyer.)
Folks, the people who DID buy that home are the Peruvian Consul and his family.
Obviously they did not know the history of the area and obviously, there was no
one to guide them.They paid cash (no mortgage) so there were NO
inspections or requirements.
I thought the statement was interesting when it was stated that engineers for
both the city and developers found the area safe for building. Might the same
engineers also take a vote and determine that foundations won't get wet in
the middle of Lake Utah?Long time residents seemed well aware that
building in such locations wasn't safe and they didn't need
professionals to point that out. At some point, common sense really needs to be
reinstated in the decision making process. Maybe I'm wrong, but the
current strategy involved in many locations is: Built anyway, get in - get out
with your money in hand and hope things hold up long enough for you to get out
of town; oh yes, and make sure that someone else is slated to take the blame if
plan A doesn't work out.
The taxpayers will pay the bill. The developers will go scot free. That's
the way it's done in Utah: Privatize the profits, socialize the costs. "The foolish man built his house in North Salt Lake, the foolish man
built his house in North Salt Lake..."
the libraries used to have geological maps of the valley of salt lake and what
was under each area such as clay, or sand, or rock. i live in riverton a fairly
stable area because of a hard clay foundation. look up where you live.
If you notice virtually everyone who commented here is saying the same thing.
You build on a mountain, you cry that it came into your backyard, we the tax
payers are paying for it. Does that pretty much sum it up? Apparently the wrong
people are not listening.
When I buy a house, it comes with a warranty and certain guarantees that the
house will meet minimum quality standards. If it doesn't, then the builder
is liable and responsible for making it right at his own expense.The
same goes for land. When a developer sells land, it comes with a warranty and
guarantees.These lots need to be made right at the expense of the
developer, pure and simple.
The government is no substitute for using common sense in protecting ourselves
or our assets. There is too much money involoved which clouds the vision and
impairs the judgment.Many of our dreams are built upon sand and gravel. Read the
Sermon on the Mount or even the story of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad
Wolf (in this case the greedy real estate developer.
“For preparation, the best thing you can do is plan for yourself, no
matter where you live.”Dwayne BairdAnd part of that
preparation, way ahead of time was for me the home owner to do my homework and
not just fell in love with the hill side and hill top (with a great view of the
Clearly terrorist activity: Tupac Amaru's revenge. Machu Picchu and other
Incan cities of refuge were built on mountain tops and cliff sides, but always
on rock. In Colonial Peru the poor lived on hillsides while the rich lived in
valley bottoms. It is a remarkable coincidence that the Honorary Peruvian
Consul of Utah's house should bite the dust, but when in Utah do as the
Utahns do. They ought to know how and where to build houses. Machu Picchu
still stands. Then again, modern wealthy Peruvians know better than to build on
hillsides. The Consul should know better too--don't trust those
incompetent Americans. --AGF
i don't think taxpayer should be stuck with this. both the developers and
homeowners new they were building on a hillside. there are some places homes
should not be built.