Comments about ‘Frustrated North Salt Lake residents in search of answers’

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Published: Tuesday, Aug. 5 2014 9:10 p.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

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.

South Jordan, UT

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 well.

Salt Lake City, UT

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!

Tremtpm, UT

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.

Tooele, UT

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 nightmare.

Salt Lake City, UT

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.

Albuquerque, NM

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 that myself.

Kuna, ID

Grandpa always said, don't build on the foothills. That ground isn't solid.

My house was stolen
Roy , UT

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.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

Marxist makes another excellent point, about better management of land by those not in the pocket of local developers.

John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

The real frustration here is that someone would buy a home built in a gravel pit and then claim surprise when the ground moves.

Olympia, WA

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 environment.

Brigham City, UT

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.

Flagstaff, AZ

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.

Provo, UT

"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!

Lehi, UT

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)

one old man
Ogden, UT

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 all this?

Salt Lake City, UT

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)

Cedar Hills, UT

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.

Salt Lake City, UT

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.

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