Comments about ‘Jay Evensen: Hillside danger — Utah's terra never has been very firma’

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Published: Thursday, Aug. 7 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

This sort of helter skelter development will predominate if Federal lands are turned over to the state, because the developers are ALL-POWERFUL at the local level.


Developers get a bad rap, but you know what? It's their drive and ambition that have made the Salt Lake Valley pretty cool. And some blame has to be on the folks who buy homes at the bottom of hills.
Without developers we wouldn't be all that developed would we?


Mr. Evensen is spot on. How many slides and lost homes must there be before Utah law and local political sensitivities get into balance with common sense when it comes to developing sensitive land areas? It reminds me of how a dangerous street intersection must meet a minimum threshold of horrible accidents before a traffic light can be installed.

As a resident of the neighborhood affected by the North Salt Lake slide, it is so self-obvious and incontrovertible that both the city of North Salt Lake and the developer, Sky Properties are squarely liable for the damages caused by the slide. The city's and developer's gross negligence, their breath taking indifference and utter disregard for the factually crystal clear foreseeability of this slide occurring raises serious questions as to whether their combined negligence rises to the level of criminality.

Brigham City, UT

Peterv: "...utter disregard for the factually crystal clear foreseeability of this slide occurring raises serious questions as to whether their combined negligence rises to the level of criminality."

I'm wondering if you can see how that statement also implicates every individual that "utterly disregarded" the "crystal clear foreseeability of this slide occurring" and purchased or built there anyway...

San Diego, CA

@ Peterv:
You claim to believe in the "factually crystal clear foreseeability of this slide occurring", but bought a house there anyway? If no one bought hillside homes the developers would stop building them really fast.

Any home is at risk to its environment, be it from earthquake, wildfire, hurricane, tornado, flood, or landslide. You accept one or a number of these risks when you purchase a home in a given area. That doesn't make damage or loss of your home to an environmental disaster the fault of another person or persons.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT


"And some blame has to be on the folks who buy homes at the bottom of hills."

... I guess the developer who then decides to start building on top of the hill (and the city that approves the plans) should remain blameless? Gravity pulling the hill is hard enough to fight, without further development pushing the hill downward as well.

Brigham City, UT

CHS: You copied and pasted, but didn't read the word "some" in front of "blame". I doubt anyone thinks the developers and city are without blame in this mess...except the developers and the city, of course.

CPA Howard
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

The wise man built his house upon the rock
And the rain came tumbling down
And the wise man's house stood firm.

The foolish man built his house upon the sand (the benchs)
And the rain came tumbling down
And the foolish man's house went "splat!"

Common sense would tell you don't buy a house on a sandy hill.

Salt Lake City, UT

It is not uncommon for developers to buy land that, due to geography and topography, is borderline undevelopable (or worse), and then pressure cities' planning and zoning departments to allow them to develop these plots of land. It is past time for the cities to grow a spine and say "no" to development further and further up the mountainsides. Unfortunately, they have an incentive to be permissive rather than restrictive when it comes to development, because more developed property means more property tax revenue.

I find it ironic that the favelas (slums) of Brazil, particularly in Rio, tend to be built on the hillsides, and the housing of the middle class and wealthy tend to be in the valleys and lowlands; but the culture here is just the opposite - the poorer neighborhoods along the Wasatch Front tend to be close to I-15, and the wealthier neighborhoods tend to be built on the hillsides. Maybe we could learn something from our Southern Hemisphere neighbors . . .

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

What if lives would have been lost in this slide. I think anybody that is pro real estate developer might have a different perspective on making Salt Lake Valley "cool." I don't see the urban sprawl as cool at all...

Sandy, UT

Building on a hillside seems foolish after a mudslide. Building on the valley floor will look pretty foolish after the big one hits and liquifaction turns Building in Kansas seems foolish after a tornado, or in Florida after a hurricane. The great thing about hind-sight is that it lets those of us lucky enough to have escaped misfortune wag our fingers at those who have not.

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