Karen Cunningham said she never would have bought her house in Little Cottonwood Canyon last year if she had known the LDS Church would be blasting rocks about 1,500 feet away.
She and her husband, Bruce Cunningham, are suing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Salt Lake County to stop blasting rocks for a temporary road leading to a granite quarry.During testimony in 3rd District Court on Monday, Karen Cunningham said that the sound "is like a sonic boom, only longer," that she believes the vibrations have shaken three glass items onto the floor in her home, and that she thinks the construction road produces muddy runoff that flows onto her property.
The Cunninghams contend the county did not follow proper procedures and canyon zoning ordinances when granting a conditional use permit to the church, which is mining granite from the quarry for the facade of its new assembly hall in downtown Salt Lake City. The project will take two years for the mining and another year to replant and restore the land.
However, lawyers for the church and the county say the Cunninghams do not have legal standing and say that the couple cannot show that they have suffered any damage upon which to make a complaint in court.
Questioned by David Wahlquist, lawyer for the LDS Church, Karen Cunningham testified in 3rd District Court Monday that she did not witness the three glass items fall to the floor and that muddy water and silt had flooded onto her property before this project began.
Cunningham also testified that the project has not limited access to her property, has not caused boulders to roll downhill and that she has not gone back to the Salt Lake County Planning Commission or County Commission asking them to make any changes or add new conditions to the 19 requirements already attached to the conditional use permit.
Although the technical answer to Wahlquist's questions was "no," Cunningham said in court that she did not think she had those options.
"(County Commissioner) Randy Horiuchi told me if I did not like the decision to take it to court," she said.
The Cunninghams have said the project's roads exceed the allowable slope standards set forth in the Foothills and Canyons Overlay Zone. Evert Lawton, associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Utah, testified that the slope of the roads greatly exceeds the slope standards.
However, county officials said the road is temporary, the land will be replanted and that the church could not reach the granite it needs without the road.
The trial resumes Wednesday. Attorneys for the county have asked 3rd District Judge Stephen Henriod to visit the site.