The approval of a plat map that may violate a city ordinance has local residents who opposed it scratching their heads.
Attorney Richard Allen, representing some of those owners, said the council's approval of Don Korth's six-lot subdivision flies in the face of an ordinance prohibiting double frontages. If 1200 South goes in, property owners along 1100 South would have a second frontage along their back yards."They're violating their own ordinance," said Allen. Korth may need 1200 South to logically develop the rest of his property, said Allen. The developer has more land to develop next to the six-lot subdivision.
But Councilwoman Charlee Hanna told the Deseret News that 1200 South could be deleted if another way could be found to gain access to undeveloped land south of that alignment.
The dispute stems from a subdivision approval in the 1980s in which the council approved several street easements. Allen said the action was illegal. The easements are marked on the plat map and the then-council said property owners could dedicate their property for streets when the need arose. Allen said streets are not easements and can be constructed only when dedicated to cities who hold fee title. Taking land for streets under an easement without owners dedicating the property is illegal because it fails to compensate them, he told the Deseret News.
But City Attorney Jim Brady maintains the city can build streets where it has easements. "I feel very comfortable in taking our city attorney's advice," said Hanna.
The city has already built one street on one of those easements, 800 East, from 1100 to 1200 South, along land owned by David Anderson. That spurred Anderson to file a claim against the city, asserting officials took his land without paying for it. That claim could turn into a lawsuit.
In approving Korth's plat, the council said the developer would have to bond for the 1200 South and 400 East alignments. Those bonds will remain in place until the streets are built or removed from the master plan. Korth said his preference is not to build 1200 South, which he said was required by the city to get his six lots approved. The city also wants 400 East extended to 1100 South from the 1200 South alignment. If that happens, property owner Brian Leif-son will have streets on three sides of his property, which could spur more legal action against the city.
If Anderson wins his case, that could establish a precedent that could help Leifson and affect the construction of other streets on easements in dispute. So in approving Korth's plat the council said it wanted another legal opinion from its insurance carrier.
Property owners earlier filed a request to have 1200 South between the 800 East and Main deleted from the city's street plan, said Hanna, but that request was put on hold when the council named a transportation committee to study the city's streets and potential for growth.
Allen said he was content to wait for the transportation committee to complete its work, but the council voted to approve Korth's plat anyway.
Hanna, who cast the one dissenting vote, said she would rather wait until the city's transportation committee finished its study of city streets. "It would be cleaner to wait for the transportation committee," she said. Hanna said she has a problem approving subdivisions in small pieces.