Cities and counties can no longer condemn land for trails and paths.

The Senate on Monday approved a bill restricting local government's ability to use eminent domain. HB323 now moves to the governor.

Local governments can still condemn land for a park, but only for a park. Not a trail or path.

"I do not believe a path or a trail ... is something that you ought to be condemning for," said Sen. Darin Peterson, R-Nephi, the bill's Senate sponsor. "You can condemn for a park, just not a park that is going to be used for a path."

The bill specifically targets Mapleton, where officials there want to resolve a long-running dispute with Provo physical Dr. Wendell Gibby. The city tried to buy some of his land to extend the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, but Gibby rejected the offer.

Mapleton officials wanted to use eminent domain to condemn the property, but now they can't.

Mapleton officials offered an alternative argument that they required the property to maintain an emergency access road through Gibby's property, but the bill would block that as well.

Cities will not be able to claim they need to condemn land for a possible future emergency, like a wildfire in the foothills.

"Emergency access is not an appropriate use of eminent domain," said Rep. Aaron Tilton, R-Springville, the bill's sponsor. "We don't take people's property for something that may never happen."

Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, tried to put language back in the bill that would allow cities to use eminent domain for emergency access purposes but the move failed on the floor.

"Eminent domain, in my opinion, is already used too much," Rep. Kerry Gibson, R-Ogden, said during the floor debate in the House on Valentine's Day. "We need to limit its use to instances that are totally and completely necessary."

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