Home under construction in Davis County creating tension with residents, city officials

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  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Aug. 12, 2013 11:41 a.m.

    I was schooled in architecture and construction and there are generally two predominate points of view when building. A. How can I get the most bang for my buck. B. How will my project affect the surroundings. As a general rule most tend to gravitate towards 'A'.

    Citizen land ownership has a lot of responsibilities that come with it. I don't like people; especially the government, telling me what I can do with my property. I paid for it and I continue to pay taxes for it. Once these two elements are altered, then those who pay the bills should have more say. I try to be responsible and not deliberately cause my neighbors grief while at the same time using my property in the way that meets my needs.

    Zoning codes apparently allowed the owner to build what is being built. It would have been nice if more consideration had been extended to those who would be effected. We may have a right to build what we want, but its not always worth the grief that results when we aggravate the neighbors. Good neighbors are vital to earn and keep.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Aug. 12, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    My Dad used to say that the definition of Environmentalist is the guy who built his cabin on the lake first.

  • A Guy With A Brain Enid, OK
    Aug. 12, 2013 12:10 a.m.

    I really doubt that the person building the large, new home, would feel the same as he does now if somebody built a proportionally LARGER home than his right between his new home and the mountain view, ie, if he had done to him what he's doing to his neighbors right now.

    Just because something is "legal" doesn't make it "right".

  • Gr8Dane Tremonton, UT
    Aug. 11, 2013 10:58 a.m.

    Just plant a row of arborvitaes on the back fence line. They are evergreen, grow quickly, and return your privacy. And if they grow tall enough, they'll block the taller neighbor's view and there's nothing they can do about it. Just saying....

  • PGVikingDad Pleasant Grove, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 11:01 p.m.

    What a ridiculous over-reaction. My house is also situated in the foothills, and the home behind ours towers over us, severely limiting backyard privacy. Our master bedroom also is in the rear of the house, so...we planted trees across the rear property line. Never at any time did I think my good neighbors needed to consider my layout in their home-design plans. If these put-upon homeowners were really that concerned, then they might have done better to allocate that $150k to the purchase of the undeveloped lot, then sell it under their own terms. If you want to dictate how a property is managed, make sure you're the owner. Otherwise, it is none of your business.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 9:39 p.m.

    I find it interesting that a two-story home is considered a "monstrosity." The problem in Utah is systemic. That problem is that too many people are champagne drinkers on a beer budget. The lots are small and the homes are basic. Hoping and praying that the owner of a backyard lot builds a one story home so you can keep your view is selfish in its own right. If you want an unobstructed view, either buy a larger lot or buy the adjacent lot yourself. My neighbors behind my lot built homes that look out over my roof for a fabulous view; however, I now live in a fishbowl where everyone can see into my yard. Well, I also exercised my individual property rights in response. I planted all kinds of tall trees in the back of my yard. This provides the much needed privacy and better yet, it eliminated their view. I guess anything goes in love and war.

  • AZ Blue & Red Gilbert, AZ
    Aug. 10, 2013 5:10 p.m.

    The people below knew that sometime someone was going to build there. If they did not think of that then here is the consequences for not thinking it through. Even a rambler would block the view being on that hill.

    Here in Gilbert people built next to a large track of land that was slated to be a power plant (20 years earlier). For years it did not go in. Then the need was there and the Power plant started to be built. Now all of these people were informed as it was a required disclosure when they built or bought their homes. So when it finally went in they all had major issues. Hello you knew but never thought it through. It is there today and the power company did a fantastic job hiding it. Oh the politics that went with that project. Same with the Mesa Gateway airport. Was quiet for years but it has picked up a lot and now people are complaining. Again disclosure and common sense. If you live by an airport you will get airplanes. Airplanes make noise.

    Like it or not some things we have to live with.

  • On the other hand Riverdale, MD
    Aug. 10, 2013 5:00 p.m.

    In retrospect, the Johnsons should have bought the lot in Layton rather than the one in Kaysville. Live and learn, I guess.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 4:55 p.m.

    Many people in our community are living paycheck to paycheck. They either rent or struggle to make a mortgage payment. I drive a ten your old truck with 185000 miles that I pray never breaks down because I cannot afford to replace it. I am not complaining. This is not a news story to me. I am sick of tired of people whining about property values. Be grateful for your abundance of material possessions. They are all temporary.

  • Hey It's Me Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 4:53 p.m.

    from the pictures there are plenty of moutains to the right and left of the house being built. So you have to glance a little either way but there are still great views even from the picture.

  • utahgrandmother Ogden, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 4:26 p.m.

    Hmmmm. Let's see here. Thirty years ago we built with a beautiful slope behind us where our children would ski down to our patio in the winter. There was a gorgeous view of the mountains. Now, there are houses blocking everything. The new people bought their lots just as I did. I think I ruined the view for the folks below me many years ago. It is the way it is! If someone is within code you have no right to dictate how they build because of your whims! Really?????

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 4:14 p.m.

    I think I was misunderstood just a bit. And understandably.

    I understand the builders of the new home. They have every right to do it if it meets code. It's unfortunate that zoning between two cities isn't planned better, but they have the right.

    My only concern is that when someone has a hard time with this, we have no place judging them for it, which is what several people are doing on here. None of us know how we'd react in that situation and in general, it's very easy to criticize someone, go through the same thing, then sympathize. Most of us have had such misunderstandings in our life at some point.

    All of us have judged where we shouldn't, so all of us should learn that lesson... that we shouldn't.

    Disagree, fine. But the comments on here are condescending and rude towards this family. If there is anything I'll resist, it isn't different views... it's people being rude about it. It does nothing good and quite frankly it's much more embarrassing and despicable than what anyone could rightfully say about this family. End of story.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Aug. 10, 2013 3:32 p.m.

    I read the story of that man whose family was killed by a drunk driver and I thought "man, that is tragic." But I was wrong. Not having a view of the mountains is truly tragic.

  • Most Truthful and Patriotic Layton, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 3:29 p.m.


    The homeowners ttempted to buy the lot and leave it vacant, but that was not allowable. The land was zoned for housing only, and Layton City refused to change.

    Layton is increasingly just "awful". We have a rotting McMansion in our neighborhood, that's 7 years old and unfinished. Layton City should never have allowed it in the first place, as is. But "property rights" prevailed. It was finally bought in a distress sale by people who obviously cannot afford to finish a 4500 sf three-level home in the center of a 1970s subdivision.

    Now everyone is suffering, including the family being pushed around by the new neighbors.
    What if someone found an old access easemen on your property, and instead of just driving over your lawn, they scraped it out, threw down rocks and left it as weeds.
    Then, they drove huge trucks over it ... so heavy that sidewalks on both sides of the street have been crushed.

    All that is life in Layton.

  • souptwins Lindon, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 2:38 p.m.

    I can't believe how often this sort of thing happens-- probably everywhere but because I live here this is where I notice it. If you want to keep the view, buy the lot. If there are lots next to you that have a higher elevation, chances are any house built will sit higher (short of being subterranean). If you want those few deer to keep feeding on the vacant land next to yours, buy it so it stays undeveloped. If you want an access road to the back half of your 5 acres through your neighbor's land, offer to pay market value for it. These are simple principles in a market economy. Some want to talk about being considerate to those already living there, but what about the guy who owns perfectly good property and everyone thinks they can tell him what he can do with it? If you want a say, buy the land yourself.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Aug. 10, 2013 1:35 p.m.

    All good things must come to an end.

    I hope the Johnsons can move along and put things in perspective.

    Plant a large beautiful tree.

    (Goodness, is this part of the "keeping up with the Jones' that is a little too prevalent in Zion?)

  • Delightful Dawn Gilbert, AZ
    Aug. 10, 2013 1:23 p.m.

    First-World problem...this is "news"? Seriously, people.

  • UtahnInCA Tustin, CA
    Aug. 10, 2013 1:22 p.m.

    Hate to tell you this, folks, and it's been a major debate in California for years... but while it may affect a perceived property value, a view can NOT be guaranteed or be bought/paid for!

  • WakeUpNowFR SLC, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 12:11 p.m.

    People are strange, they are constantly angered by trivial things, but on a major matter like totally wasting their lives, they hardly seem to notice. The size and scope of your neighbors home is of no consequence in your life. Be happy, appreciate your amazing fortune to be where you are, and if it suits you reach out to those who are in need. I would imagine that 99% of the world be thrilled to live in that home even with the "eyesore" behind it.

  • DEW Sandy, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 12:01 p.m.

    There got to be a law of people who drive BIG CARS that blocking other drivers with their tiny cars. Come on get a life.

  • Gram Cracker Price, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    OH my. How I wish more of us only had that kind of problem. Life would be bliss.

  • flatlander Omaha, NE
    Aug. 10, 2013 11:51 a.m.

    Sorry Utah that you have such stressing problems. We used to have mountains in Nebraska but they blocked our view of the plains so we had them removed.

  • teecee logan, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 11:30 a.m.

    Maybe you should have built out in the middle of a field. They have a right to build the house. You should have thought ahead and built a tall house, if you wanted the view. dah Hum vacant lot behind me. Hope no one ever builds.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 10:17 a.m.

    I currently live across the street from a vacant lot that gives me unobstructed views of the valley and mountain range. That could easily change when somebody chooses to build there. Will I miss the unobstructed view when that happens? Yes. I understand, however, that I will eventually lose what I currently enjoy.

  • BobDog Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 10:03 a.m.

    I agree with the comments that the only way to secure view and other air rights is to acquire enough property or the type of property that will ensure it. Knowing that a vacant lot exists 50 feet higher than your property is a recipe for this type of result.

    But the homeowner needs to make lemonade from the lemons. The higher home next door will provide wonderful shade to the back yard. As noted, as long as covenants do not prohibit this, trees can be planted along the boundary to reach to the sky and provide privacy and beauty.

    We have a view of downtown Salt Lake in the wintertime, when the leaves fall off the trees that otherwise block our view. This is what we get when we choose to live in a City close to amenities. I know some five acre lots in West Jordan with stunning views of the Oquirrh and Wasatch Mountains that would guaranty a home placement opportunity that could not be obstructed. On the other hand, you would also get to say hi to the horses, cows and pigs living next door.

  • annewandering oakley, idaho
    Aug. 10, 2013 9:55 a.m.

    We had a very nice view of the mountains. We would sit out on the porch and relax enjoying the view. We have a playhouse across the street that while it is great it has created a mess for us. It is historic and puts on great plays. Problem is they decided they needed storage room so they built an adjacent building. Ok. They build a monstrosity that completely blocks the view, which was not necessary if they had given thought and reoriented the building. Not only is it huge, destroying the view, it is faced with unpainted waferboard. Now that is a pretty sight indeed. It has been that way now for at least three years. We no longer sit on the front porch. We feel like we are in an industrial zone. It does no good to complain. This is a small town and does as it likes which is ok generally.
    Their story and ours are much too common and are almost always brought on by people not considering other people. They just dont care and that is endemic in our society.

  • ParkCityAggie Park City, Ut
    Aug. 10, 2013 9:44 a.m.

    I saw some additional photo's over on KSL. What is not accurately represented here is the fact that the lot in back of these folks is considerably higher, you'll notice the back yard slopes up. The problem is that these people cannot enforce a height restriction on the neighboring property using the existing grade of their home. That's life in the mountains. Chances are someone else will always be higher up on the hill. So ya, the proper things for these folks to have done to preserve their view would have been to purchase the property. Oh and the loss of property values argument is laughable. When the appraiser comes to your house does he/she walk around it and assess the view? No, they look at comparables, square footages, upgrades within the home (counter tops flooring, etc). The fact that a home in the back might tower over your backyard might detract some from buying it is a valid point, but proving dropped home value would be near impossible. Good luck.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Aug. 10, 2013 9:41 a.m.

    This sort of thing also causes a great deal of grief for those on America's coastlines. Those living in fabulous ocean views homes frequently deal with this. It began in the 1960s when people began building 3 story homes. People with the one story homes not only lost their ocean view, but the sunshine. It has become a normal every day issue, that city government has no control over. Even if they spent millions on their homes, residents/neighbors have realized they must live and let live.

  • mcdugall Murray, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 9:34 a.m.

    @I know it. I Live it. I Love it.

    As we all know money rules every aspect of life in Utah. The City of Layton has shown over the years they will let anyone build whatever they want as long as the pay for the permits and increases the city coffers. As a previous resident of Layton, I am not shocked. Ultimately it comes down to the social prevalence in Utah, one is judges by one's possessions, and a 4000+ sqft house ranks among one of the things everyone tries to achieve to elevate their status in the community.

  • Edgar Samaria, ID
    Aug. 10, 2013 9:22 a.m.

    marxist - "..if somebody stuck a high rise behind his Alpine McMansion" then he would deserve what he got. Because he didn't check to understand, before he built his Alpine McMansion, that zoning laws allowed the highrise to be built. But I think that is one of the reasons he chose to build/buy in Alpine, because zoning laws prohibit it. I'm stunned that you, of all people, are standing up for the people who want to deny a simple homeowner his rights granted by the laws of the land. I thought you were on the side of the common man, not on the side of the herd mentality that only wants what they want, not what is best for the community. Zoning laws are enacted by elected officials - elected by the people - and if the people don't like it there is a due process to change it. But whining and crying in the newspaper will not work, ever.

  • Silent Lurker Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 8:55 a.m.

    Must be a really slow news day, let's see we have a mother that was asked to leave a cafe, a home owner who lost their view of the mountains, and a football program which already celebrates too much after every play wanting to celebrate even more. That about covers it. Definitely a slow news day at the DN.

  • Cedarite Cedar City, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 8:43 a.m.

    The people behind me built a tall tower-house to get the view over the top of my house, so we planted a bunch of trees so they can't see into every room in the house like it's a fishbowl. I don't notice them unless their dog barks at 3 am, and they still have the blinding sun streaming in first thing each morning since they oriented their tower view home to maximize it. Win-win!

  • Mom of 8 Hyrum, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 8:43 a.m.

    "Very tragic for our family"?!

    First world problems, dear--merely first world problems.

    Take your children to see some third world families and how they live.
    Gain some perspective.
    Do some good for other people, instead of whining about a non-issue.
    Thank God every day you have a house.

    This is embarrassing.

  • KTar Boise, ID
    Aug. 10, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    While I don't think "tragic" is the appropriate word (I usually save that one for death), I do agree that it would be frustrating to be in this situation. I, for one, put a high value on my privacy and personal space. In this situation, I would most likely move as well.

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 7:39 a.m.

    I don't think this situation calls for sarcasm. I agree with the homeowners who have lost their view of the mountains. Many times they choose an area so they can have the gorgeous view of our Utah mountains. Evidently the new owners never considered anyone's feelings but their own. It would be interesting how they would react if the shoe was on the other foot.

  • georgiaonmymind1 Lawrenceville, GA
    Aug. 10, 2013 7:17 a.m.

    The trees block my view of the sky! Sheesh people get a grip! I know you don't stand outside staring at the mountains all day. You are blessed to live in an area where you are surrounded by mountains. We were just out there for a visit and they were everywhere!

  • mightyhunterhaha Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 7:02 a.m.

    This is the pot calling the kettle black. A Brighton Homes Subdivision went in Kaysville near Gailey Park. Those homes tower over the homes in the Happy Homes Subdivision. Those homes can stare into the yards and windows of the smaller homes. If Hiatt wants to protest he better make sure he does so in a fair way to all Kaysville residents.

  • Edgar Samaria, ID
    Aug. 10, 2013 6:49 a.m.

    I know it, I live it...I don't think The Utah Republican was being rude, he/she was just pointing out the absurdity of the comments made in the article. Or perhaps it was the naiveté of the residents of this neighborhood. Why would someone assume that they could maintain a million dollar view for perpetuity unless the vacant land allowing that view was situated such such that no one could build a house blocking the view? Or, as Disney Mom points out, they purchased the land themselves. The photo in the article illustrates that even a single story house would block the view of the mountain. The second story of that house mostly blocks blue sky. The property is in an adjacent city, with different zoning laws. Why wouldn't someone understand that before they invested $150,000 in landscaping upgrades based on the fact that the view would always be there. And now, having failed to do their due diligence in these matters, why should they assume that something can be done to change the law. Actually, I've changed my mind, this is not naiveté, it is just plain arrogance.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    Aug. 10, 2013 6:12 a.m.

    It sounds like their home had a vacant lot behind it. Those things can always change. Especially on the the border.

    The lot behind them looks to be on a higher incline, and two story home besides.

    It may hinder sale of their home, but values are based in zip code and square feet. Upgrades aren't considered anymore in thei very bizarre housing market. Don't matter if you have expensive floors and the rest of the block has carpet. Doesnt matter if you have a new kitchen. Square feet and zip code are all that matter in valuation.

  • bamball Mesa, AZ
    Aug. 10, 2013 12:50 a.m.

    It's interesting how everyone is pro-property rights in a libertarian way, until it directly affects their own personal interests.

    I may be going out on a limb here--a limb safely behind any landscaping setbacks--but I wonder if last year, before the offending house was ever designed, if the soon-to-be-offended family and neighbors were asked what they felt about property rights and governments telling them what they could or could not build on their own land, they would have probably screamed in unison that the govt better not tell them what to do, because this is America, and it's their God-given libertarian right to do whatever they feel is in their own best interest. Sounds to me like a typical Utah answer.

    Now they want help, crying to their gubbermint officials, because the next town over is more libertarian and loose in the zoning laws, allowing a house to legally loom over their property. Can't have it both ways. Do you believe in hands-off libertarianism only when it suits you, for you and your kin, but not for others?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 11:44 p.m.

    Well, Alpine I believe has the highest median income in the state of Utah. Where is the guy from Alpine putting his emphasis? Well, frankly, I'm ashamed of him. Also, I wonder how'd he like it if somebody stuck a high rise behind his Alpine McMansion?

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 11:14 p.m.

    First world problems "tragic"

  • DisneyMom Monroe, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 10:03 p.m.

    The home being built meets city zoning ordinances. If a homeowner is so concerned what might be built behind their home - buy the property. Then you can be sure no one blocks your view! No whining!

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 9:58 p.m.

    The Utah Republican,

    Please, I will do you the respect of asking kindly. Please, as a fellow Utahn, show a little more compassion and respect to your fellow Utahns. There is no good thing that will ever come from treating others with such judgement and condemnation.

    It's very easy to judge someone else when they live a different life than you do. You don't know these people, their past, and who they are. You and I both have no right to judge them.

    1) By decreasing their property value, this affects them directly. Pretending it doesn't is a lie.
    2) If you disagree, fine. Post your address to the world and invite everyone to come over at 3:00 AM with loud-speaker PA systems and blast your ears... every single night for the rest of your life.

    Surely that is a fair comparison to an eye sore. But then again, you might want to put your treasures in a better place than in your beauty sleep.

    I think the sound would resonate quite nicely off those Alpine mountains. I imagine you have a great view too. Enjoying it?

  • The Utah Republican Alpine, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 8:55 p.m.

    So ... "Heaven on earth" is determined by how close and tall your neighbor's house is?


    “It’s just been a very, very tragic thing for our family,”


    Maybe it would be better to put your treasures in a better place than in house and yard upgrades. I can think of a few good causes. How about an education or micro-loan program for people who live in the favelas, or in Soweto?

    Dang I'm ashamed of Utah tonight.