Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

September 5, 2013
Commissioners OK new subdivision for Stansbury but matter may still land in court

The Tooele County Commissioners approved an agreement Tuesday for a new subdivision between the north shore of Stansbury Lake and SR-138.

The development and subdivison agreement is with Henry Walker Construction, which has proposed to build Northport Village. But one Stansbury resident says he’s going to take the matter to court.

James Lear, a Delgada Estates resident, presented an appeal to the county planning commission’s approval of Northport Village at the county commission’s July 19 meeting.

Lear is not satisfied with the commission’s response to his appeal.

“I’m tired of the county’s contorted interpretation of county code,” he said. “Their actions jeopardize the health, welfare, and safety of the people that live nearby. All I want is for the county to enforce their own ordinances.”

Much of Lear’s initial appeal centered on the planning commission’s requirement for a connection between Delgada and Schooner Lanes.

The county commissioners sent Lear a letter, dated Aug. 20, which stated that while they were upholding the approval of Northport Phase I, they were denying the planning commission’s recommendation that a connector road between Schooner and Delgada Lanes be included in the Northport Village Development agreement.

Lear opposed the connection because it had the potential of adding 5,000 vehicle trips per day to Delgada Lane as Stansbury residents used the route to enter and exit Stansbury.

The connection of the two roads was required by the planning commission because Pequeno Lane provides the only access into Northport Village, which eventually will have 64 homes. County code requires any subdivision with more than 39 homes must have two entrances.

In their response to Lear’s appeal, the county commission suggested that the developer should either provide a second access road or apply for a variance from the ordinance for future phases of the subdivision.

“The denial of the Schooner and Delgada Lane connection takes care of one issue,” said Lear. “But there are others.”

Lear said his lawsuit will be based on the county’s interpretation of when the need for the second road is triggered and the failure of the county to comply with the law and provide the opportunity for residents to review and be heard in the approval process.

Lear contends that allowing Northport Village to build up to 39 homes without a second access point is a distortion of county code.

“The county is totally ignoring the fact that 28 homes in Delgada Estates already use Pequeno Road as their only entrance and exit,” he said. “Add another 12 homes in Northport and you are at 40 homes using Pequeno Road and a second access should be required.”

The county planning department has always interpreted the county code to only require a second access when an individual subdivision exceeds 40 homes, according to Kerry Beutler, Tooele County planner.

Lear also points out that county code requires the developer to submit covenants, conditions and restrictions (CCR) as part of the preliminary plat approval, however the CCRs are traditionally not made public until they are recorded along with the first sale in the subdivision.

Tooele County zoning ordinances also require that planned unit developments, which Northport is, be compatible with other property in the neighborhood.

“Residents in the area have the right to review the CCRs and make comments if they are concerned that the new subdivision may be incompatible and affect the value of their investment,” Lear said. “The county has not given them that opportunity.”

Lear has notified the Tooele County planning department and commissioners that he intends to file an appeal in the 3rd District Court.

“The county has done things like this in Stansbury before,” he said. “I’m not letting it happen again.”

Tim Gillie

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim covers education, Tooele City government, business, real estate, politics and the state Legislature. He became a journalist after a long career as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Tim is a native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University.

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