When we first reported this story in March, it may have stirred or further inflamed citizen distrust of developers, and also of officials’ ability to keep developers in line with local building ordinances and codes.
Time will tell if disciplinary action taken by the Tooele County Commission last week — and a developer’s compliance with that action — lessens such distrust.
As reported in last Thursday’s edition, the County Commission voted on May 7 to vacate a portion of Sunset Road in Lake Point after Saddleback developer Chris Robinson had already closed that portion months ago without receiving prior and required approval from the county.
Robinson had evidently closed it after opening an extension of Saddleback Boulevard to Lakeshore Drive to serve as a new collector road for Saddleback residents.
But before the County Commission voted to vacate the road, it heard an apology from Robinson and ordered him to spend $10,000 on park equipment as approved by the Saddleback Homeowner’s Association. He must also complete two community parks by the end of the year.
“I’m extremely apologetic for not following procedure and for whatever transgressions or sins I’ve committed in getting the cart before the horse,” Robinson told the County Commission. “I made the mistake in opening the road last fall. I made a mistake in so doing. I should have just left it closed … I apologize that I put you in a position where I am trying your patience and my likability with you.”
The road closure became news after a March 6 Tooele County Planning Commission meeting during which Lake Point residents complained about the closure and the new road extension.
The planning commission voted 5-1 to recommend that the County Commission approve vacating the road, even though the planning commission conceded it was all after-the-fact. It was noted, however, that the closure and road extension were consistent with the Saddleback development agreement between Robinson and the county which was approved in 1998.
The County Commission is commended for essentially fining Robinson; to have allowed the road closure without consequence would have been a regrettable mistake. Furthermore, Robinson has often reminded county officials and the public about the 1998 Saddleback development agreement with the county — and for county officials to adhere to the contract. You’d think for being such a stickler about the contract, Robinson would apply that same principle to himself when it comes to county ordinances. And especially since he has a seat on the Summit County Council.
But Robinson is also commended for owning his choice that resulted in the disciplinary action. Instead of playing the victim and resorting to blame game tactics, he openly revealed that he was accountable and apologized.
Even better, Robinson apologized without trying to justify his actions. In this day and age, such an apology is rare and refreshing to hear. Robinson evidently lives the maxim: Never ruin a sincere apology with an excuse.
It remains to be seen whether or not the County Commission’s disciplinary action will deter other developers from making similar mistakes. But one thing is certain: a needed line in the sand has been drawn.