Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image Stansbury residents living along Lakeview and Lakeside Drive are concerned about a new development planned along Highway 138. Residents worry the new development won’t have the same code enforcement and look as current homes do.

July 23, 2013
Stansbury resident decries Northport approval

A Delagada Estates resident is fighting the approval of a subdivision that some Stansbury Park residents say will turn their quiet neighborhood into a major thoroughfare for motorists to travel in and out of the community.

The Tooele County Planning Commission approved the plat for Phase I of Northport Village at its June 5 meeting. The development will have over five dozen homes.

James Lear, who lives on Delgada Lane, presented an appeal to that approval at the Tooele County Commission’s July 16 meeting.

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,” said Lear, quoting the 1976 movie “Network.” “I’m tired of the county ignoring the rights of citizens and apparently favoring developers.”

Following a  tense exchange between himself and Tooele County Planner Kerry Beutler, Lear walked out of the commission meeting before commissioners took action on the appeal.

Lear later explained to the Transcript-Bulletin that he left the meeting because he was late in departing for a business meeting in southern Nevada.

Lear appealed the planning commission’s decision on behalf of himself and other residents of Delgada Estates, Bayshore Drive, and Captain’s Island who are concerned that the approved plat for Northport will affect the safety of their neighborhood and their investment in their homes.

Northport Village, developed by Henry Walker Homes, a Centerville-based home builder, will place 64 homes along a narrow stretch of land on the north shore of Stansbury Lake between Pequeno Road and Schooner Lane.

Lear’s concern for the Northport Village plan centers on the proposed connection of Delgada Road and Schooner Lane.

“It is a safety issue,” he said. “Connect those two roads and you will have 5,000 vehicle trips a day traveling down Bayshore Drive to Schooner Lane to get out of Stansbury Park.”

According to Lear, the county did not comply with a state law that requires that all people affected by a road change be sent a notification of a public hearing. The law also requires a sign to be posted announcing the proposed change and the requisite pubic hearing at the site of the proposed change.

“The county is trying to sneak a road change through as a plat approval,” Lear said. “Stansbury residents’ constitutional rights of due process have been violated, state statutory requirements have been ignored, and local codes have been violated or grossly distorted.”

Beutler told the county commission that the state statute quoted by Lear only applies to existing roads.

“In this case the law does not apply because the county is building a new road,” said Beutler.

The connection of Schooner Lane and Delgada Lane is consistent with the master plan for the area, according to Beutler.

The connection of the two roads is required by county code because Pequeno Lane provides the only access into Northport Village. County code requires any subdivision with more than 40 homes to have two entrances.

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

“There are already 28 homes in Delgada Estates that 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 Beutler.

Lear worked on a compromise with Henry Walker Homes that called for a tire-ripper protected exit at the connection of Schooner and Delgada Lanes that would allow emergency vehicles to enter Delgada Lane from Schooner Lane, but only allow local traffic to go west onto Schooner Lane. A remote controlled gate to be placed on Pequeno Road would prevent Stansbury Park residents from using Delgada Lane as a route in and out of Stansbury.

The compromise fell apart moments before the county commission meeting when Lear received a copy of Henry Walker’s response to his appeal, Lear said.

The response indicated that the Utah Department of Transportation nixed the idea of a gate on Pequeno Road over concerns of cars backing up on SR-138 waiting to turn on to Pequeno Road.

Lear’s compromise also addressed two other issues. It called for a water feature promised by Leucadia Corporation, the developer of Delgada Estates, that was started eight years ago and has yet to be completed.

“It was something that was promised but never finished,” said Lear. “Somebody has to keep an eye on developers.”

The proposed agreement also required that Henry Walker Homes adopt the conditions, covenants and restrictions, except for setback requirements, used by Delgada Estates.

“County zoning ordinances require that planned unit developments, which Northport is, be compatible with other property in the neighborhood,” said Lear. “But the county and the developer have not divulged any proposed CCR’s for the development which would include architectural standards.”

The county commission voted to consider the issues raised in the appeal and announce a decision at a later date.

“If the commission doesn’t support the appeal and follow due process, I’m prepared to take the case to the District and State Supreme Court,” said Lear. “I just get mad when government tramples on citizen’s rights and does not follow due process.”

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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