In accord with a recent lawsuit settlement, Tooele City has agreed to complete several community improvement projects in the Overlake area.
On Aug. 20 the Tooele City Council unanimously approved a resolution to finish the incomplete improvements, even though city code requires that such work is the responsibility of the developer.
The decision helps bring to an end a protracted conflict between Overlake’s developers and the city.
However, members of the city council indicated that the unanimous vote came only “under protest” because they still believe that Overlake’s developers — Tooele Associates and Perry Homes — should have completed the improvements.
“The whole thing, we believe and have done from the very beginning, that the jury got it wrong, and that none of this should be our responsibility,” said Mayor Patrick Dunlavy. “But in order for this to work, in order for us to improve the city’s position, you have to give — and this was something we were willing to give.”
The original jury verdict awarded a judgment against Overlake’s developers regarding the unfinished improvements, but Dunlavy said the city agreed to accept and complete them at the city’s expense in exchange for the settlement that brought the 12-year legal battle to a close two weeks ago.
In that settlement, the city council unanimously allowed the city to substitute the value of water rights for new construction in Overlake in lieu of part of $20.7 million in damages that a jury awarded to Overlake’s developers.
Tooele Associates filed suit against Tooele City in 2002 and claimed, among other things, that the city required public improvements in Overlake to meet standards not required of other developers, and that the city refused to recognize prior admissions that some public improvements were complete. The city filed a countersuit claiming that Tooele Associates violated the development agreement by not completing required public improvements.
Last week’s resolution accepted the current state of 400 West, which remains unfinished, as well as a couple of unfinished fire hydrants and inoperable water valves. Because of the council’s vote, the developers of Overlake are not required to finish them.
The city will likely uncover the water valves, which were paved over during some roadwork, and will likely also finish the curb, gutter and sidewalk on 400 West.
Dunlavy said the city is still putting together definitive plans for how to address the incomplete improvements. Overall costs are not known at this time.