Brighton Estates-Wasatch County Dispute Returns To Fourth District Court
A judge in Fourth District Court on Friday issued a ruling in a legal dispute that’s been pending for five years between property owners in the Brighton Estates neighborhood, near Bonanza Flat, and Wasatch County.
The owners have charged that the county illegally prevented them from having wintertime access to their homes.
Judge Jennifer Brown came out with a split decision.
The Brighton Estates Property Owners Association and three individual owners filed suit in 2016, objecting because the Wasatch Council voted to prohibit snow plowing on portions of Pine Canyon Road used to access the neighborhood. They also installed a gate on the road to prevent snow plowing and vehicle access.
In the hearing on Friday, Sept. 24th, the judge ruled on the property owners’ complaint that both actions were a violation of the state’s land-use law.
On the first item, she ruled for the Wasatch Council, saying they didn’t violate the law when they denied a snow-plowing contract the owners had sought for the road. She said the land-use statute doesn’t apply to a maintenance contract with a third-party for an existing road.
On the second issue, though, Judge Brown ruled against the gate blocking Pine Canyon Road.
Attorney Paxton Guymon represents the owners. Writing to KPCW later, he said the judge correctly recognized that before blocking a public road, the county should have provided notice to the public and should have given citizens a chance to provide their input and opinions. He added, “Government entities should not make such significant decisions on the fly.”
The Judge remanded a decision on the gate back to the Wasatch County Council.
Also contacted by KPCW, the county’s attorney, Bart Kunz, said there are other outstanding issues in the lawsuit and the county will take some time to consider how to proceed.