Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Open Space for Everyone

According to the DesNews today, the Salt Lake City Council is going to consider tonight rezoning North Salt Lake's 80 acres (and an additional 20 acres of privately owned property) to its newly created Natural Open Space zone.

I have blogged on this topic earlier, saying that I didn't really think such a zone was legally defensible. I had a conversation recently with Lynn Pace, one of SLC's staff attorneys, and he tells me generally I am right, but in this case there are some real ambiguities.

Yes, Lynn agreed, if such an Open Space zone were applied entirely to a privately owned piece of land, then get out your checkbook, you have probably just bought it. But if an private parcel is not entirely zoned with such a designation, and there is some economically viable use left of at least a portion of the property?

Or in the case of a governmental entity owning the land (even if it isn't the same entity as the one imposing the new zone, when that land was acquired via eminent domain for a purpose other than development)?

So Lynn does make it clear, there are some real ambiguities here that we are not really sure how the courts would view it. The whole thing may have to go to court to find out. Hmmmm.


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At 6:11 PM, Blogger Former Centerville Citizen said...

From what I understand, several years ago Judge Tena Campbell upheld SLC's decision to keep some sort of open space zoning designation on land owned by Mt. Olivet Cemetery Association on the east side of East High's football stadium. If memory is serving me correctly some company wanted to purchase the land to build a retirement home, but SLC was insistent that it remain open space. From what I understand the open space designation that the land is zoned as would allow something like a golf course, so it might be different from a "natural open space" zone. Maybe you know more about this, Wilf.


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