Landowners ask Government to Settle
By Stacey Giatras
Landowners in Pleasant View City began a series of battles with the city a decade ago over basic property rights and utilities. The current dispute consists of efforts to use an existing sewer line and to obtain a building permit for a proposed medical/dental complex. According to Paul Mackley, part owner of M&M Storage, “No building permits are in sight until the legal dust settles unless a compromise to use the existing sewer line can be obtained.”
To give a little of the history- in 2004, owners of 76 acres located just off Highway 89 were awarded by a judge the right to disconnect from the city. Construction of a private sewer line by M&M storage owners Reed and Paul Mackley was key in the Judge awarding the disconnect. Landowner Reed Mackley estimates that the city spent $50,000-$75,000 during the legal battle in efforts to keep the properties of these 5 landowners from leaving the city. Since then, some owners have been annexed back into the city on negotiated development terms.
John Hansen and Brent Bailey developed one of the parcels that became a part of Pleasant View once again. They purchased a lot where the current Mountain View Landings development lies on the corner of 2700 North and Highway 89. As this property returned to Pleasant View, Hansen arranged a deal with the city that involved a sewer easement across M&M property that is currently being legally contested.
In planning with the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) John Hansen realized that UTA had threatened to make use of M&M property for the light rail. John took advantage of the threat of land seizure by imminent domain and brokered a deal with the city and UTA that involved hundreds of thousands of dollars. (UTA later settled justly with M&M out of court for damages caused to M&M.) John Hansen provided the city with a contested easement that allowed the city and John Hansen’s development to cross M&M property with the city sewer. A notice to stop work was given to John Hansen and Brent Bailey Construction and to Pleasant View by M&M prior to construction. The city received and recorded the notice, but the order went unheeded, and construction began.
According to Reed Mackley, M&M would have given up the easement had certain concessions been made by the city allowing their property to be zoned in a way that would allow them to develop in a manner respectful of private property rights. He said, “We made an agreement with the city, and they didn’t come through with their promises.” These events resulted in M&M seeking legal recompense.
Now, owners of M&M say they are being blocked from acquiring a permit to build another business on their land by an order from Central Weber Sewer District. According to current Pleasant View City Mayor, Doug Clifford, who serves on the board for the sewer district, “The Sewer Board has regulations as to the size and number of connections, and this sewer was built with a single-use permit.” Central Weber has communicated with the Boyer Company and indicated that the possibility exists that they could connect to the Mackley line, but have repeatedly denied the Mackleys’ application to connect to the Central Weber line. Reed Mackley states that he has never been shown evidence supporting this assertion. (Mayor Clifford was not serving as mayor when this property rights battle began in 2007.)
Owners of M&M are currently preparing for litigation, but would prefer to work with the Mayor and City Council to resolve the matter out of court. If the city continues the legal battle, Mackley estimates it will cost taxpayers around $100,000. He emphasizes that Pleasant View would benefit by having this land as a part of their city and having more businesses paying more taxes. If the quiet title being sought by M&M is awarded by a judge, Mountain View Landing and all the owners and tenants would need to seek sewer services elsewhere.
Owners of M&M Storage note the fact that M&M has never lost a legal action in regards to property rights, but they would favor negotiating terms out of court as they did with UTA. Mayor Clifford of Pleasant View is shown.