NORTH SALT LAKE, Utah (ABC 4 News) – The City of North Salt Lake has officially come out and said it's not responsible for the landslide that occurred two weeks ago.
Residents got the bad news Tuesday evening when a letter was posted to the city's website. In the letter the city said, “The City did not cause the slide nor could it have safely done anything to prevent the slide from occurring after it began to manifest itself.
"We weren't up there we weren't moving dirt; we didn't do anything to cause the slide,” said Mayor Len Arave. “I thought it was important for the citizens as a whole to understand that we don't think we're responsible."
North Salt Lake says current state law requires the city to approve any subdivision that meets the city’s ordinances. Sky Properties provided the tests showing that they could build there if they followed a set of guidelines and so, the mayor says, the city was forced to give them the green light.
"We can't capriciously turn property owners down from developing their property, and if they follow the steps that they're supposed to and come in with their experts,” explained Arave. “But we can't, the state hasn't given us the ability to turn those things down."
ABC 4 contacted several real estate and developmental lawyers, but many are representing clients in this case and couldn't comment on camera. However, one did confirm that there is a state statute that dictates the extent at which cities and counties can regulate land use.
For those affected in the slide, like Brad Ferreira owner of Eagleridge Tennis and Swim Club, it's still unclear if those state requirements shelter the city from any responsibility.
Ferreira said, "We're trying to see where we stand, the first step was getting the club open and the next step is to try to asses the damages and how to fix it.
While they're not claiming responsibility, North Salt Lake says “how to fix it” is also their first priority.
Mayor Arave said, "We still plan on being involved. We still plan on working with citizens, with the developer and the other up there to find a solution.”
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