SLC land swap undone by Utah Supreme Court

Posted at 2:59 PM, Mar 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-26 16:59:57-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The state’s top court has undone a land swap between Salt Lake City and Rocky Mountain Power, ruling the city improperly condemned a piece of land to make the deal with the power company.

In the ruling handed down Friday, the Utah Supreme Court said the city did not follow proper procedures when it condemned a patch of land at 436 West 400 North belonging to Evans Development LLC, then turned around and tried to swap that land with some owned by Rocky Mountain Power.

“We hold that although a property exchange may not be altogether prohibited by our eminent domain statutes, it may not be accomplished in the manner attempted here. The City in this case failed to follow statutory requirements that the condemnor be in charge of the public use to which the property will be put and to oversee the construction of that public use,” Utah Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham wrote.

“Here, the City was the sole condemnor, but it was Rocky Mountain Power that was to be in charge of the public use of building and operating an electrical substation. This arrangement would leave Evans without recourse to bring an action against the City to recover the property if the substation was not built within a reasonable time.”

The court ordered the land returned to Evans.

Read the Utah Supreme Court’s opinion here: