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Developer: Help on way for N. Salt Lake landslide family

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(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Neighbors console members of the Utrilla family (Ismael Utrilla in red shorts) after touring their home that was destroyed in a landslide in North Salt Lake. Residents returned to homes along Parkway Drive in North Salt Lake Wednesday Aug. 6, 2014, a day after a landslide destroyed the home and others had to be evacuated.

By pamela manson

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Aug 08 2014 12:27PM
Updated Aug 8, 2014 10:13PM

North Salt Lake • Members of an extended family whose house was destroyed this week in a landslide could have a new roof over their heads within months.

Eaglepointe Development — which built the home that collapsed Tuesday as rocks and mud washed down on it — announced Friday it is donating a $130,000 lot in the same neighborhood to the Utrilla family and working to raise the estimated $500,000 to build a new house there.

Scott Kjar, the company’s vice president, said Eaglepointe has set up a website, utrillafamily.wordpress.com, in response to the many calls from neighbors, fellow members of the family’s LDS ward and community members wanting to help. In addition to soliciting the public’s help, the company is asking its associates in the construction industry to contribute to the effort, he said.

In general, it takes four to six months to build a new house, Kjar said. The Utrillas, who are staying in two Eaglepointe condominiums, owned their home free and clear, he said.

The news was a relief to the family, according to David Utrilla, a relative who lives in his own home nearby.

"If nothing else, it takes away the uncertainty," he said.

Heavy overnight rains triggered the landslide that began in the vicinity of 739 S. Parkway Drive about 6:15 a.m. Tuesday, leading to the evacuation of 27 families. No one was injured but the Utrilla house was crushed.

Utrilla said the house was occupied by a dozen of his family members who came to Utah from Peru — his parents, a sister, two brothers, a sister-in-law and six of his nieces and nephews. Eight of them were in the house when the landslide hit, Utrilla said, and scrambled to get out, some wearing only pajamas.

"They really feel it’s a miracle that they’re alive," said Utrilla, who is honorary consul to Peru in Utah.

Most of the families have returned, but four homes — including the Utrillas’ — are considered too dangerous to occupy. Utrilla said the family hopes to be able to retrieve the possessions that are irreplaceable, such as journals and pictures.

The cause of the landslide has not been determined. North Salt Lake is looking into possible factors that contributed to it and gathering data on the slope to prepare a long-term plan to remediate the site.

SKY Properties, the marketing arm for Eaglepointe Development, had an evaluation conducted last year of the ground for Eaglepointe Estates, which is located about 950 S. Parkway Drive. In a June 2013 report, GSH Geotechnical determined the slope around the hilltop site, which is above the Utrilla home, was "globally stable."

City officials are wondering if any construction took place without a permit, including the installation of a retaining wall, that could have violated the study’s recommendations.

All work by his company was approved, according to Kjar. He said Eaglepointe Development was "wiping aside all the conflicts" related to the landslide to focus on helping the Utrillas get a new home.

pmanson@sltrib.com

Twitter: @PamelaMansonSLC

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