Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Court questions state eminent domain law
UDOT case » Taking more land than a project needs will get a closer look.
First Published Jun 24 2014 03:25 pm • Last Updated Jun 27 2014 07:38 pm

The Utah Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a closer look at whether the Utah Department of Transportation violated the Utah Constitution by condemning more land than it actually needed for a road project.

Justices sent the case back to 3rd District Court saying Judge Todd M. Shaughnessy failed to look at that constitutional question in his decision siding with UDOT based on state laws governing eminent domain.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

It comes in a case filed by Michael Carlson, who owned land that UDOT said it needed for expansion of 11400 South in Draper and construction of Utah Transit Authority’s Draper TRAX line.

Carlson owned about 15 acres, and UDOT needed only 1.2 acres for the projects. However, the agency sought to condemn all of it, the court said, "to avoid the cost and inconvenience" of litigating how a partial taking would decrease the value of the remaining property.

The Supreme Court also noted that UDOT planned to sell the remainder of the land "or exchange it for other property needed for highway purposes."

Justice Thomas Lee wrote the unanimous opinion for the high court, saying justices agree that state law expressly allows such action by UDOT. But it said the lower court did not directly address assertions that the law violates the state constitution, which allows property to be taken only for "public use."

"Carlson’s constitutional claim raises difficult questions without any clear answers in applicable precedent," the opinion said. It added those questions had not been addressed fully in arguments to the Supreme Court, which focused mostly on the state law.

So it ordered the lower court to hear arguments on the constitutionality of the law to build a more substantial factual record on the issue. It said a lower court rehearing would also allow UDOT to better define the "public use" involved in taking more land than it needs.




Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.