Eminent domain would be curbed: Salt Lake City UT Tribune, 2/2/07

HB334 Deals with eminent domain issues; Next step: Moves to the full House

By Rosemary Winters

The [Utah] House Government Operations Committee advanced a bill Thursday that adds to restrictions placed on eminent domain in 2006. It also might prove useful in a Mapleton land dispute.

HB334 would re-enforce the idea that property condemnation cannot be used for recreational trails, and it would forbid using the power to establish emergency access ways. It also declares that the trail prohibition has always been part of Utah law.

Although the bill's sponsor - Aaron Tilton, R-Springville, - told the committee that courts are not bound by intent language, the measure is supported by Wendell Gibby, who is engaged in a legal fight with Mapleton City. For years, the city has been trying to establish a public right of way through Gibby's 120 hillside acres to provide emergency access for fighting wildfires and a connection to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. "There are parties who are using legislation to attempt to manipulate litigation" that is going on now, said Rep. Lorie Fowlke, R-Orem, one of two committee members to vote against the bill. "I have a real, real problem with intent language."

Salt Lake City UT Tribune: http://www.sltrib.com