Grand County Attorney Christina Sloan said that these are administrative rather than judicial appeals, so I don’t see why there are case numbers, but there are.
- Murphy Flats: 210700024
- Sandstone Cottages: 210700025
- Peak View: None
The response documents are new as of yesterday.
- Peak View appeal
- Murphy Flats appeal
- Sandstone Cottages appeal
Appeal hearing dates
- Sandstone Cottages
- Monday, May 3 at 1:00 p.m.
- Peak View
- Tuesday, May 4 at 9:00 a.m.
- Murphy Flats
- Thursday, May 6 at 9:00 a.m.
Some quotes from the appeals and responses
The Johnsons (whose project is Peak View) said that the rules and regulations are administrative rule changes that “materially amend” the ordinance.
They liken this to a case where the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing adopted a rule that candidates for psychologist licensing have a degree whose content was primarily psychological. The court held that this was an invalid rule that “engrafted” onto the law that specified that the doctoral degree specifically be in psychology.
In the Peak View case, the Johnsons claimed that the new rules constitute an “attempt to engraft additional requirements” onto the existing HDHO rules. They cite the part of the code that reads as follows:
But then, they get to the heart of the matter:
This feels like it’s really addressing the core thing here. The enforcement section is at odds with the rest of the ordinance insofar as the county is able to (at least try to) exploit it to reach a legislative end administratively.
If the county is able to convince the appeal officer (and, possibly later, a judge) that this was an administrative rather than legislative decision, then the change doesn’t violate any kind of vested interest by the developers.
If not, the developers have a vested right to be able to sell their units to outside investors, and the new rules and regulations can only be applied to HDHO developments that are accepted in 2021 or later.
The rest appears to be subordinate issues. Some of it is throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks; other parts are completing the argument that follow if they can prove the hardest part: that the rules and regulations were a legislative rather than administrative change.
The key is whether the appeal officer will let Sloan talk long enough to badger him (it’s a him; I just can’t remember his name) into believing that this was the HDHO intent all along (even though the thing reads to clearly indicate otherwise).
How the defense is busted
Piece by piece:
rich in density after County approval of its zoning map amendment
How generous of the county to allow developers to do their job of building housing. I’m sure that additional (and certainly not “rich”) density doesn’t benefit the county at all.
and with much money to gain
Does Sloan realize that the county also gains when developers gain? Property tax!
seeks to invalidate the Rules and Regulation
What they’re actually seeking to do is reverse the new part of the rules that prohibit them from selling to outside investors.
in an attempt to undermine the effectiveness of the HDHO Ordinance
I’m sure those evil developers really are hoping to undermine the ordinance that enabled their development. That for sure seems plausible.
the County’s award-winning workforce housing legislation.
The department that won that award is against the current county commission on this matter.
The commission didn’t really zero in on anything. They voted down the HDHO at first but brought it back with amendments; they certainly didn’t discuss this ownership versus occupancy issue during that interim period.
Based on the discussions I’ve reviewed, that point only ever came up when Grand County Council Member Evan Clapper asked Affordable Housing and Economic Development Coordinator JD McClanahan about it, and it was before the first vote.
That exchange was on June 5, 2018. It was perhaps the only occasions in which the subject of an outside owner renting to locals was explicitly mentioned.
The question came amid a discussion between county staff and the county council about the core mechanics of the HDHO: Using deed restrictions rather than price caps or appreciation caps to achieve affordability.
Clapper asked McClanahan, “If the homeowner doesn’t live here, but they’re renting it out, would that qualify? “
In response, McClanahan said, “Yeah, as long as it’s not short-term rentals. As long as the people they’re renting it out to are there for at least six months.”
A brief pause followed, and then-Council Member Curtis Wells changed the topic with a comment about his concern that owners of long-term rentals could try to skirt the land use code and operate an HDHO unit as a short-term rental, defeating the purpose of the ordinance.
Disappointingly, only Murphy Flats includes this exchange in their written appeal.
The truth of this matter is that it basically never came up before or after in public meetings.
The county staff had a clear idea in their head of how they wanted the ordinance to look; the commission did not in clear terms express a clear preference one way or the other on the matter — as much as Sloan insists their words mean something other than what they said.
One example of Sloan stretching the meaning of a discussion is with respect to a discussion cited in the response from June 5, 2018 (though it actually happened during the same June 8 meeting previously mentioned). She misquotes it in the response, so here’s what it actually went:
Guess what followed that interaction? Here’s a hint: Sloan has never quoted the following interaction in public.
This should highlight just how dishonest Sloan’s representation of the factual matters are. The attorneys for the HDHO developers have stretched their legal arguments and some facts, but they at least are telling the truth about the legislative intent and discussions about the matter.