OGDEN — Students will soon be able to access Weber Innovation High School’s parking lot using a light on 12th Street.
A road, called a “drive aisle” in court documents, connects the light to IFA Country Store’s parking lot. The aisle has been separated from the school’s back parking lot by a cement barrier erected by IFA in April.
Parents, students, staff and bus drivers want access to the light and drive aisle because many have experienced near accidents entering and exiting the school’s front parking lot, which is very close to the intersection with the light.
Judge Michael DiReda ordered IFA to remove the cement barrier, according to an order granting Weber School District’s motion for immediate occupancy issued Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s good news for us, in that it’s the first week of school, and kids are going to be able to access that light,” said Lane Findlay, district community relations specialist.
In order for the barrier to be removed, Weber School District must pay $98,600, the value of the property and damages, as estimated by an appraisal submitted to the court by the school district.
According to the court order, IFA is required to remove the barrier within 48 hours of Weber School District depositing the appraised value with the court clerk. This means that school traffic may be able to access the school’s parking lot using the drive aisle and light on 12th Street as soon as Monday.
Weber School District is in the process of seeking to acquire “a nonexclusive, perpetual access easement” through eminent domain, the order says.
The appraised value deposited with the clerk “is for the purposes of occupancy only and is not admissible at final hearing or trial,” the order says. It will be held in escrow with the court, Findlay said.
“The order for immediate occupancy is not the final decision, but it does allow us to use the access during the course of litigation,” Findlay said in an email. “The case will continue to move forward through the legal system until a trial is set and a judge makes a final determination. This could be something that takes up to a year or more to resolve. In the meantime, both parties could still negotiate an agreement, and we are open to those discussions taking place.”
The school district removed its fencing between the school’s back parking lot and the drive aisle on Jan. 13, allowing school traffic to access the light on 12th Street. Based on a plat approved by Marriott-Slaterville, the district saw the drive aisle as a public easement.
IFA said the easement only applied to other properties within the subdivision included on the plat, and that the school district’s properties were not included. One day later, on Jan. 14, IFA put up a cement barrier where the district’s fence had been taken down.
According to the district’s timeline, the district filed a motion in January for a temporary restraining order requiring the barrier to be removed, which was granted the same day.
In April, DiReda ruled in favor of IFA at a preliminary injunction hearing, allowing IFA to replace the barrier “on the basis that the judge did not believe there was an imminent risk of harm,” according to the timeline.
IFA did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.