Temporary restraining order filed to halt Wasatch Peaks Ranch development construction
Preliminary injunction hearing will be held this week
Opponents of the Wasatch Peaks Ranch resort development in Morgan County received a boost late last week.
On Friday, a temporary restraining order of two weeks was granted, halting further work on the site — some 12,000 acres of mostly undeveloped land off Interstate 84 and west of Morgan. Morgan County is also a defendant in the case.
According to the ruling by Judge Noel Hyde of the 2nd Judicial Court of Morgan County, the Morgan County Council’s original Oct. 30, 2019, zoning change paving the way for the development can not be enforced, and it suspends all permits, authorizations and approvals granted to Wasatch Peaks Ranch, or WPR, by the county.
Furthermore, WPR was ordered to “immediately cease all construction and development activity on the property” that runs counter to previous zoning for the area. WPR and the county also are barred from distributing or displaying promotional materials relating to the planned resort, which is envisioned to contain skiing and golfing amenities and new housing.
Attorney Darin Hammond has helped in the representation of several residents who filed petitions to put the project to a vote.
“The judge agreed with the referendum applicants that the state constitution prohibits development while a referendum is pending,” Hammond told the Standard-Examiner on Monday. “We had a trial this year and Judge Hyde ruled in September of this year that the referendum application was proper. A referendum needs to be held but the county and the developer have appealed that ruling. In the meantime, they continue to develop at their own risk. We have asked Judge Hyde to stop the development while the legal process continues so that all these legal issues can be determined.”
A hearing for a preliminary injunction to replace the temporary restraining order will be held later this week.
In an email to the Standard-Examiner, Morgan County Attorney Garrett Smith said that Friday’s ruling came as a surprise.
“I was genuinely shocked when I saw the signed (restraining order),” he said. “This was due largely to the failed request for a preliminary injunction by these same petitioners and their attorneys filed in a related case entitled Croft v. Morgan in February of this year. This same judge dismissed that request for a preliminary injunction at a hearing held on March 3, 2023, by not even entertaining oral arguments on the request due to lack of evidence facially supporting the requested relief. This signed (order) comes as a surprise when the evidence supporting the request in this new Croft v. Morgan case mirrors in all elemental respects what was considered facially insufficient only 9 months ago. Morgan County is looking forward to the evidentiary hearing scheduled on Wednesday, December 6th, to address the merits of the request in greater detail.”
The preliminary injunction hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Morgan County Courthouse.