LAYTON — Layton City continues to press forward with a project to extend the Layton Parkway, a process that now includes a City Council-approved provision to use eminent domain.
But city officials say condemnation is a last resort measure and one that’s highly unlikely.
On March 5, the Layton City Council approved a resolution that authorizes a contract agreement between the city and Leon Poulsen Construction Co. for a project that involves extending the Layton Parkway and completing a host of street improvements near the Layton Parkway and 2700 West area.
Terry Coburn, Layton Public Works director, said then the project includes the installation of new asphalt, curb and gutter, sidewalk, water line, sewer and storm drain pipe and more. Coburn said the city received six bids on the project, with Poulsen submitting the lowest number at $6.36 million.
The project is tied to the impending West Davis Corridor construction. Soon, the Utah Department of Transportation will start mainline construction on the $750 million project, which involves a four-lane divided highway that will be built through western Davis County between the Interstate 15 and Legacy Parkway junction at about Glovers Lane in Farmington, extending north to the future extension of State Route 193 in West Point.
As part of that massive endeavor, a grade-separated interchange will be built at 2700 West in Layton.
“Almost everywhere you go in Layton today, you see construction,” said Layton Attorney Gary Crane. “And that’s a great thing. ... (Layton) is continuing to grow and a major piece of that growth is occurring out west ... with the construction of the West Davis Corridor.”
On March 18, the council approved another resolution related to the project, which authorizes the acquisition of needed properties through eminent domain.
Crane said the city began notifying individuals involved as early as last summer and with appraisals recently completed, the city is now negotiating prices for the land they will need. Crane said much of the land in the pathway of future construction is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but there are also some other citizens involved.
“We will continue to do that until we’ve had the opportunity of acquiring property ... through negotiation,” Crane said of the city’s current land acquisition process. “It is never the intent of the city to proceed with condemnation. Could it occur? Absolutely, it could occur. But will it occur? ... Based on my experience with the acquisitions that have occurred in the past, it’s not likely.”
Crane said state law requires cities to adopt a provision that authorizes condemnations during situations like the one the city is facing with the parkway extension. He said there is a multi-step process that involves property owners having access to the state ombudsmen, followed by mediation and, if necessary, litigating the matter in court. If a property acquisition does make it to court, the only issue that would be adjudicated through a trial is the cost to purchase a particular piece of land, not whether or not property is maintained by owner.