The approval process for the Wohali application #2 is very different from the first application. This application must be approved or denied based solely on a correct application of our city code. There are some legally complex issues involved and for this reason CFRG has requested an expert legal opinion from an outside source.
If there is one point where the city, developer and citizen group can agree, it is that the decision regarding the Wohali application #2 must be based on solid legal reasoning. When the city is making policy and creating ordinances the public should play a huge role and our opinions and desires matter. With application #1 the developer was requesting a change in zoning. That is considered a policy change and the public has a right to say whether or not that change was allowed. However, because the Wohali application #2 is requesting what the developer believes are only permitted uses, the decision must be based on whether their application is in compliance with those already adopted laws. It sounds simple but there are many complex legal issues involved and for this reason CFRG has requested additional guidance from an unbiased legal source.
Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman
The Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman has been established by the State of Utah to protect and preserve the property rights of Utah citizens. The Office helps individuals and government agencies understand and comply with land use and property rights laws. CFRG has requested a detailed legal analysis be provided by the Ombudsman to help guide the decision making process for our City Council. This opinion will consider the arguments submitted by the CFRG attorney (CFRG AO Submission) and any other information provided by the developer or Coalville City.
Expert Legal Opinions
At the last Planning Commission meeting on 6/15/2020 Coalville City attorney Sheldon Smith, invited a legal expert to give his opinion on two very narrow issues. The opinion given by the expert attorney, David Church, was that nightly rentals are a permitted use and should not be counted against the allowed density. You can read the full opinion here David Church Opinion. There were very significant restrictions included with his opinion regarding the use of these nightly rentals. Namely that they must be owned by the same owner as the golf course and they must be used by the club members and guests and not opened to the public generally. CFRG attorney, Polly McLean, has opposing analysis and although the city attorney and developer attorney were involved, the CFRG attorney’s analysis was not factored in to David Church’s opinion.
The opinion rendered by David Church is important and has also been submitted for consideration by the Ombudsman. However, David Church was not asked and did not provide guidance on the number of units allowed under the code or comment on any of the other uses requested by the developer. There are many important questions the Coalville City Council will be required to answer. To support the Council in their decision we have specifically requested additional guidance on the number of permitted nightly rentals and a review of all requested support uses. The guidance to be gained from this opinion is vital and will have applicability to future decisions not only on the Wohali project but also other applications that may come before the council.