Public works: Hidden Cove asks for too much
May 6, 2006
Residents who are still straightening up after a mudslide that toppled trees and a utility pole in Hidden Cove April 15, have irked Summit County Public Works officials, who claim people living in the neighborhood near Jeremy Ranch want the government to do their spring cleaning for them.
"They’re getting a little bit carried away," Public Works Project Foreman Tim Richins said Wednesday. "One lady wanted to know when we were going to come and clean all of the mud and trees off her property we’re not going to clean the mud an trees off her property."
Richins said Public Works officials have offered to haul away debris from the slide if homeowners place the material near the curb.
"But they [used] chainsaws to cut down all their dead fall and drug it to the side of the road you can see the stumps," Richins told the Summit County Commission. "They’re expecting more than we really should do. Our responsibility should really be ditches flowing and cleaning the debris out of ditches."
Public Works Administrator Kevin Callahan insists culverts in Hidden Cove have been cleaned and intends to discuss the matter with the Hidden Cove Homeowners Association. The group’s president, Ralph Hottinger, claimed county officials did not respond to requests from neighbors to clear ditches in Hidden Cove.
"[Hottinger] said that he has been trying to reach us and we have no record of him calling," Callahan said. "People up there are upset. They’re dealing with difficult circumstances and sometimes that tension sort of spills over and they take their frustrations out on us."
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Hottinger was standing in his driveway on Hidden Cove Road last month when he watched a river of mud, flow from the street onto his property. The mudslide began about 500 feet from his house when a chunk of saturated ground broke loose from a hillside west of Jeremy Ranch.
"We had two feet of mud on Hidden Cove Road," Hottinger said.
The slide did not damage the interior of any homes or cause any injuries, Park City Fire District spokeswoman Tricia Hurd said.
"We aren’t against private property rights and development, but we’re against it when it’s put on 30 and 40 percent slopes," Hottinger said, adding that the Snyderville Basin General Plan and Development Code prohibits building on steep slopes.
The County Commission has approved a plat for a nearby subdivision called The Woods, however, additional geo-technical information will likely be reviewed before the document is recorded.
"It’s our feeling right now that there are no building pads (in The Woods) that are (sloped) 30 percent," Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer said. "We have to conclude that it was an act of nature, an act of God."
But a map provided by the County Community Development Department indicates that houses and roads in The Woods are planned on slopes with grades in excess of 30 percent, Hottinger countered.
"It shows the building pads are 30 percent or more," Hottinger said. "And roads are 30 percent and above."
According to Summit County Community Development Department Director Nora Shepard, "soils in [Hidden Cove] aren’t inherently unstable."
"[The mudslide] was probably based on some water issues and a fairly isolated incident," she added.
Developers of The Woods are considering eliminating or relocating one of the lots in the subdivision, Shepard said, adding, "the roadway is actually quite a bit away from where the slide was."