Hodgson v. Farmington City II

February 26, 2015

Utah Court of Appeals

February 26, 2015

2015 UT App 43 (Click for full text of opinion)

In a second appeal involving the City’s actions requiring demolition of a structure, the Utah Court of Appeals upheld a trial court’s determination that the structure was unsafe and that demolition was authorized. In a decision dated August of 2014,  (See 2014 UT App 188) the Court upheld the City’s actions that the barn was an unsafe structure and that action was required.  In that appeal, the owners had argued that the building was not a “structure” (or barn), but rather a billboard subject to more restrictive standards concerning removal.  However, the Court concluded that the building was a structure, and thus subject to the Uniform Code for Abatement of Dangerous Buildings.

This matter was a continuation of the enforcement proceedings.  The District Court granted an order to demolish the structure.  The owners appealed that order, arguing that a summary decision was not appropriate, because there were factual disputes which were not resolved.  The Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that the rules for summary judgments was not applicable to this matter, which was an enforcement proceeding. In essence, the Court of Appeals held that the owners had presented their arguments in the proceedings which led to the first appellate decision, and there was no reason to reconsider them.

In the enforcement proceeding, the focus was on the condition of the structure, and the City’s decision to demolish it.  The question of whether the owners could relocate the sign attached to the structure was not before the District Court, and was considered as an issue separate from the City’s actions to demolish the structure.