Baker v. Park City

February 22, 2018

Utah Court of Appeals

October 13, 2017

2017 UT App 190 (Click for text of opinion)

The Utah Court of Appeals upheld a city’s decision to deny an application to amend a plat in this case.

The Bakers own a lot in a subdivision in Park City, Utah. Their lot is one of two lots out of over 100 in the subdivision not subject to CC&Rs prohibiting the further subdivision of the lot. The Bakers’ lot is also one of the smallest in the subdivision. They submitted an application to subdivide their lot to create an additional residential building lot. The newly created lots would meet the minimum lot standards in effect pursuant to the applicable Park City ordinances. The Park City Planning Commission (the “Commission”) held two different hearings on the matter and forwarded a recommendation that the Park City City Council (the “Council”) deny the application. The Commission supported this recommendation with 63 findings of fact and four conclusions of law, including the conclusion that the proposed amendment was not compatible with existing single family development. The Council ultimately adopted these findings of fact and conclusions of law and denied the application. The Bakers appealed this decision to the district court and that court granted summary judgement in favor of Park City.

The Utah Court of Appeals declined to decide whether the decision to deny the plat amendment was administrative or legislative in nature and assumed for purposes of its analysis that it was administrative to apply the more exacting of the two standards of review. The appeals court held that the Council’s determination that the proposal was not compatible with existing single family development satisfied the “good cause” inquiry used to determine whether to approve a subdivision amendment under the Municipal Land Use, Development, and Management Act in the Utah Code. The court further held that the Council’s decision was supported by substantial evidence in the record and was not otherwise illegal and affirmed the lower court’s decision.