The Cache County Council does not plan to condemn the Davenport Road by eminent domain at this time, according to Chairman Craig Buttars.
The matter is not listed on the council’s agenda for its regular meeting Tuesday.
Asked Friday why the Davenport Road issue is not on the agenda, Buttars responded, “I don’t believe that there’s any support other than Gordon (Zilles) for it on the council.”
Buttars added he has not been asked by anyone on the council to put the item on the agenda.
Davenport Road runs through the Four Mile Ranch, south of Avon in the unincorporated area.
While the Cache County Attorney’s Office contends Davenport is a public road, the attorney for the Samples family, which owns the ranch, argues it is rightfully a private road.
Each side points to various historical documentation and case law to bolster their claims.
Members of the public — on both sides of the issue — have packed the council chambers in recent weeks, and many have offered public comment on the matter.
Former County Attorney George Daines, who represents private landowners in this case, has also argued that the road is public.
Daines did not immediately return a voicemail message left Friday seeking comment. Miles Jensen, a Logan attorney representing the Samples family, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
County Attorney James Swink has made it clear that he has outlined eminent domain as an option, but he has not advocated for it. He has said it is a legislative decision, meaning the council has to make that choice.
Swink said Friday the county will proceed with the issue in 1st District Court, where his office has filed a motion for summary judgment. A hearing on the motion is scheduled for July 11, according to Swink.
In an April 18 letter that Swink made available at The Herald Journal’s request, Swink wrote to Buttars that “waiting for the court’s decision is a viable option” prior to making a decision regarding eminent domain.
“There is a pending motion for summary judgment before the District Court,” Swink wrote. “We have asked the judge to rule on the motion. While these motions are very seldom granted by the courts, given the strength of the present case, this may be one of those rare occasions where the court may grant such a motion.”
Swink added, “It may take some months for the court’s decision — and as already noted, courts rarely grant such motions, but it certainly is an option: The Cache County Council’s decision regarding an eminent domain action on the Davenport Road can wait until we have a final decision from the District Court on the summary judgment motion.”
Swink said he wrote the letter before knowing whether the item would be listed on the county’s agenda.
Buttars did leave the door open for eminent domain in the future, noting that option was not being pursued by the council “at this time.”
“I see it similar to a vote to table an issue,” Buttars said. “So I guess if there’s interest in reviving it in the future, we could see it again.”