Neighbors file lawsuit over project that took out trees
KAYSVILLE, Utah – For as beautiful as Caleb Stroh’s property is now, you should’ve seen it before.
“It was great,” said Stroh. “This is a two-acre parcel of property. It was a complete green screen. Trees, vegetation, shrubbery. The whole point of purchasing this property for us was the seclusion.”
You couldn’t even see his home from the road.
Fourteen months ago, Kaysville City started a project where most of the trees in his front yard were removed.
“To have that then taken away in such a violent way is very hard for us,” Stroh.
Work started along Angel Street in Kaysville in March of 2017 to add a curb, gutter, and sidewalk to make the two-lane road safer.
With several schools nearby, many children walk along the road, and city leaders wanted to add a sidewalk to the east side of the road.
In order to do that, the trees and greenery in front of some homes had to be removed.
That upset many of the people who lived here.
“The trees were beautiful,” said Gregory Carlile, who also lives off Angel Street. “Over in this corner is where professional photographers would come to take pictures of families with all the green mature trees in the background.”
Homeowners are more upset about what’s on Angel Street now. They say the city seems to have abandoned the project.
Nothing has been done since that first week of work, and the Carlile’s and Stroh say they can’t get definitive answers from city leaders.
“Now they just want to wash their hands clean of it, which is very frustrating to us because we could have had our beautiful green screen, which adds to the value of the property and our quality of life,” said Carlile.
The Carliles and Stroh are filing a lawsuit against Kaysville City.
“We probably should have done that before. Here it is 14 months later and they have done literally nothing. It’s is an absolute disaster zone. There’s logs, sticks, metal, falling over fences, jagged edges. It’s just a nightmare,” said Stroh while pointing to the little creek that runs between his home and the road.
It’s now mostly a barren ditch where trees used to stand.
Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt and city council members Jake Garn and Michelle Barber responded to KSL TV’s request for comment, but say they can’t comment because of the pending lawsuit.
Kaysville city attorney Nic Mills also said pending litigation prevents him from saying too much, but said “The city is very sorry for how all of this has turned out, but at this time it’s unlikely the city will pipe that ditch.”
For Stroh, that means it appears the project is off for now.
He’s hoping the lawsuit can at least provide some answers, compensation for the loss of property value, and get the city to finish the project.
“But you just can’t get back what we had before,” said Stroh. “Forty, fifty, sixty-year old trees gone to just completely abandon the project.”
There is also a question of whether or not the contractor doing the work had permission to be on private property, or if the city leaders told them to move forward anyway.
“We can’t get an answer one way or the other,” said Stroh. “Our concern, though, is how do you scrap a project once you started a project?”