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NORTH SALT LAKE — A tennis club that remains damaged from a landslide last year is suing the city and Eaglepointe Development, alleging they were aware of the risk of a landslide in the area and were negligent in taking precautions.
The lawsuit, filed last week in 2nd District Court, also says the city and the developer have failed to help repair damage to the business or move forward with a plan to remove the soil that has rendered portions of the facility unusable.
Brad Ferreira, owner of the Eagle Ridge Tennis and Swim Club, said the business has been open for several months since the slide occurred, but an ancillary building and three tennis courts under a dilapidated tent all remain just as the slide left them last August.
Ferreira said discussions with the city and the developer continue to be "amicable," but a solution has been unreachable.
"Nothing's happened," Ferreira said. "We haven't been able to use those three tennis courts. They haven't been available since the slide, and that's where we generate all our revenue, from the tennis courts. So it kills us."
The tennis club argues that because the city decided to leave earth and debris on the property to stabilize the landslide and prevent further movement, the club is entitled to compensation as the city "has taken and is occupying (the club's) property for public use," according to a complaint.
"We're hoping the lawsuit will get things moving, at least get something done," Ferreira said.
North Salt Lake City Manager Barry Edwards said the city's stance that it was not responsible for the slide hasn't changed. He said a lawsuit was a "likely outcome" in order to bring all stakeholders to the table to resolve the complex issue.
We're hoping the lawsuit will get things moving, at least get something done.
–Brad Ferreira, club owner
"We've had a good dialogue with the tennis club and have been trying to work things out between us, but it became obvious that we just didn't have all the players in the room that we needed to get the solution," Edwards said. "So this isn't unexpected, and the claims that they made aren't really unexpected either."
So far, the city has funded a $300,000 geotechnical study to develop a remediation plan for the hillside. The plan is estimated to cost $2 million, and so far, the city has offered to cover 10 percent of the overall cost, Edwards said.
But the city is asking for residents, the developer, insurance companies and other parties to contribute.
"We're into it quite a bit of money, and we believe it's time for others who have an interest in that area to step forward and to put some money on the table," Edwards said. "There really are a lot of players in this situation, and we haven't heard from them."
This isn't unexpected, and the claims that they made aren't really unexpected either.
–Barry Edwards, NSL city manager
Eaglepointe Development, which has not taken responsibility for the slide, has contributed to building a new home to replace one that was destroyed and providing residence for other displaced families, according to vice president Scott Kjar.
Kjar said the company has also made some "outstanding" proposals in contributing to the cost of repairing the hillside, though plans haven't solidified.
"We're working through the process," Kjar said. "We've tried to take care of the human needs first, and we've been working with the tennis club."
He said he wasn't surprised by the lawsuit.
"In the end, they're going to have their claims, we're going to have our claims, and hopefully we can resolve things on an amicable basis and move down the road and get the hill fixed and get things resolved with everybody else," he said. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: MorganEJacobsen