Court Proceedings Under Way in Brian Head Land Flap

Court Proceedings Under Way in Brian Head Land Flap

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BRIAN HEAD, Utah (AP) -- Condemnation proceedings are under way against a private property owner who refuses to sell land a ski area wants to use to expand.

The resort town of Brian Head has filed a complaint of eminent domain in 5th District Court in Cedar City, condemning about 6 acres of property belonging to a trust controlled by original founders of the ski area.

The town claims the condemnation would allow the resort's current owners to connect Navajo Mountain ski area on the town's south end and Brian Head Peak on the north.

"For the past several years we've been trying to negotiate with the property's owner," said H.C. Deutschlander, mayor of the Iron County alpine community.

If the town is granted is request for occupancy, it would then lease the corridor to Brian Head Resorts, Ltd.

The Vasels family of California founded the ski area in the 1960s and later sold it. A trust controlled by the family owns the land the city is trying to have condemned.

J. Randall Call, the Salt Lake City attorney representing the Vasels, said the condemnation is a ploy by the resort to use the town's power of eminent domain to get the property after negations with the family failed.

"It would only benefit the ski resort," Call says. "Typically, it is inappropriate to condemn property for private use."

Call has filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City to have the motion removed. The action came about when past negotiations on a trade or sale of the land, with an assessed value of $347,640, failed. A hearing date has not been scheduled.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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