Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Some road in the middle of nowhere in Tooele County is a public road

State v. Six Mile Ranch Co., 2006 UT App 104

The defendants petitioned the county to abandon a road on Stansbury Island. The county granted the petition, but failed to send written notice to the State, which owned property that abutted the road. The State filed suit to have the abandonment nullified.

The trial court granted summary judgment to the State, ruling that the road was a public thoroughfare and that the county had failed to comply with the notice requirements of Utah Code Ann. ยง 27-12-102.4 (27-12-102.4 has been repealed; right of way statutes are now found in chapter five of title 72).

The defendants' appeal consisted largely of challenges to the trial court's factual findings about whether the road was a public thoroughfare. The court reaffirmed the broad discretion given to trial courts in making factual findings and the heavy burden appellants have in overturning those findings.

Although the [defendants] disagree with these findings, they again simply present us with the evidence supporting their position at trial--that all uses of the West Stansbury Road were permissive--and reargue the weight of that evidence. As we have already stated, this is an unavailing tactic on appeal . . . The record contains sufficient evidence to support the findings of the trial court and we do not disturb them on appeal.
Later the court wrote:
On a factual issue such as this, where contradictory testimony and evidence were offered at trial, the number of witnesses or the amount of evidence presented by a party in not necessarily determinative of the trial court's resolution of the issue.


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