clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

ATTORNEY TO PROBE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST FAMILY

Morgan city officials have hired an attorney to investigate allegations made by a developer against one of Morgan County's most influential families.

Developer Gray Jensen and his attorney, Mel Smith, have accused Morgan County Commissioner Jan Turner; his sister, Councilwoman Marsha Martin; and their father, Paul Turner, a former longtime county assessor, of sidestepping city zoning laws to get a family subdivision approved four years ago.The city has hired attorney Jeff Appel of Salt Lake City, who occasionally advises the city on zoning matters, to investigate.

Appel also will check into a Turner family counter-allegation that their accusers are building a subdivision in a flood plain without telling anyone.

Each side denies all allegations.

Findings are expected in a couple of weeks. At stake could be thousands of dollars worth of infrastructure improvements for which Jensen and Smith contend the Turners should have paid.

The Turners' completed P&J Jersey subdivision is next to the Meadow Creek subdivision planned by Jensen and his client, Norris Richins. The two subdivisions are similar in acreage and other features.

But Jensen and Smith say there is a big difference. Richins is being required to spend nearly $250,000 to run utility lines to each home and do other improvements to the property that weren't required of the Turners.

They say the Turners did not run the lines to each lot as required, leaving the homebuyers to do so. And, they say the sidewalk, curb and gutter fees were waived for the Turners.

"What we have is Jan Turner because of his political connections, particularly his sister Marsha, getting special treatment," Smith said.

Martin made the motion to approve the subdivision at a May 7, 1991, City Council meeting. She wouldn't comment on Jensen's allegations because of pending litigation. But she said she was comfortable making the motion because she has no financial interest in the subdivision.

Paul Turner declined to comment and Jan Turner would say only: "We did everything we were required to do. Our attorney, Noel Hyde, and the city's records will refute everything."

Jensen called the Turner claims of the Meadow Creek subdivision flood control problems "a smoke screen. There's nothing to hide. It's in a flood plain.

"The whole valley is. It's a river valley. And it's been disclosed in the plans all along."

Jensen and Jan Turner are known political opponents in Morgan. Both are involved in an unrelated U.S. District Court lawsuit.

Turner has resisted economic development efforts in the county, while Jensen is a major developer who has bought up more than 1,000 acres in the county in the past three years.