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Judge removes 5 councilmen from Mapleton land suit

SHARE Judge removes 5 councilmen from Mapleton land suit

AMERICAN FORK — A lengthy legal dispute between Mapleton and a resident over a strip of land is far from over, despite a judge's dismissal of individual City Council members from the lawsuit.

Fourth District Judge Derek Pullan ruled Monday that the five council members named in the lawsuit filed against the city by Wendell Gibby cannot be personally sued because they were acting in their elected capacities.

"The Utah Supreme Court has held that the exercise of zoning power is a legislative function," Pullan said. "The individual City Council members are immune from personal liability, immune from suit, having taken action in their legislative capacity."

M. Dayle Jeffs, Gibby's attorney, had argued the lawsuit should name the individual Mapleton City Council members because their finding was administrative rather than legislative. He also argued that naming the individuals would make them more responsive to the court's ruling.

Pullan stated that including the entire entity of the Mapleton City Council in the suit was enough.

Gibby has submitted multiple requests that Mapleton rezone nearly 63 acres of land. The city has refused, citing it was not in its best interest nor in the best interests of its residents to rezone it to allow single-family homes to be built on the land.

Mapleton code gives the city leaders power to amend the zoning ordinance and map but doesn't require that they do so even if individuals submit all the necessary paperwork, said Kathryn Steffey, attorney for the five City Council members.

Steffey's request for attorneys fees to reimburse what the City Council members have spent to defend themselves against the suit was denied.