Saturday, March 22, 2008
Utah Supreme Court Denies Dean Sellers' Aspen Annexation Petition A Second Time; Wasatch Valley's Troubles With Sellers May Be Over
The Utah Supreme Court again has denied a petition for redress by an Arizona developer who wants to create an upscale resort town in Wasatch County that he would call Aspen, Utah. Story published March 22nd, 2008 in the Salt Lake Tribune.
A panel of justices threw out Arizona land baron Dean K. Sellers' second petition for extraordinary writ this week for the same reason they denied the first petition: The problem could be remedied in Heber City's 4th District Court.
Sellers (pictured above left) decided to go back to the Utah Supreme Court a second time after he learned that the city of Daniel had submitted an amended annexation petition for the Storm Haven subdivision. In the opinion of Sellers, the amended petition constituted a new petition, with a new petition date later than the date on Sellers' incorporation petition for his proposed community of Aspen. In contrast, the city of Daniels maintained that the amended petition was to correct a mistake in the original petition, thus NOT making it a new petition.
The problem for Sellers: Once Storm Haven became part of Daniel, Aspen lacked the necessary 100 residents under Utah law for incorporation under the old HB466, under which the Aspen incorporation petition is grandfathered. Its successor, HB164, imposes more stringent requirements, demanding that at least half the residents within a proposed town support such a petition. A mayor and a town council would be elected at the onset of incorporation.
If Dean Sellers is smart, he'll gracefully admit defeat and shelve his plans to create his Aspen community. He burned a hell of a lot of bridges during this process, which you can read about in full in this series of posts, and would only alienate the local community further by continuing the battle.
Dean Sellers reminds me of another local figure, Salt Lake County District Attorney Lohra Miller, who's undergoing her own public relations ordeal at present. Neither one of these people are "bad" people; they're simply alpha personalities accustomed to taking over anything with which they become associated. In their minds, every aspect of their existence is exclusively beneficial to society; they are apparently incapable of visualizing the negative results of their actions in advance. They have a warped sense of noblesse oblige. Neither are completely deserving of the bad press they get, but both attract it like a magnet. While they can terminally piss you off, upon reflection, you can't help but feel for them a bit.