This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The owner of a gravel mine is suing Saratoga Springs over a deal the city made with a group of developers, including Josh Romney, to keep a new prison out of the area.
John D. Hadfield, the mine's owner, says the rushed development pact would place homes too close to his operation, which regularly relies on loud blasting and crushing to create gravel and sand.
He wants the city to nix the annexation agreement with Western States Ventures, the company that includes Romney, the son of former failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and change the zoning on the land to allow him to grow his operation in northern Utah County.
Saratoga Springs defended its annexation and zoning moves.
"The city believes the annexation is a legal and valid legislative decision made by the City Council and is prepared to defend that decision," said city spokesman Owen Jackson.
The land, which used to be in unincorporated Utah County, is near Camp Williams and Eagle Mountain. Romney had encouraged state lawmakers to consider building a new state prison on the site and the Prison Relocation Commission named it as a finalist in December.
The Saratoga Springs City Council started negotiating with Western States about a fast-tracked development deal that required the developers to withdraw from the prison-relocation process. The city and the company signed that deal on Dec. 9, 2014. The city approved the annexation and zoning changes in April. That move turned some of the land owned by Hadfield and his Hadco Construction company from industrial to agricultural.
In his lawsuit, filed in state court May 21, he argued that he invested $2 million in a new asphalt plant, a road and a gas line. He said the city's plan would eventually put homes within the 2,000-foot "shock-wave zone" around his gravel operation.
Messages left with Western States' attorney have yet to be returned.
Western States Ventures' attorney Bruce Baird said the lawsuit is "without either factual or legal merit."
"We believe it to be overreaching in trying to impose a buffer zone on my client's property," he said. "We intend to fight the litigation to the maximum extent we can."