Richard Davis does not own 100 percent of the Rock Canyon property he and Greg Sperry purchased in 1998, according to a memorandum decision recently issued by 4th District Court Judge James Taylor. The ruling issued Nov. 17, 2010, states that Red Slab, LLC, which state Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, and law partner Phil Lowry began in 2004 to preserve the canyon, has validly acquired Sperry’s 50 percent undivided interest, subject to a conservation easement in favor of Provo City. Davis owns the other 50 percent undivided interest.
The memorandum decision is a ruling on Sperry, Red Slab and Provo City’s motions for summary judgment heard by the court on Nov. 9 in a case originally filed by Davis against Sperry, in which Davis claimed up to 100 percent ownership of the property. The three parties asked the court to decide several issues in the case prior to trial, most of which relate to ownership of the property.
The ruling will become official when the court signs an order consistent with the decision within the next few weeks. At that time, Red Slab and Provo City will hold a public information meeting to update the public and answer questions regarding Rock Canyon.
Whether Davis can mine the property is not an issue in the case, although the court ruled earlier that in order to mine, Davis must comply with Provo City’s conditional use permit process, and the decision regarding ownership is important in that process. Davis must also comply with state and federal regulations regarding mining.
“This is very encouraging,” stated Provo Mayor John Curtis. “This has been one of the biggest issues standing in the way of resolution, and we’re pleased that the court has ruled in our favor.”
“When Red Slab started its preservation efforts in Rock Canyon over five years ago, we knew that it was going to be a long process,” stated Valentine. “The court’s decision makes it clear that these efforts were not in vain. Although there is more to do to preserve our canyon, this decision is an important first step towards that goal.”