Legal change keeps the Bangerter’s farmland productive
A year after Farmington granted agricultural protection for the Bangerter family farm, a 22-acre plot of farmland, and ended any effort to put soccer fields on the site, the city’s economic development director still receives pleas to leave the property alone.
Brigham Mellor says he gets about one email a week from people in different parts of the country who believe the land, which is part of the Bangerter family farm, is under threat of condemnation.
“It is not, and they are reacting to old information,” Mellor said in an email. “I rarely can guarantee much in my profession, but I can guarantee that land will never be anything but a farm.”
Eminent Domain and the APA
The situation was less certain in spring 2018, when owner Alan Bangerter was at risk of losing property to Farmington, which wanted to buy at least 11 acres of a 22-acre piece of his land through the eminent domain process for soccer fields and a park.
That uncertainty is now over because Bangerter is operating his farm under a Utah Agricultural Protection Area (APA) designation.
This protects the property from zoning changes and local governments cannot exercise their right of eminent domain unless they can show there are no viable alternatives, according to Randall Edwards, Bangerter’s attorney.
“I think it is as about as safe as we’re going to get,” Edwards said. “As of right now, as far as we know, Alan is no longer under any jeopardy.”
Bangerter would have been paid for his property but said he still would have suffered financially because preparing a new piece of land to produce good crops takes several years.
“I have three sons who work for me full time and we wouldn’t be able to support the four families,” he said.
The family business, Chas W. Bangerter & Son, which is named for his father and himself, has a total of about 100 acres in several parcels in Davis County. Six generations of family members have worked on the farm growing corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, green beans, radishes, and other vegetables.
The plan to acquire the land stemmed from the routing of the West Davis Corridor, an extension of the Legacy Parkway.
To build the corridor, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is taking a Farmington park with soccer fields and 8 acres adjacent to Bangerter farmland near 1100 West and Glover Lane.