Landowner inside Bears Ears monument wants out of newly incorporated Bluff, raising questions about what is planned for the property

Owners of property on the south end of Bears Ears National Monument are threatening to sue the newly incorporated town of Bluff if town officials decline their petition to have their land removed from the town boundaries. The 391-acre parcel is a state trust section sold at auction two years ago over the objections of many local residents.
| Courtesy Josh Ewing


By Brian Maffly | Salt Lake City Tribune

Three months into its life as a newly incorporated municipality, Bluff has already found itself in lawyers’ crosshairs with a property owner promising legal armageddon if the Town Council declines to “disconnect” its land from the town boundaries.

The land in question is a 391-acre parcel on the southern tip of Comb Ridge that air-ambulance magnate Joe Hunt acquired from the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration two years ago. This was just before the land was included in President Barack Obama’s designation of Bears Ears National Monument, and it remains inside the reduced monument President Donald Trump set aside.

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Now Bluff residents want to know what Lyman Family Farm Inc., Hunt’s firm that owns the parcel, intends for land many regard as central to preserving the town’s character and quality of life. About three dozen came to a Nov. 29 public hearing looking for answers that the firm’s lawyer Bruce Baird declined to provide.


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December 2018