TWIN FALLS — The City Council will be tasked Monday to weigh in on a dispute between a city commission and two developers over who should pay for a pressurized irrigation system.
A homebuilder is appealing the Improvement Reimbursement Commission’s decision to reimburse another developer for constructing a pressurized irrigation system. The city of Twin Falls has agreed to reimburse developers for certain improvements that benefit subsequent developers.
In November, Gerald Martens requested reimbursement from the city for improvements he’d made at the Broadmoor Subdivision. The commission decided Martens was eligible to receive $35,764 for a pressurized irrigation system that benefits 118 lots purchased by Jade Development. The northern part of the 249-lot subdivision is still owned by Martens, who was the initial developer for the entire subdivision.
But Jade Development appealed the commission’s decision, saying Martens agreed to install the utilities at his sole expense.
“In 2015, Mr. Martens entered into a private contract under which he agreed to install, at his sole cost, certain improvements for Jade’s benefit, including but not limited to pressurized irrigation,” Jade Development’s attorney, Lynnette M. Davis, said in a letter to the city. “Accordingly, Mr. Martens is not entitled to reimbursement from Jade, and Jade is not obligated to reimburse Mr. Martens. Notwithstanding the forgoing, Jade does not expect the City Council to interpret and/or enforce the private agreement — that will be done by a court of law.”
The letter asks the City Council to vacate the commissions’ decision until the dispute between developers is resolved, likely through a lawsuit.
Jade Development has also argued that Martens did not apply for reimbursement within the required 90-day deadline from the time the system was accepted by the city, City Attorney Shayne Nope said.
“The acceptance letter was formally issued the day of the commission hearing of the application,” Nope said. “Generally speaking, they allege that the Improvement Reimbursement Commission did not follow the resolution in making their decision.”
In response, Martens’ attorney, Tara Martens Miller, wrote that Jade is attempting to intimidate the city by saying it will be “forced” to sue the city.
“Jade continues its unreasonable battle — in direct contravention of its promises of record — to receive the development of its subdivision on the shoulders of the initial developer — precisely what the Resolution’s purpose is to avoid,” Miller wrote. “If the Council were to overturn the Commission’s determination (or delay its Decision pending years of litigation), an atmosphere would be created encouraging inappropriate and hasty threats of litigation to avoid fair allocation as amongst developers and discourage the good-faith efforts and consideration by the volunteer Commission.”
The City Council will be tasked with deciding whether the Commission followed the 2017 resolution, and if the amount to be reimbursed complied with the resolution, Nope said.
The City Council meets at 5 p.m. Monday in City Hall, 203 Main Ave. E. Also at the meeting, the Council will hear a presentation by the Twin Falls School District regarding its pursuit of a renewal and slight increase of the supplemental levy.