TWIN FALLS — The City Council is upholding a commission’s decision to reimburse a developer for installing a pressurized irrigation system in Twin Falls.
The Council on Monday heard an appeal of a decision made by the Improvement Reimbursement Commission. Jade Development opposed the commission’s decision to reimburse developer Gerald Martens $35,764 for the pressurized irrigation system installed in the Broadmoor subdivision. The company’s attorney claimed Jade Development paid a premium for lots with the understanding that Martens would pay for the improvements.
“Consequently, Mr. Martens was obligated to install the improvements at his sole cost,” Lynnette Davis told the Council.
Davis also said that in Martens’ initial purchase of the property, he received a discounted price to install the improvements. Davis argued that the reimbursement was not fair and equitable.
The Council, however, determined the reimbursement met the intent of a city resolution and was legitimate payback for improvements.
The city’s resolution allows initial developers to receive reimbursement from latecomer developers who benefit from certain improvements made by the initial developer.
“I do believe there is a joint benefit to both of the developers, and it should be a shared cost,” Councilwoman Suzanne Hawkins said.
Mayor Shawn Barigar agreed, saying that any agreement that was made for compensation outside of the resolution was not under the purview of the City Council.
“If there is further discussion between the parties, that will be between the parties,” Barigar said.
The 6-0 decision was made with one abstention from Vice Mayor Nikki Boyd.
In her argument for the reimbursement, Martens’ attorney, Tara Martens, noted that the reimbursement was reviewed by a third party. Furthermore, in other agreements, the developers made promises to work together on infrastructure development, she said.
“There is zero evidence that Mr. Martens waived his rights as the initial developer under this resolution,” she said.
It’s possible that Jade Development will follow through on its intentions to sue Martens. The reimbursement funds would then be held until the court made its decision.