Two years ago, Alix Court, 17, began working on his Eagle Scout project: a rock sign welcoming people to Erda. After organizing a dinner during Erda Days in 2006, he earned enough money to have a donated stone engraved with a picture of a barn and the words “Welcome to Erda est. 1852.” However, the sign doesn’t have a home and Court turns 18 in five weeks, which is the age an Eagle project needs to be completed by for the award.
The engraved rock sign, which is 8 feet by 5 feet, is currently sitting at Landscape Construction Supply in Tooele behind Walkers gas station.
Court initially approached developer Jesse Lassley, who owns the property on the corner of Bates Canyon Road and SR-36, two years ago asking if the sign could be placed there. Lassley agreed, but told Court that the logistics — placement of the sign and who is responsible if it needs to be moved or is damaged — and a legal agreement needed to be made before a sign could be erected.
“It’s a pretty serious thing when you start putting monuments on private property,” Lassley said. “I will get to a point when I want to utilize the land for development. That’s the biggest concern I’ve had from day one and that’s where we’ve sat with things.”
Court’s mother, Denise, said Lassley verbally agreed at an Erda Township Planning Commission meeting to have the sign placed on his land when he was first approached by Alix two summers ago.
“We got the documentation ready and Roger Baker (Tooele City attorney) volunteered his time to put that together,” Denise said. “When we presented it to Jesse, he said that he didn’t want to do it after all.”
But when Lassley read over the document, he said there was no indication of who would be responsible for the sign if it needed to be moved or where it would be located.
“There are so many other variables in this other than making the sign,” Lassley said. “It’s frustrating and I feel really bad. Unfortunately it’s a lot of stuff, but these are issues that can be overcome.”
Lassley said if Alix is able to put together a legal document with all of the logistics that will protect him as a private landowner, he would be more than willing to allow the sign on his property. Currently, that land is being farmed and leased to a family, but Lassley hopes it will eventually become a residential development.
The Courts, however, feel as if they’ve been given false promises.
“He’s led us on for two years,” said Alix’s father Ben. “Otherwise it would be up and done by now with a ribbon cutting, that’s the bottom line.”
But, Lassley believes a formal agreement needs to be put in place before anything is permanently decided, including its location. The Courts believe only a 20-by-20 foot piece of property is needed for the sign, however, Lassley was under the impression that the sign had to put placed 40 feet back from his fence according to a sign ordinance.
“[Alix] has probably done everything in his power, without going to the legal side, to get this taken care of,” Lassley said. “If you were in a simple world of non-litigious people, it would be fine. He’s done everything properly.”
The Courts have volunteers who are willing to move the rock to whatever location is decided, but right now they’re just waiting. And so is Lassley, who is willing to work with Alix as long as the proper logistics have been worked out through legal agreements and documentation.
“There are so many questions I have that haven’t been answered,” Lassley said. “People should understand that you have to have these types of agreements in place for everyone’s best interest.”