Thursday, June 16, 2005

"Rhetoric" Heats Up in North Salt Lake Land Fight

Mayor Rocky Anderson held a rally yesterday at Library Square in Salt Lake City to announce that he was going to start action to condemn and take by eminent domain a portion of the property on the bench above Beck Street, adjacent to and owned by North Salt Lake City. North Salt Lake City has been pushing for limited development of a portion of the site, while retaining the majority in open space, trails and recreation.

However, North Salt Lake Mayor Kay Briggs, no shrinking violet himself, attended the rally with some of his city council and planning commission members, to share their point of view. See stories in the DesNews and SL Trib. Also see my previous posting on this story, on June 9.

There are legitimate ideas on both sides of this issue, and the whole issue deserves thorough discussion. But it never ceases to amaze me how Mayor Rocky says he supports working together on one hand, and how he then does just about the most inflammatory thing he can to really charge people up on the other.

State Rep. Ralph Becker, a fellow planner and long-time friend, put it best in his comment to my June 9 post, when he said, "The legal and political issues are challenging. ... My own analysis does not lead to clear-cut legal conclusions -- both sides have merit.

"I remain hopeful that the cities will find a way to respect each other's perspective and find a solution. It is too simplistic to say it is a taking or that North Salt Lake has a right to develop this property. It is equally simplistic to say the NSL deserves no compensation beyond the value of this property as naturalized open space.

"It's time to tone down the rhetoric," Ralph goes on to say. "I hope for the sake of a regional benefit, a mutually agreed upon solution will be reached with the land preserved and NSL compensated reasonably."

Well, Ralph, sorry to say, it doesn't look like the rhetoric got a turn down on the dial yesterday by Mayor Rocky. And I think Mayor Kay will be willing to oblige, if that's the way he wants to play this out.

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