Thursday, August 25, 2005

Let the Referendum Games Begin!

Good story in this morning's Deseret News on the "campaigns" that are starting to gear up in Sandy over the gravel pit development referendum.

We get more of these, it may be how we decide important land use issues in Utah in the future.


At 10:14 AM, Blogger ARCritic said...

The situation that this referendum has come to symbolize, the park vs the Walmart, is an unfortunate one. As the article indicates Forbush's stance is,"For me, the referendum is not about a park, and it's really not about Wal-Mart. It's about whether the citizens were heard during these public hearings."

Others might have different reasons, but from what I saw following this, the planning commission and the city council are zoning for $ here. Is that what the citizens wanted? The input during and after the process would suggest not. From what I remember there were very few citizens in favor of the change that would allow Walmart and many many against the change that would allow Walmart.

Did the planning commission and council do the will of the people? Or were they looking at ways to increase tax revenue. Over and over Mayor Dolan has been quoted as saying that Sandy wants the additional tax revenue that this development will generate.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Wilf said...

Arcritic, you are right on. My lamenting the use of referenda to decide planning-related issues is not an objection to the ability of citizens to take on things they feel aren't being handled as they'd like. It has more to do with the fact that many planning and land use issues are complex and nuanced, better handled by a deliberative process rather than by putting 80 words on a ballot and having an up or down vote.

It means that we need to do a better job, as planners and elected officials, to make sure there is good involvement by the public at the front end of these issues.

In the end, I think there will still always be someone who thinks the decision should have gone the other way. But if there has been a good process, they may not find enough support to strike up a referendum.

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