Friday, August 19, 2005

Sandy Referendum Ballot Wording Challenged

As noted would happen in an earlier blog entry, Save Our Communities has filed a petition with the Utah Supreme Court to challenge the wording that is supposed to appear on the ballot in November on the gravel pit development in Sandy.

Robyn Bagley, a member of SOC, says of the proposed ballot wording, "It's a threat to the referendum process. The voters don't know what they are voting for."

Wally Miller, Sandy City Attorney, on the other hand, says, "We contacted the key parties on all sides of the dispute before we wrote the language. But we could not reach a consensus."

So SOC is now asking the Utah Supreme Court to write the language. What kind of process are we getting ourselves into in land use planning and regulation? You can read more details on this story in both the DesNews and the Salt Lake Trib.

The ballot wording in dispute? Here it is:

"In November 2004, Sandy City adopted Ordinance No. 04-45 governing land uses at the 'Gravel Pit' (approximately 1000 East and 9400 South). The stated purpose of the ordinance is to provide for master-planned mixed use development to act as a cohesive development combining retail, commercial, higher density residential, office and public uses as specified in the ordinance, under a master plan and standards which encourage integration of uses and appropriate transition to abutting zones."


At 10:08 AM, Blogger ARCritic said...

Well when you put it that way, why would anyone be against that?

The city obviously felt that to put any reason why the citizens group would be against the ordiance into the ballot title would be prejudicail and unfair to the city. But by making it so bland and sanitized they are going to continue and increase the coverage of the battle to the point that people will be voting against the city because the city seems to be doing everything possible to be unfair to the citizens.

I agree with you that lawmaking by referendum and inititive is not ideal. Land use issues are even worse. Did you see what is going on in Highland?

I don't know how to link but there was an article in the DNews yesterday, I think, about it. There are 3 of them. One dealing with the irrigation company that the city took over, one about fences next to open space and the third about how open space must be landscaped and maintained.

Having spearheaded a referenum that was ultimately successful, I can say it would have been much better if the city council would have worked with me and the other rabblerousers than constantly going into executive session and shutting out public input and opinion.

At 12:16 PM, Blogger ARCritic said...

As I said when I was in the midst of the referendum fight with my city council, of whom I am now a member, "They are drunken with power". Myself not excluded.

It is my greatest fear that I will treat members of the public in a manner similar to how I was treated.

At 1:37 PM, Blogger Wilf said...

Good comment, arcritic. As the Director of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute said in the Western Planner conference session a couple of weeks ago, the best way to short circuit the referenda process is to make sure citizens are well involved in planning decisions up front. If we do our job there, hopefully there won't be a lot of disaffected folks around to sign referenda petitions.

At 10:20 PM, Blogger Former Centerville Citizen said...

Amen! If you want to come to a town where public input is not a high priority (of neither the city government nor the majority of citizens that are apathetic), come to Centerville. And then if you do try to understand all the issues, read the ordinances, etc., you're just considered one of those crazy citizens that comes to all the meetings.

At 8:05 AM, Blogger ARCritic said...

And then if you do try to understand all the issues, read the ordinances, etc., you're just considered one of those crazy citizens that comes to all the meetings.,

That is probably one of the most unfortunately accurate statements I have ever read. If there were more 'crazy citizens' then it might not be looked on as being 'crazy'. And the administration and elected officials would not seem so out of touch with the public.


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