Friday, February 03, 2006

Who's In Charge -- Elected Officials or Citizens?

Quite an interesting story in the Trib this morning about the Bluffdale disconnection petition, which I've referenced and blogged about before.

As the hearing wrapped up Thursday, Bluffdale attorney Dale Gardiner announced to the judge that the city is trying to reach a deal with the developers/petitioners for disconnection, and hopefully settle before the judge issues a ruling.

Judge Tony Quinn was surprised, and asked some interesting questions. He noted that as of late, it has been Bluffdale residents, not the elected officials, who have been blocking the development plans. "How can a developer negotiate with, in effect, all the people of Bluffdale? How can a developer negotiate when the mayor and City Council become an agency with no authority, that can say 'no' but never say 'yes.'"

The judge was referring to the fact that residents had used the referendum drive to overturn their elected officals' decisions on plans for development of the property, then scuttled a lawsuit settlement by going to court.

So who really is in charge? And what do such actions bode for the future of the planning authority of local elected officials? I've heard it said before, the American Founding Fathers rejected the notion of direct democracy in favor of a republican representative form of government to avoid difficulties in reaching decisions and moving things forward. Judge Quinn may have just made obvious for us some of the difficulties that direct democracy pose in the land use regulation arena as well.


At 4:03 PM, Blogger ARCritic said...

Many people talk about the republican represetative democracy type of government that the founding fathers put in place. It is interesting because at the state and local level it is more democracy and less representative republic.

People say "well if you don't like what they do, you can always vote them out." Unfortunately, like in the case with Bluffdale, it would seem that the majority of citizens seem to want to keep it a low density rural town. If they are forced to wait until they can vote out a group they voted in that then didn't follow the will of the people it could cost them their community, their "persuit of happiness".

It will also be interesting, the ramifications if the judge rules for the landowners and they are allowed to disconnect and go to Herriman.

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Evan said...

As a Herriman resident I am all for the Bluffdale land to come to Herriman, only if there is a prized temple in the winnings. Otherwise I think we should keep the land out of Herriman. I like the fact that Herriman is growing in recognition and is really filling out. If we open up Herriman to 4000 more acers Herriman wont fill out for a long time. Guess I am a homeowner watching the stock of my home value.

Another note, Salt Lake Libune reports the temple is in Bluffdale like it is fact. We get an X mayor telling us he saw a developer point out a general location where the temple may be? I still think Herriman is in the running, reguardless of the land dispute resolution.


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