Thursday, April 12, 2007

BIG BOX repeal on the ballot

The referendum petition was reportedly certified by the County Clerk today.

1658 Signatures submitted
1424 Certified as valid - others were not registered, duplicates, non Heber, etc.

As under 1200 were required by law to put the item on the ballot; it appears that Heber citizens WILL have the opportunity to repeal the MURCZA zone allowing 150,000 (or more) sqft retail businesses and five story condo units at 20 (?) units per acre.

Heber City Council basically ignored the petition signers:

Ballot box may decide big-box issue in Heber City
By Christopher Smart The Salt Lake TribuneSalt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated:04/09/2007 12:24:49 AM MDT
The Heber City Council voted last week to zone 70 acres for big-box retail - despite a petition drive to allow voters to determine whether such large structures should be built within city limits.

A grass-roots organization called "Put Heber Valley First" needed to gather the signatures of 1,160 registered Heber City voters to put the referendum on the November ballot. They submitted 1,595 names to City Hall before the April 1 deadline.

Wasatch County Clerk Brent Titcomb is in the process of certifying the petition signatures. That tally should be complete this week. The petition push came in reaction to a February council vote to increase the limit on large retail outlets from 60,000 square feet to 150,000 square feet. That could set the stage for Wal-Mart.

Mayor Dave Phillips said Friday he believes there is a good chance the issue will go to voters. The Boyer Co., which is acquiring most of the 70 acres in question, had requested the rezone, Phillips said. "The developer knows it could go to a referendum," he said. Nonetheless, the council voted 4-1 for the rezone. Councilman Terry Lange cast the lone vote against the change.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Hokanson said the council didn't wait for the petition to be certified because "we wanted our intentions known." She pointed to a 2005 study that showed 90 percent of Heber City residents' nongrocery retail spending takes place outside Wasatch County. In addition, Hokanson said, Heber City leaders fear big-box retail could come to Wasatch County but be located outside city limits. "We want to broaden our commercial area and our tax base."

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