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SOUTH S.L. WEIGHS ITS NEXT PUNCH IN THE JAIL-SITE FIGHT

SHARE SOUTH S.L. WEIGHS ITS NEXT PUNCH IN THE JAIL-SITE FIGHT

The City Council probably won't know for two weeks if it can appeal a 3rd District Court ruling that paves the way for construction of a 350-bed minimum security jail near 3300 South and the Jordan River.

Judge Michael Murphy ruled that the South Salt Lake City Council's decision to deny the county a permit was "not based on substantial evidence and was arbitrary and capricious." The judge ordered the council to issue a conditional use permit allowing the county to proceed with construction.Residents living adjacent to the 17.5-acre site were pres-ent at Wednesday night's meeting to urge council members to appeal the decision.

The council asked the city attorney to review the decision, issued earlier Wednesday, but Mayor Jim Davis told the concerned citizens during a break that appeal options appear limited.

But Davis also told residents he is willing to pursue other courses of action, but the group must first decide what it wants to do.

County Commissioner Mike Stewart said the county will probably wait until late February or early March to break ground for the jail and that construction could take up to 20 months.

Stewart said a county offer to purchase area residences is still on the table. County offers will be based on current market appraisals, Stewart said. Residents will probably have the option to take the offers until the facility is complete.

Area residents have rejected initial proposals, saying the prices offered are not realistic.

While the so-called Oxbow site is considered the best location available now, it wasn't the county's first choice. The county originally wanted to use property at 2100 South and State Street, where the new county complex is located, to build the misdemeanor facility three years ago. Salt Lake City refused to issue the needed permit.

"It's really the best site available to us now," Stewart said of the Oxbow site. "We've already spent between $250,000 and $300,000 on engineering and other work."

County officials hope are hoping a new 115-bed addition at the present jail location will solve crowding problems until the new facility is built. The addition, which formerly housed the Salt Lake City police offices in the Metropolitan Hall of Justice complex, should be ready for use by Jan. 8.