Like most cities along the Wasatch Front, attracting new businesses and expanding the city's tax base are the key elements in this fall's municipal election in Farmington.

But just where the city's new businesses should be located and how best to preserve the community's semi-rural lifestyle are being hotly debated.The intersection of U.S. Highway 89 and Shepard Lane in north Farmington is becoming the city's new shopping and commercial center, which has nearby residents and downtown merchants concerned about the city's direction.


The questions of direction and leadership led incumbent councilman Don White to challenge current mayor Robert W. Arbuckle for the city's top job.

White, 1820 Ramsgate Road, is a real estate developer and property manager who was elected to the council in 1985 and has served on a number of the city's advisory and study committees.

White said he decided to challenge Arbuckle, who is completing his first term as mayor, at the urging of some current and past council members.

"I believe, like they do, that it is time for a change and I'm excited at the possibilities of becoming mayor," White said, noting he believes the mayor should offer stronger leadership and clear goals for the council.

White said he fought for the hiring of a full-time city planner and pushed for passage of a revised master plan and zoning ordinance, which has opened the way for the commercial center in the city.

Along with that, the city has tighter architectural and site plan review requirements, which he said will help preserve the city's character.

"We must be forward thinking in providing avenues for more sources of income for the city and continued efforts to provide the necessary services for all citizens," White said.

"I believe that Farmington is one of the few cities along the Wasatch Front that has not been destroyed by poor planning and commercial blight. I believe with the right type of leadership it can continue to be a beautiful and efficient city," said White.

Arbuckle, 145 E. Paracle Circle, has lived in Farmington 17 years and is owner of a heating and air conditioning contracting firm in Davis County.

He believes the mayor should represent the views of city residents during council discussions, speaking up on issues instead of simply acting as the meeting chairman and occasionally casting a tie-breaking vote.

"A mayor ought to be independent and voice what the people think," said Arbuckle, who favors more citizen input in council decisions.

He is also critical of White's background as a developer, saying it could affect his perception of the growth and zoning issues that face the city.

In his past four years as mayor, Arbuckle said the city has avoided raising taxes but his comments before last summer's bond election for park improvements and construction of a new fire and police building raised the ire of the council.

Arbuckle declined to endorse the council's position that the bonds would not bring a tax increase, saying that with the hiring of new city personnel and other commitments the council made, he isn't sure it can all be financed without a tax increase.

The current mayor pointed to rewriting the city's master plan, drafting plans for water and sewer improvements, an increased street budget, and improvements in the city's park system as some of his accomplishments over the past four years.

The city has also made major strides in preserving its historical character, Arbuckle said.

He is running again to complete several projects, including the police and fire safety complex, and other capital improvement projects.

White polled 505 votes in October's primary election to Arbuckle's 418. A third candidate, Glenn R. Maughan, polled 119 and was eliminated.

City Council

In the city's council race, four candidates - all newcomers - are vying for the seat being vacated by White and councilman Don Redd, who is not running again.

On the ballot are attorney Greg Bell, restaurant owner Ranae Bentley, planning commission member L. Hank Semadeni, and Larry Haugen, who ran unsuccessfully for the council two years ago.

Bell, 1046 N. Farmington Hills Drive, came to the public's attention when he spoke against a rezone re

quest to allow construction of a gas station and convenience store on Burke Lane.

His platform includes preservation of the city's residential character, carefully controlled growth, a close watch on city spending, and more small neighborhood parks in residential areas.

An attorney specializing in banking, land use, and property finance, Bell said he doesn't favor a downtown redevelopment district.

"I do not foresee extensive development downtown in light of the county justice complex being built in west Farmington," Bell said, in addition to the growing commercial area in north Farmington.

Bell encourages the growth of craft and antique shops in the downtown area to enhance what he called its "New England" flavor and style.

Bentley, 715 S. 400 East, owns Ranae's Kafe in downtown Farmington. She is running because of her concern for the downtown area's future and at the urging of neighboring business owners.

She serves on the city's historical preservation commitee and headed up the recent Country Holidays festival in the downtown area.

Three main issues face the city, according to Bentley: the tax base, growth, and commercial development.

The city needs to develop a consensus on handling growth, Bentley said, through its residents and existing economic development committee. Preserving the city's residential reas and the downtown historical district should also be a high priority.

As a downtown restaurant owner, Bentley said she has learned the city attracts tourists from all over the world because of its unique character and should capitalize on that.

"As a resident and small business owner I can understand the feelings and needs of the people. I will work to keep our taxes low, where feasible, to maintain our quality of life and to encourage and allow for growth in business and development," Bentley said.

Another candidate who thinks the downtown business district is in trouble is Haugen, 94 E. 500 North, own

er and operator of a vehicle repair and body shop in north Farmington.

"I've worked in Farmington all my life. This is my hometown," said Haugen, who studied economics and business management at Weber State College.

"In the past years I have lobbied for city officials who I thought would be good for the city. Now it's my turn to help it grow in the right direction and to try and make it better for us all.

"I am concerned about how we as a city spend the little money that we have," he said. "I want to use the resources that we have to their fullest."

Haugen said he favors commercial development along U.S. 89 as a boost to the city's tax base and said the upgrading of the highway to an expressway should be monitored to ensure the city is not bypassed.

Semadeni, 247 E. 600 South, has lived in Farmington 16 years and is a Medicaid administrator for the state.

He served two terms on the city planning commission, one as chairman, and on the master plan task force.

"I believe that city government should meet public needs in a cost effective manner," he said. "Some public needs could be fulfilled by contracting with private enterprise.

"I feel that government has certain obligations and limitations which should be clearly identified and carefully followed."

After living in the city 16 years, Semadeni said he's running because "I feel strongly that I should contribute my service to continue this tradition of excellence into the '90s."