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NOT A FOE OF DEVELOPMENT, COUNCILS ASSOCIATION SAYS

SHARE NOT A FOE OF DEVELOPMENT, COUNCILS ASSOCIATION SAYS

The United Association of Community Councils does not oppose development, but the organization often is perceived by business as a stumbling block.

"We are for development. We are for good, complete planning," said president Norman Sims to the Board of Governors of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.The association serves 20 community councils in unincorporated Salt Lake County, which represent about 250,000 people.

Community councils, formed under state statute, have no authority to stop development, but the organizations can slow the process if developers fail to discuss their plans with the councils, Sims said. The councils most often serve an advisory role, he said.

"Where we've been accused of being anti-development, it's because sometimes we oppose some development," such as locating a number of convenience stores within close proximity or placing an office in a residential neighborhood, Sims said.

Other than the $8,000 Salt Lake County allocates to the association each year, much of the community's work is done by volunteers. Sims said the people who serve on community councils must be carefully screened to make certain the membership is free from the influence of special-interest groups or developers.

"We try diligently to make sure we're not self-serving. We try to ferret out those people rather quickly, and they they don't last very long," Sims said.