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Opponent of 7 Peaks wants site to be open

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A resident who helped derail the Seven Peaks housing project last month now wants to ensure the land never becomes a subdivision.

Bonnie Callis submitted an application to change Provo's general plan for the area just prior to a city-imposed deadline to consider such revision. She also forked over a $560 filing fee.The current plan designates the Seven Peaks property for various forms of high- and low-density housing. Callis wants the land to revert to a public facilities zone, its designation until November 1995. Although the zone excludes private housing, it permits public uses such as schools, churches and even sewage pumping stations.

"We're trying to amend the general plan to reflect the vote of the City Council," Callis said.

The council voted in June to deny Brent and Scott McQuarrie's request to build 300 houses, twin homes and condominiums on the Seven Peaks Golf Course. The decision came after months of quarreling among developers, residents and council members. Residents believe the property should be maintained as open space or developed as a public park.

The future of Seven Peaks is apparently part of general land-use issues neighborhoods and city officials are grappling with.

Councilman Dennis Poulsen, who adamantly opposed the Seven Peaks development, has taken up Callis' cause and hopes to help her get her money back.

The city requires a filing fee for general plan changes initiated by residents that target a specific project - Seven Peaks in this case. City officials, however, can request a broad change without the fee.

Poulsen has intervened to enlarge the scope of Callis' request and in so doing get Callis her check back.

"Dennis is going to bat for us. I think they're going to waive the fee, but we've got to widen the scope," said Callis, who along with her husband Charles serves as the Joaquin neighborhood chairwoman.

The councilman was hesitant to talk about his role saying he doesn't want to "upset the apple cart."

"I don't even know how to approach this right now because there are so many things going on," he said.

The general plan revisions Poulsen intends to call for go beyond Seven Peaks. "This is a southeast Provo issue," he said, adding the entire east bench should be excluded from housing.

Callis said the city administration and planning staff are dragging their feet on Poulsen's effort to expand the changes and that more than Seven Peaks is at stake. There's a power struggle between the mayor's office and the city's neighborhood program, she said. Callis said she's concerned that the mayor wants to wrest the program from the City Council.

"I don't think that's a true statement," said Mary DeLamare-Schaefer, Provo director of community and government relations. She did say, however, that there's always a question about where a program sits. "I certainly wouldn't characterize it as any sort of power struggle."

Poulsen described it as a chess match.

"There's more than one issue. This is going to get bigger in the next several weeks on a number of issues," he said.