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Utah Supreme Court rejects petitions by S. Jordan group
Zoning, council initiatives won't be on the ballot

South Jordan residents will not be voting this fall on expanding the City Council or changing the zoning along the Jordan River.

The Utah Supreme Court, without comment, ruled this week that city officials were right to reject two initiative petitions submitted by Brent Foutz, co-founder of the grass roots group, Save Open Space.City Administrator Gary Chandler was pleased with the ruling. "I just hope this is the end of it," he said.

But it may not be. Foutz said he's not giving up.

"We'll start all over and rewrite our petitions," Foutz said. "We'll make sure we do it right," by having them reviewed by an attorney. "The nine-member council had some minor flaw; we don't know if they were fatal flaws."

Foutz gathered enough signatures from registered voters to have both initiatives placed on the November ballot, but city officials rejected them as illegal.

He was in court earlier this week trying to persuade Supreme Court justices to force the city to seek a ballot that asks voters to expand the city's five-member council and mayor, all elected at large, to a nine-member council, elected by geographic districts.

Michael Hayes, an attorney representing the city, said Utah law doesn't allow a city the size of South Jordan to expand the council to nine members. Petitioners would need to seek a total overhaul of the city's government system, something Foutz didn't do.

As for the zoning issue, Hayes said the law does not allow initiatives on individual zoning decisions.

Developers Gerald Anderson and Mike Hutchings have been granted approvals to build an office park on the bank of the Jordan River between 10600 South and 11000 South. The approvals followed public hearings before the planning commission and City Council, he said.

Foutz argued that the public process in South Jordan is a sham. Developers have intimidated residents into silence by suing opponents, he said.

He and Save Open Space co-founders Janalee Tobias and Judy Feld are defendants in a lawsuit filed by developers over alleged interference with their business dealings.

Tobias said she was "heartsick" over the court's ruling. But she wouldn't comment further because of the lawsuit.