clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

S. Jordan activist takes case to top
He asks justices to let initiatives be put on ballot

Brent Foutz is seeking to have the Utah Supreme Court force South Jordan to put two initiatives before voters: one on preserving the river bottoms and the other on expanding the City Council.

City officials recently rejected both petitions as illegal even though the Salt Lake County clerk verified the signers of the petitions are registered voters.Foutz filed an appeal Friday.

The petitions were circulated by Foutz, a co-founder of the grass-roots group Save Open Space formed in opposition to a business park along the Jordan River bottoms.

One of the petitions aims to allow voters to repeal a City Council decision that changed the master plan to allow a 100-acre business park on the riverbank from 10600 South to about 11000 South.

City Administrator Gary Chandler turned the petitions over to the city attorney. Officials determined that zoning decisions are not appropriate for the initiative process.

Yet Foutz, in his appeal, states that this is the only way residents can be heard.

SOS co-founders Janalee Tobias and Judy Feld were sued in March 1998 by Anderson Development for allegedly interfering with his business dealings. Because of this, few people are willing to speak out against the project, Foutz said in his appeal.

Yet there was overwhelming support for the petitions, Foutz said.

It was impossible for proper due process to occur, the appeal states, "because of an atmosphere of repression and intimidation."

The other petition seeks a nine-member City Council elected by geographic district to replace the present five-member council and mayor, all elected at large.

Chandler and attorneys contend that Utah law mandates that a city South Jordan's size must have a five-member council. A total overhaul of the city's government system is needed before expanding the council, city officials have said.

Foutz maintains that the petition met the requirements.

"By not specifying a change from a manager to a strong-mayor form, Foutz said, "the intent of the petition to maintain a manager form of city government is clear."