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Avenues group OKs Rocky's LDS Plaza plan

The Greater Avenues Community Council Wednesday overwhelming supported Mayor Rocky Anderson's land/community center-swap compromise for the Main Street Plaza controversy.

While there were some complaints about the process — some felt the land/community center swap was a done deal regardless of the opinions of the community councils while others felt The Church of Latter-day Saints was being treated well because of its status — but the majority favored Anderson's compromise, which will establish a Unity Center providing services for Glendale residents in exchange for the city's easement across the church-owned Main Street Plaza.

When the vote was called for, 63 community council members voted in favor of Anderson's proposal. Another 13, including American Civil Liberties Union of Utah executive director Dani Eyer, voted in favor of Anderson's previous "time, place and manner" plan, while another six voted to keep the status quo on the plaza.

Eyer said the ACLU supports Anderson's "time, place and manner" restrictions and thinks that plan will be the best solution. However, Eyer couldn't guarantee that the ACLU would not mount a constitutional challenge to the "time, place and manner" rules. Eyer also held out the possibility that the ACLU would sue if Anderson's land/community center-swap compromise is adopted.

In 1999 there were complaints in the Avenues and Capitol Hill neighborhoods that many LDS faithful packed community council meetings when a vote to support or decline the sale of Main Street was taken.

Again Wednesday the Avenues meeting was packed with people who don't normally attend the meetings. However, community council chairman Wynn Johnson said the new attendees appeared to be split in half between LDS members and those that are non-LDS. The group that gathered for the vote was about double what would attend a normal meeting, Johnson said.

Christian Fonnesbeck disagreed. He said that a large number of LDS faithful packed the meeting. On any issue the council deals with involving the church, many LDS members who don't normally attend the meetings show up, Fonnesbeck said.

The Avenues council was the first community council to support the land/community center swap. Already, the Downtown Alliance and Citizens Transportation Advisory Board have voted to approve the plan.

A city-wide open house regarding the proposal will be held March 27 at the new City Library downtown.