A fledgling ordinance that establishes three council districts in Draper may be short-lived, with at least one newly elected council member considering a push to have it repealed.

Jeff Stenquist, who takes office in January, said he is contemplating a move to overturn the ordinance, which was approved during Tuesday's council meeting.

"The city council can't restrict the actions of a future city council," he said.

With the move to city council districts in Draper, residents next year will have one district representative and two at-large council members.

Councilman Paul Edwards brought up the possibility of dividing Draper into districts because "there's been a lot of people who have felt that they're disenfranchised and don't have proper representation," he said. "They are looking for things to get them more representation. I just felt like this was the fairest way to distribute that."

Bill Colbert and Pete Larkin voted against the ordinance; Edwards, LaMont Smith and Ryan Davies voted for it. During a public hearing at the same meeting, most speakers offered support for the measure, Edwards said.

Edwards wanted the ordinance to encourage people to approach their city council representatives; he said that at-large council members can intimidate residents who have concerns about smaller parts of city policy or minor problems.

Yet, balancing the three districts with two at-large seats means that at least two people will be required to consider the entire city in their work, he said.

"There have been people who have said that the district people would only look at their district and that it makes it difficult to pass some things that may be beneficial for the whole community," Edwards said. But, "if you had somebody that only looked at their district, you still have two who have to look at the city as a whole. If you get any of the other one districts to vote with you, you can carry the council. Doing it that way would be a means to potentially reduce the infighting. I don't know if that's the best, but logically it seemed to make sense to me."

Edwards originally instructed the city attorney to draft the ordinance with the requirement that a super majority had to strike it down — four votes instead of three of the five. That clause could not have withstood a court challenge, the city's attorney told Edwards, and so the council took out the paragraph before passing it.

Edwards said he included the phrase to dissuade the two new council members — Stephanie Davis and Stenquist — from repealing the ordinance when they take office in early January. Davis, Stenquist, and sitting councilman Bill Colbert live in the southern region of Draper, while Edwards and Larkin live closer to the city's center.

"It's well known that councilor Colbert and the two new councilors didn't support this, whether it be for personal reasons related to re-election or what, I don't know," Edwards said. "But I put it in there in an effort to try to dissuade them from trying to overturn it immediately."

Now, with votes from three of the five members, the ordinance can be overturned.

The seats that Colbert, Larkin and Edwards hold will convert to districts in the 2007 municipal elections; Davis' and Stenquist's seats will stay at-large seats.


E-mail: kswinyard@desnews.com