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Farmington candidates focus on future development

FARMINGTON — This is a city almost untouched by commercial development. But in the next five years, projects are planned that will double the city's commercial spaces.

City officials have been strongly criticized for their role in planning for the development. It comes as little surprise then, with the mayor and two council members up for election, eight residents have declared candidacy for municipal office.

Development is a key issue for all the candidates.

On Oct. 4, they will face off in a primary. Two are challenging the incumbent mayor; six are challenging the incumbent council members. Based on the votes of residents, two mayoral candidates and four council candidates will be eligible to compete in the Nov. 8 general election.

A brief biography of each candidate is featured below. The first three candidates listed are running for mayor; the other eight are seeking a city council office.

David M. Connors, 53, has served as Farmington mayor for one term. Before becoming mayor, he was a city councilman for eight years. Connors works as an attorney for a Salt Lake law firm. He attended both Yale University and Brigham Young University.

Connors says he and the Farmington City Council have carefully managed the city's growth. He says he has developed experience and relationships that are critical for helping Farmington through a time of change.

"I want to see this community continue to grow and develop as it should," he said. "We need to continue to promote development that's consistent with the history and traditions of the city."

Scott C. Harbertson, 48, has no previous political experience. He has lived in Farmington for 25 years. He attended Brigham Young University and is co-owner of THB Inc., a wholesale distributor of fasteners.

Harbertson says several Farmington residents encouraged him to run. If elected, he wants to promote more community involvement. He feels residents should be given more notice of important city decisions.

"I have no political agenda," he said. "I have never been in the political arena before. What I bring is business knowledge. I want to run the city more in that vein (as a businessman) than probably the way it has been done in the past."

Cory R. Ritz, 45, has served on the Farmington Planning Commission the past four years and served as chair for two. Ritz received a bachelor's degree from Western Oregon University. He works as a district sales manager for Forage Genetics.

Ritz says the leadership in Farmington is due for change. Residents haven't been listened to, he said. Future development is critical and must be planned carefully.

"There needs to be a careful balancing of residential and commercial development," he said. "We need both. The commercial is critical to develop a tax base, but if not done correctly, we run the risk of having empty buildings."

Paula Alder, 45, has lived in Farmington for 18 years. She has three children and has been active in volunteer positions within the PTA.

Alder says she is concerned about future development plans for Farmington.

"We all know we need the tax base," she said, "but we don't want all of Main Street lined by commercial development."

David S. Hale, 58, is an independent insurance broker. He has served four years on the Farmington City Council. Before that, we was a member of the city's Planning Commission.

Hale says Farmington needs to develop a commercial tax base to pay for services like new fire and police stations. He says he has the "experience and track record" to move Farmington in a positive future direction.

Susan Tanner Holmes, 57, has lived in Farmington for 28 years. She is a member of the Farmington City Council and has served on the Planning Commission and other local and regional committees.

Holmes says she has the background, know-how and experience to help Farmington grow positively in the future.

"I'm going to hold very strong in protecting Farmington's historical value," she said.

Trinity S. Jordan, 25, works for a non-profit group called Elevation. He has not held a political office, but interned with former Gov. Mike Leavitt and worked on one of John Ashcroft's Senate re-election campaigns.

Jordan says proper zoning and planning is critical for Farmington's future.

"What I stand for is for Farmington being a community and city based on families," he said.

Robert Kohutek was born in Pocatello, Idaho. He received both a doctorate in political science and a master's of public administration from the University of Utah.

Top issues include economic development, transportation planning and budget priorities. He says he doesn't want to raise taxes, but commercial sales tax won't help build all city services.

Darrell Lake, 61, is the owner of Lake Welding in Farmington. He has no previous political experience.

Lake says Farmington is facing serious development pressure and planning should be done carefully.

"I'd like to see lots of commercial development, but located where it will have minimal impact on the 'old town' parts of Farmington and minimal impact on residents," he said.

John G. Montgomery, 44, once served on the Farmington Planning Commission. He received a finance degree from the University of Utah and works in commercial real estate finance. He says he has the experience to make sure the city "does development right."

"We've got real critical, large, complex projects going on," he said.

Arthur Kirk Parmley, 62, has lived in Farmington the past two years. He is retired but used to work in electrical construction. He was active in labor unions.

Parmley says Farmington needs to grow correctly. He wants to expand Lagoon and develop a larger tax base.

"The 'do nothing' party has prevailed and dwelled and here we are," he said. "I'm not a member of the 'do nothing' party."