LAYTON -- Local voters will have a say on two key land issues involving a potential development concept in west Layton, come Nov. 6.
The city council voted Thursday to push the land initiatives creating a west Layton village plan into a special election in November, less than a day after citizen-driven petitions were judged to have enough legal signatures to put the issues before voters.
Thieda Wellman, city recorder, said her office was able to certify the legal signatures of enough city residents to give the green light to an initiative to force the issues onto the ballot. Wellman's office cleared the signatures, after a similar review was done at the county level by the Davis County Board of Elections.
Under normal circumstances, the referendums wouldn't be on the ballot until the next municipal election, which would be in 2013. City officials don't want to wait 18 months for the decision, however, so they voted to piggyback the issues concurrent with the November election.
The city is expected to save some costs by putting the initiatives on the ballot this year, rather than staging a separate election on the issues, Wellman said.
The council action came just hours after a news release from Mayor Steve Curtis' office Thursday morning stated the council's support for the village center concept. The release suggests voters will support the concept, too.
The ballot initiatives challenge city council action taken in early April to rezone 107 acres on Hill Field Road for possible development of a village center, akin to Daybreak of Salt Lake County, as well as to amend the city master plan to lay the groundwork for the project.
The petitions suggest the city council ignored the concerns of residents who spoke against the project in a four-and-a-half hour public hearing on the matter, and that the rezone occurred without an application for the involvement of a developer.
The property in question is currently owned by Property Reserve Inc., which is a land-holding subsidiary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
City Attorney Gary Crane said the referendums are creating a stir in some circles and that the issues strike at the heart of private property rights.
"The development community is very, very nervous about this," Crane said.
City officials are required to develop a brochure on the complexities of the village plan, giving both pros and cons of the concepts, for each household in the city, before the election.