LAYTON -- A citizen's group, initially organized to turn back at the polls a proposed 140-acre mixed-use development known as West Layton Village, is expanding its mission and membership by throwing group support behind political candidates seeking office in the Aug. 13 Layton municipal primary.
The effort by the group is an attempt to have some representation on the council.
The group has been in contact with Grace Stevenson, a Layton mayoral candidate, and Tom Day and Joy Petro, both political newcomers seeking seats on the city council, said VeeAnne Day, spokeswoman for the Layton Citizens group.
Stevenson is challenging former Councilman Bob Stevenson, Councilwoman Joyce Forbes Brown and Councilman Jory Francis for the open mayor's seat, while Tom Day and Petro are in a field of six candidates competing for two open seats on the council.
VeeAnne Day, a sister-in-law to Tom Day, said their group, formerly known in the media as West Layton Citizens for Responsible Growth in its initial challenge of the city's proposed West Layton Village project last November, has evolved into Layton Citizens, with its ultimate objective being to have the city council represent its citizenry and not the city corporation.
"Without the council representing the citizens, we have lost our checks-and-balances system," VeeAnne Day said.
The council followed staff recommendations in moving forward with the West Layton Village project despite the protest of those residents who claimed the project would create more traffic congestion in west Layton and burden schools.
Voters, by about a 1,000 vote margin, defeated two propositions that would have provided the city with the zoning required to move forward with the large development along Hill Field Road, between 2200 West and 2700 West.
VeeAnne Day said she realizes some people will try to paint their group as being one-issue-related. But the longtime Layton resident stresses that their mission statement reaches beyond just the one issue.
"Our Founding Fathers were willing to sacrifice everything in order to establish a government for, of and by the people. When that process is impeded, we do not take it lightly," she said.
Layton City Attorney Gary Crane said he is not surprised the citizens' group is looking to support a select group of candidates.
"I'm aware these three individuals (Tom Day, Petro and Grace Stevenson) came in together (to file to run for office)," said Crane, adding that he personally witnessed them come in together.
But Crane said, "There is nothing illegal about what they are doing," and the citizen's group has every right to do what they're doing.
There is a good field of candidates out there, Crane said, and voters will evaluate what is going on and who will best serve the city as a whole.
"We want to return to the Layton people their voice in city government, regardless of which part of Layton they live in," VeeAnne Day said of their group's intentions.
Part of that, she said, is for their group to contact many of the challengers who are seeking city office this summer.
While Grace Stevenson does live in west Layton, VeeAnne Day points out that Tom Day resides on the east side of the city.
The group is looking for fresh faces who are not in it out of self-interest, she said, but rather those who are interested in serving the residents of Layton.