SALT LAKE CITY -- Will the 2010 legislative session be a case of deja vu for the people and developers of Powder Mountain?
By the end of next week, lawmakers will give them an answer.
Last year, a bill that would have allowed residents to vote on being able to immediately dissolve the town of Powder Mountain died just short of making it to the floor for final debate.
Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, brought the proposal back this year, and the bill again is waiting for possible action in the remaining days of the session.
But Froerer told about 15 residents and others at a Thursday meeting in the Capitol that this year was even more of an uphill battle.
To start with, the legislation never left committee after a tie vote.
The Powder Mountain fight started over zoning land in the Ogden Valley for expansion and development at Powder Mountain resort and involves developers, residents and Weber County commissioners.
The developers used a former state law to start the creation of the town of Powder Mountain. The law allowed that to occur without residents who would become part of the community having any say in the matter. The process spawned two legal cases that ended up in the Utah Supreme Court, both awaiting decisions from the justices.
In the meantime, Froerer wanted to give the 80-plus potential residents of Powder Mountain a chance to quickly decide their town's fate and not wait two years as is required under the current law.
In part, Froerer said, he wants to use the legislation as a way to encourage a resolution to the fight.
A memorandum of understanding between the parties is being negotiated, but Greg Curtis, an attorney for the developers, described the talks as "stalled."
Weber County Commissioner Craig Dearden was more optimistic and said more meetings are planned.
But a March 16 county-sponsored public gathering during which some of the issues would be discussed has been canceled.
"I canceled the meeting because there is nothing to present," Dearden said.
Froerer said some statehouse leaders want the people involved to settle the issue privately and not resort to legislation.
He was joined at the Capitol meeting by two other lawmakers who explained the complicated maneuvering to put the bill into motion.
A larger group of residents had met with the developers Wednesday night, and some still felt frustrated about the long battle.
"I feel like we are being held hostage," said Sharon Holmstrom, a county resident at the Capitol meeting.
But Curtis said his clients legally used a law to create the town and at the same time want to dissolve it if the zoning issues are mutually resolved.
"We are not holding them hostage."
The legislative session ends next Thursday.
Related link: This article is a topic of discussion at Weber County Forum.