Sandy Wal-Mart Fight Goes Back to Court

Sandy Wal-Mart Fight Goes Back to Court

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John Daley ReportingThe heated battle over big-box retailer Wal-Mart coming to Sandy is coming to a head with continuing legal skirmishes and voters set to consider the issue in November. Today that fight was back at the Utah Supreme Court for the second time this year.

Sandy Wal-Mart Fight Goes Back to Court

The fight over this property has become Sandy's biggest political battle in years. The city, over objections of a large citizens group, okayed a zone change, allowing big-box retailers Wal-Mart and Lowes to build there.

Sandy's powerful Mayor Tom Dolan is up for reelection in the fall and he defends the move, saying without it the city loses two of its biggest taxpayers.

Tom Dolan, (R) Sandy Mayor: "We will lose, with Wal-mart and Lowes leaving the community, over 600-thousand dollars of income to the city."

The decision inspired a community group to take the issue directly to voters via a referendum. One member of the group is running for mayor, saying city officials ignored their constituents.

Gary T. Forbush, Candidate for Mayor: "While we talked I don't think that they listened. I'm more willing to live with what the people decide than what the city council and the mayor did."

Today opponents were back before the Utah Supreme Court, arguing the big-box ballot language the city drafted is vague and confusing. In court the city's attorney argued the wording "is not gobbledygook" to city officials. But one justice asked, "isn't this gobbledygook to voters?" It's something project opponents are wondering too.

Robyn Bagley, Save Our Communities: "We do want it made clear that big boxes are going in, because that's the major difference. Currently those are not permitted in the zone and that's what our problem is."

The court made no decision today, taking it under advisement.

Election day is the first Tuesday in November. Sandy City says it needs a month to get its ballots ready so the Supreme Court has about a month to make a decision and draft new ballot language if it so chooses.

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