News / Utah / 

Highland to remain closed for business on Sundays

By Sam Penrod | Posted - Nov. 7, 2012 at 7:21 p.m.


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HIGHLAND - Voters in a small Utah city shot down a proposal to allow businesses to be open on Sunday. It became a contentious issue in a community largely populated by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For Highland residents, it became an issue of weighing values against choice. In July, the city council voted to allow businesses to be open on Sunday. But a group of residents didn't like it and got the issue on the ballot.


I think things open on Sunday doesn't take away anybody's rights, but having them closed on Sundays does. I wish we would have let people have choices.

–Sherry Carruth


On Election Day, the majority of Highland residents - 60 percent, to be exact -- voted to keep businesses, including stores and restaurants, closed on Sunday.

It has been a way of life in Highland for decades. But this election, Prop 6 left many residents conflicted, trying to decide if businesses should have a choice.

"I think things open on Sunday doesn't take away anybody's rights, but having them closed on Sundays does," said resident Sherry Carruth. "I wish we would have let people have choices."


For me, just trying to maintain commitment to things that matter most, and that is religious conviction.

–Mark Farnsworth.


For many, this was an issue of personal conviction.

"For me, just trying to maintain commitment to things that matter most, and that is religious conviction," said resident Mark Farnsworth.

Highland only has a few shops and several fast food restaurants. Proponents of Sunday sales argued many businesses and major retailers may be passing up Highland in favor of nearby communities such as Lehi and American Fork because of the policy.

Opponents, however, argued that keeping businesses closed on Sundays would allow Highland to keep its small-town image.

"We moved here to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city," said resident Jerry Schmidt. "We love the feel of this Mayberry town and want it to stay that way."

But the price of keeping stores closed on Sunday may be higher property taxes, as Highland struggles to pay for new infrastructure from a limited sales tax base.

"It's a very conservative community, very against commercial growth, which unfortunately I understand," said Carruth. "But we need it. We need to sustain living. We can't keep raising property taxes. I'm not surprised (at the outcome), but a little sad."

Mayor Lynn Ritchie says he doesn't believe allowing businesses to open on Sunday would really increase the sales tax base.

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Sam Penrod

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