Summarized by Kent Larsen
Salt Lake City set to clarify the sale of street
Deseret News 13May00 N1
By Hans Camporreales and Alan Edwards: Deseret News staff writers
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Salt Lake City will try to make an end-run
around the ACLU's civil lawsuit tomorrow by passing an ordinance
amendment clarifying its stance on the sale. The amendment could
nullify the ACLU's lawsuit against the city and the LDS Church
without affecting the sale of the street to the Church.
The proposed amendment would make the City Council's intentions
clear, stating that the Council intended to drop one of the 15
restrictions recommended by the City Planning Commission. The
condition eliminated required that the Church's rules for the plaza
be no more restrictive than a public park. City attorney Roger Cutler
indicated to the Council that because they didn't specifically say
they had eliminated one of the restrictions on purpose, the ordinance
selling the street may seem ambiguous, "The two laws say the same
thing, but the second one is removing any ambiguity or
misunderstanding that the (ACLU) is reading into it," Cutler said.
"It makes it more clear, if that is necessary, that the council knew
what it was doing when it adopted the 14 conditions and approved the
closure of the street."
Cutler believes that passing the amendment will make the second
lawsuit filed by the ACLU last month moot. Even the ACLU admits that
this might work, "I'm just happy that they recognize that the street
can't be closed pursuant to the original ordinance," said ACLU
attorney Stephen Clark. "If the city itself can provide a
clarification of the intent and admit that its original ordinance was
faulty and misleading at best, then that's a victory."
But both sides admit that the original lawsuit, challenging the
constitutionality of the sale, will still proceed. "That's not going
to be affected at all, except in a potentially positive way, by this
kind of procedural maneuvering by the city," said the ACLU's Clark.