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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended May 14, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 16May00

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.


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