The Utah Supreme Court released its version of wording for the Sandy city referendum Monday, and all sides concerned are praising the court's "clear and concise" language.

The Nov. 8 voter referendum will determine the zoning on a 107-acre former gravel pit at 9400 South and 1000 East. A "yes" vote to the referendum will allow a development by the Boyer Co. with a Wal-Mart, Lowe's Home Improvement store, restaurants, housing and smaller shops. A "no" vote will prohibit the big-box retailers and likely would send the parcel back to the City Council for reconsideration.

Both Boyer Co. and Save Our Communities (SOC), which is fighting the development, approve of the Supreme Court's wording.

"We're happy with the Supreme Court and letting people know what the 'yes' vote means," said Kelly Casaday, a spokesman for the Boyer Co.

Developers were happy with the original wording that Sandy City Attorney Walter Miller crafted but understood that it went into more detail than the Supreme Court preferred, Casaday said.

SOC petitioned the Supreme Court to rewrite the wording after seeing Miller's version (see accompanying box for both the new and old versions); the group said it was convoluted and undecipherable. Now, SOC sees this wording as a victory, said member Robyn Bagley.

"I think it's very fair and impartial, and I think it removes the confusion," Bagley said. "I think it explains the issue at hand in very clear and concise language."

Miller did not return phone calls seeking comment Monday.

The Supreme Court's version says that "if approved by the voters, the ordinance will amend the zoning category applicable to the 'Gravel Pit' . . . to allow a number of new uses that are prohibited under the current zone."

This wording comes near the end of a nearly 18-month fight between SOC and Sandy and the Boyer Co. SOC, which formed as a loose coalition of activists in response to the City Council's approval of zoning that allowed the Boyer Co. development, first tried to force a referendum in January. Sandy denied SOC's petition signatures on grounds that the zone change was not subject to a threshold of signatures that SOC had not met. SOC asked the Supreme Court to rule, and in a July 1 decision, the court required Sandy to hold the referendum. Since then, the Boyer Co. has asked the Supreme Court to rehear that case, but the court has not responded to that request.

"We're prepared to just move forward with the campaign," said Wade Williams, director of retail development for the Boyer Co. "We think we have a great story to tell. . . . We're just anxious to get our message out to people."


E-mail: kswinyard@desnews.com