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Jordan River soccer complex controversy before high court

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 1 2011 9:55 p.m. MDT

The Utah Bond Validation Act has been used only once since it was passed by the state Legislature in 1987. The act allows a public body to file a petition to establish the validity of bonds.

The city filed its petition in response to legal challenges by the Jordan River Restoration Network, which had prevented the Salt Lake City Council from authorizing the sale of bonds to construct the Salt Lake Regional Athletic Complex near 1900 West and 2200 North.

The environmental group has four active lawsuits against the city and another against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, all related to the location of the complex near the Jordan River.

The group objects to the decision to build the soccer complex near the Jordan River and in a flood plain. It also has taken issue with the difference between the project approved by voters in 2003 and what the city now intends to build.

In the lawsuit against Salt Lake City residents and taxpayers, city attorneys contend the way the city plans to use the bond is consistent with language on the ballot.

Nadesan said in February that he believes the city's use of the Utah Bond Validation Act put his clients at a disadvantage because it allowed for an expedited hearing. That prevented his legal team from conducting discovery and depositions, as well as requesting and receiving documents from the city, he said.

Judge Hilder determined that enough notice was given, and the hearing was allowed to proceed.

City leaders held a groundbreaking ceremony in November 2010 for the $22.8 million first phase of the Salt Lake Regional Athletic Complex.

City officials plan to use the $15.3 million bond and a $7.5 million gift from Real Salt Lake to fund construction of 15 competition-quality soccer fields and one championship field with permanent bleachers and lights.

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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