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Highland residents vote to keep businesses closed on Sundays

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 7 2012 5:35 p.m. MST

Fifty-four percent of Highland residents who voted Tuesday did so against allowing local businesses to operate on Sunday.

Scott G Winterton, Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

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HIGHLAND — While Colorado was voting to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and Maryland was legalizing gay marriage, voters in Highland were casting their ballots to keep local businesses closed on Sundays.

Fifty-four percent of Highland residents who voted Tuesday did so against allowing local businesses to operate on Sunday.

The Highland City Council voted in July to allow businesses to have Sunday business hours while encouraging residents to petition to put the issue on the ballot.

"I have always stated that it's a community value issue," Highland Mayor Lynn Ritchie said. "And so the (residents) have spoken, and that's the way that democracy works."

Ritchie said he favored keeping the law as it was, with businesses closed on Sunday, because "it gives us a day of quiet, a day of non-hustle and bustle, and a day that the (residents) can have less traffic and many benefits to the community value."

Not everyone was pleased with the results of Tuesday's vote. Nearly 46 percent of voters cast their ballots in favor of allowing Sunday business hours.

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

Those in favor of Sunday business hours argue that businesses, including major retailers, are passing over Highland for nearby communities such as Lehi and Cedar Hills, where they can operate seven days a week.

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

The price of keeping stores closed Sundays may be higher property taxes. The City Council voted in August to raise property taxes by 41 percent to pay for road construction and maintenance. That increase also was postponed by a referendum.

Ritchie has said allowing Sunday business hours wouldn't have replaced the need for property tax revenue.

"I'm happy that the Sunday closing remains intact because I think that it enhances our community," said Rod Mann, who organized the petition to get the issue on the ballot.

Regardless of how people voted, Mann said he believes residents voted their beliefs.

"They all had their reasons, whatever they were, and I think their motives were generally good, whatever side of the issue they voted on," he said.

Contributing: Sam Penrod

Twitter: @FinleyJY

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