Founders of a new "Constitutional Economic Freedom Defense Foundation" say the non-profit organization was formed to help fund litigation when civil rights are violated through local zoning actions.
Hazel Stettler, secretary of the foundation and former member of the Logan Planning Commission, said the new group's first order of business will be educational seminars."We plan to work hard to overturn a 1970 zoning ordinance which has resulted in costly lawsuits and pitted neighbor against neighbor in the county's unincorporated areas," she said.
Two other officers in the Foundation, Leon Savage and Gene Rasmussen, have both served on the planning commission. Logan attorney David Daines, who serves as legal adviser to the group, is representing Thatcher Enterprises of Young Ward in a multimillion dollar lawsuit challenging Cache County's zoning ordinance.
Daines said the growth of the Thatcher family's commercial enterprise in an agricultural zone has been thwarted because of "unnecessary restrictions imposed on the Thatchers through conditional use permits."
The suit has been appealed to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver after being dismissed by U.S. District Judge David Winder.
Although Winder dismissed the suit on other grounds, Daines said, "he told us there are serious problems with the county's zoning ordinances that leave the county open to other litigation."
The lawsuit was filed in May 1987 after Cache County issued the Thatchers a conditional use permit.
The permit, Daines said, "contained 15 pages of conditions which had to be met. These conditions would have crippled the family's plans to expand their retail fabric and wholesale pattern business."
Stettler said the foundation hopes to raise money for Thatchers and others whose property and economic rights have been violated.