A court battle may be in sight for Highland residents angered about a decision to allow an electrical company to plan power lines along U-92 and 6000 West.
A so-called Prudent Power Coalition is mounting opposition to what they say will be an "industrial corridor" down one of Highland's main arteries. They also want a change in city codes mandating how city officials arbitrate permit deals with utility companies.Utah Power, however, has said the company jumped through all the legal hoops necessary to gain approval from the Planning Commission.
A December vote to grant Utah Power a conditional-use permit was met with fierce opposition by the residents' group at a meeting last week. Citizens clamoring for a re-vote say they weren't properly notified of the proposal.
The city's board of adjustments declined to overturn the decision in a 2-1 vote.
Some 100 residents have signed a petition against the plan to upgrade and add power poles and lines in the area and have retained attorney Bruce Baird to fight the granting of the permit.
Christopher Howden and Lynn Anderson lead the coalition's outcry.
"We realize we are fighting an 800-pound gorilla," Howden said. "However, we feel the city has a moral obligation to say, `We're sorry. We made a boo-boo.'"
Planning Commission members insist most residents within 300 feet were sent information by mail and a public advertisement was published in a local newspaper at least 14 days before the meeting.
That's not enough. All who have paid impact fees and money for building permits should be told, Howden said. And on those grounds, Anderson argues, the case should be reheard by the panel.
"There were some people who didn't get the notification card. Some of those were new people moving into a subdivision west of 6000 West. That really affects them," Anderson said.
Anderson also believed the issue would be presented to the City Council for final consideration after the Planning Commission cast votes. To his dismay, he found city codes give the planning panel final say with such decisions.
"My eyes have been opened," he said. "It's been a real circus. So what if it went back to the Planning Commission. It's not like we're asking for anything illegal. It would just take a little more time. They aren't making an effort to address the issues."
Legal counsel retained by the group has advised them that most cities in Utah County typically reserve final authority for the city council, Howden said.