A Feb. 3 City Council decision that denied a request to rezone property at 700 East and 11400 South for construction of a Harmons supermarket complex with several tenant stores is headed for a court test.
The developers, Johansen-Thackery & Co. and Harmons City Inc., have filed suit in 3rd District Court charging that city officials arbitrarily rejected their rezoning petition for the proposed Draper Gateway Shopping Center.Council members voted 3-2 to deny the rezoning following a public hearing attended by some 80 Draper residents, most of whom turned out to oppose the development of a 24-hour shopping complex in their neighborhood.
Developers were seeking a zoning change from residential to commercial use, and the Draper City Planning Commission had voted 5-0 in favor of the rezoning on Jan. 13.
However, when the petition reached the City Council, it was rejected with council members Melanie Dansie, Paul McCarty and John Shakula voting not to rezone the property. Councilmen Doug Bedke and G. Lyn Kimball cast the opposing votes.
The lawsuit contends that opponents of the zoning change unfairly were given unlimited time to voice their objections while the petitioners' time to address the issue was comparatively limited.
The suit also claims the City Council gave no reason for rejecting the petition.
However, official minutes of the meeting indicate that McCarty entered three reasons for denying the request on the record at the behest of City Planner Paul Glauser.
McCarty said he was concerned that a 71,700-square-foot store open 24 hours a day was not in harmony with the neighborhood commercial use anticipated for the area and noted the size and shape of the property was not conducive to a major development.
The councilman also questioned whether traffic, child and family safety issues raised by the proposed development had been adequately resolved.
In addition, Dansie pointed out that a commercial project also had been approved across the street and said another C-2 zone on 11400 South could lead to development that was not compatible with an adjoining subdivision.
Kimball spoke against denying the rezone request, saying it fits within the land uses projected for the area and reminding council members the planning commission voted 5-0 in favor of rezoning.
Draper resident Sheri Lewis and other residents of the adjacent Camden Park Subdivision vigorously opposed the rezoning, saying they feared the noise and lights coupled with increased traffic would diminish property values.
According to documents filed with the suit, the 24-hour supermarket and tenant stores would generate $2.5 million in sales taxes and $170,000 in property taxes for the city each year.
The developers are asking Judge Frank G. Noel to compel the council to approve the zoning change.
Developer John Thackeray said that when his company was working on the project with city officials and staff last fall, "it was clear they encouraged us to do this project in the city.
"We allocated funds and went to a lot of expense and trouble," he said. "Then they had a change in city officials (in the election) who decided not to abide by their ordinances, and the way things had been run in the past."