Judgment of Provo City Council questioned

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    By AMY FOX

    A group calling themselves “Concerned Families of Provo” got what they wanted because of a decision made by the Provo City Council Tuesday night.

    The Council voted to continue the re-zoning of 51 acres of land, including the Seven Peaks golf course, for a proposed housing development. The decision came after two weeks of negotiation on the development agreement. Both the city and the developers agreed it still needed more tweaking, Councilmember Greg Hudnall said.

    “Residents are up in arms,” said Jeff Hunt, spokesman for “Concerned Families of Provo”. He said residents of the neighborhood directly west of the area proposed for the Seven Peaks development were not given adequate notice.

    “We bent over backwards, we’ve spent hours and hours talking about this in a public forum,” Hudnall said.

    Hunt said the group of residents is considering a lawsuit against the city based on inadequate studies on the issue.

    “There needs to be scientific studies of traffic and air pollution from someone other than the developer,” Hyer said. She said the two week continuation was good but the city will need more time to take a closer look at the issues.”

    Hunt said one concern the group has with the Council’s ability to make a decision is that four councilmembers received campaign contributions from the Seven Peaks developers.

    Mark Hathaway, Paul Warner, David Rail and Greg Hudnall were all named as having received contributions from developers Brent or Scott McQuarrie.

    Dave Knecht, the city’s area representative for the eastern neighborhoods said it is common practice for developers to contribute to campaigns and he feels it is a conflict of interest.

    “I had donations from three of four builders, but I had more from people living in those neighborhoods,” Hudnall said.

    He said the voting records show that he does not necessarily vote in favor of these developers.

    Hunt said the practice of taking money from these developers is legal but highly immoral and incorrect.

    “When I have taken contributions from people I have always told them I was going to vote in the best interest of the city,” said Councilmember David Rail.

    Rail said the developers had never put undue pressure on him or any of the other council members to vote a certain way because of previous contributions.

    Another concern addressed by “Concerned Families of Provo” is the traffic impact of the proposed development. Hunt said there are many elderly, children and state mental hospital patients in their area and that they fear for the safety of those people.

    “We don’t want to create a problem like there has been on State Street in Salt Lake City on a permanent basis in Provo,” Hunt said.

    “I don’t see any of those extremes as representing the neighborhood,” said Paul Reynolds, neighborhood chair for the area directly west of proposed development.

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