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Residents sue Bountiful City over proposed City Hall location

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Posted at 10:48 PM, Feb 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-08 11:51:12-05

BOUNTIFUL - A group of Bountiful residents has officially filed a lawsuit against the city in hopes of preventing it from tearing down a school building at a historic site.

The Stoker school building itself is not deemed historic, but it's 113 years old and sits on land that's classified as historic.

"It’s the second most important building here in Bountiful,” said Bret Hutchings with Better Bountiful.

Hutchings and others in Better Bountiful accumulated over four-thousand petition votes last month in hopes of gaining the right to vote on whether the school should be torn down.

The City Council has initiated plans to move the current City Hall location to the land where Stoker sits. Better Bountiful supporters are upset with the move since it will destroy the building.

"It's a building that's recognized and loved by our staff, many of them went to school there," said Clint Drake, the Bountiful City Attorney.

Drake said that the City had considered simply moving the new City Hall into the existing Stoker building but that, "the renovations would have cost tens of millions."

The City has two different propositions for what the new property would look like, either rendering with a similar budget of around $16 million. The money won't be coming from future tax dollars, but rather out of current savings account the city has added to over the years.

The money won't be coming from future tax dollars, but rather out of current savings account the city has added to over the years.

Hutchings and others content they don't like the plan for a number of other reasons as well; however, say they never got the chance to vote on whether to go forward with the plans.

The City Attorney's office says that the decision is considered administrative, not legislative, and as a result, is not open to public vote, despite some four-thousand petition signatures.

"We are asking the judge to rule whether the language is administrative or legislative,” Hutching said.

He hopes that the judge may see the written law in a different light and allow residents to vote on the decision this upcoming November. It's a move, however, that the City Attorney's Office isn't batting an eye over.

"My experience tells me that you never know how things will end up in court, but I can tell you we wouldn’t be moving forward if we didn’t feel comfortable in our position,” Drake concluded.