Powder Mountain Township Issue Heading to Court - Standard Examiner Article

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Powder Mountain town issue heading to court

Standard-Examiner staff dlewis@standard.net

   OGDEN - Powder Mountain is determined to get a town council and mayor.
   The Powder Mountain petition sponsors filed litigation Aug. 26 against Weber County in the 2nd District Court aimed at getting the county to approve a list of appointees for Powder Mountain government, according to a news release issued Wednesday.
   Powder Mountain spokeswoman Maura Carabello said, "We're asking the judge to order the county to follow the law."
   The lawsuit is based on two sections of the law that allowed Powder Mountain to become a town without input from the county or the citizens being incorporated into the town.
   Carabello said the petition sponsors contend that the county commissioners are required by law to approve a mayor and town from a list of qualified applicants which was approved by the petitioners upon granting the incorporation.
   The first point the sponsors are arguing is that the words "upon granting the incorporation" indicate immediacy, Carabello said.
   With more than a month gone by since the incorporation passed, she said the commission has had plenty of time.
   Carabello said the second point being argued is that the sponsors provided two lists of qualified appointees - qualified is legally defined as being a registered voter and having lived in the town for more than a year - both of which the commission declined to approve.
   Weber County Commission Chairwoman Jan Zogmaister said, "They had their interpretation and we had our interpretation of the law, and we'll go to the courts to decide."
   The fate of the Powder Mountain town council is now up to the courts, Zogmaister said.
   Powder Mountain resident Darla VanZeben, upon hearing of the lawsuit, said, "Am I surprised? Not in the least. Am I disappointed? Of course."
   VanZeben said the county has a fairly good chance of winning the case and believes the issues surrounding Powder Mountain are "far from being over."
   She said even if the county loses, it is a possibility some residents may bring legal action against Powder Mountain.
   The law that allowed Powder Mountain to incorporate has never been completely tested, VanZeben said.
   She said the law is blatantly unfair and inconsistent with the Utah Constitution, and she hopes the judge will interpret the law in favor of the county's position.
   Carabello said she expects to see action in the case within a few weeks.
   "We're just hoping to move this along as quickly as possible and look forward to working with the town and county in the future," she said.
   The news release said the Powder Mountain sponsors do not want special treatment but have gone to court to get a fair judgment.
   But VanZeben is still worried. She said behind the rhetoric of cooperation, it seems the only thing Powder Mountain sponsors want is to run the town without input from many of the residents.
   Nonetheless, the community is determined to work together.
   VanZeben said a potluck dinner at her house last weekend saw a variety of people ranging from proposed mayor Alvin Cobabe, to herself, and with a strict no-politics rule in place everyone had a good time.
   "We're not going to let them ruin us."


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