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Riverton faces lawsuit over rejection of plasma-donation clinic

Published July 30, 2014 3:50 pm

Courts • Developers allege that the decision was illegal and politically motivated.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Behind closed doors Tuesday night, Riverton city officials discussed strategies for dealing with a lawsuit brought by a company denied its request to locate a plasma donation clinic in the southwest Salt Lake Valley municipality.

Developers behind the plan filed the complaint last week in 3rd District Court claiming rejection of the application to build a plasma-collection clinic was illegal and politically motivated.

The lawsuit was spurred by the City Council's 3-1 vote earlier this month to reject the proposal from BioLife Plasma Services, a subsidiary of Baxter Healthcare Corp., to locate its clinic at 13503 South Hamilton Road (3600 W.) in Riverton.

The site is zoned commercial, and according to the city's zoning requirements, can house "physicians, dental and other professional medical offices" and "medical clinics," according to the lawsuit.

The complaint claims the decision was "erroneous, arbitrary, capricious [and] illegal."

In February, when the proposal was discussed, several residents spoke against BioLife Plasma. They raised concerns that having a medical center close to their schools and homes would be dangerous.

An online petition started by residents currently has 67 signatures. It claims that a business paying for plasma will invite "loitering, increased crime, homeless people, drugs" and result in "lower home values."

The lawsuit alleges that the council's denial, which was counter to city staffers' determination that the clinic was a permitted use and the approval of the planning commission, resulted from "fear of public clamor."

Bruce Baird, BioLife Plasma's attorney in the case, could not immediately be reached.

Jeff Hawker, spokesman for Riverton, said because the lawsuit has been filed, the city could not comment.