Layton citizens hit with dueling voter guides
A voter information pamphlet opposing two ballot propositions in Layton is bringing complaints from supporters who believe the pamphlet looks too similar to the city's own voter guide distributed weeks ago.
The "updated" voter information pamphlet hit Layton city doorknobs Friday to disperse more of the opposition's perspective to Propositions 2 and 3, which deal with development of 107 acres in the west part of this Davis County city.
City officials hope to amend Layton's general plan to allow a walkable, mixed-use village center on land owned by the LDS Church. The church has said it won't develop the property, but opponents fear more apartments, higher density, increased crime and the pollution and traffic that come along with an influx of population.
Friday's flier bore a striking resemblance to the "official" voter information pamphlet that the city sent out weeks ago, and that fact has advocates up in arms.
"Apparently the original version wasn't good enough, so they felt they needed to provide their own," said Layton business consultant Chad Harward, part of an advocacy group called Residents for West Layton Village.
"Our biggest issue was that they made it look and feel like the original," Harward said, "with an intent to deceive."
Citizens for Responsible Growth in Layton, a group fighting against the Village Center plan that gathered enough signatures to get the propositions on the ballot, compiled and distributed the pamphlet "with the help of hundreds of Layton citizens walking it door to door over the past two days," the group posted Saturday on its website, voteagainst2and3.com.
Harward charged that some of the opposition's arguments were theoretical, fear-based and "skewed some of the data dramatically to support their positions."
"We know this land will be developed," Harward added. "The village center [plan] allows us to have some influence on what that looks like."
Tom Day, a farmer and spokesman for Citizens for Responsible Growth in Layton, said that the city, from the beginning, has failed to listen to residents on this issue.
"We don't want high-density commercial in a rural setting where it totally does not fit," Day said.
Faulting the "official" pamphlet for being more opinion than fact, the opposition group said it also has an opinion on the Village Center plan, referring to it as radical change for a city that still has pastures and farms within its boundaries.
The updated pamphlet was the group's attempt to get more of its message out to the public, its website said.
In a statement posted on the city's website, officials decried the group's flier as being "confusingly similar" to the official pamphlet, clarifying that it came from the opposition group and not from them.
The city website also said that residents had complained about the group's flier and information regarding their complaints had been forwarded to the lieutenant governor's office.
Day said opponents stand by their flier "in every way."
"This is just one more way the city is trying to silence us," Day added
The group printed 18,000 pamphlets and distributed most of them late last week, Day said.
The city has posted links to the official and updated fliers, giving interested voters a chance to peruse them both before they cast their votes Tuesday.
On the ballot in Layton
Proposition 2 • The Layton City Council adopted a new zoning district, regulating the process and requirements for a "Village Center." The code details the requirements that a developer of property must comply with to develop in this zone. The "form-based" zoning code provides the property owner a guide to developing a mix of uses, including single-family and multi-family housing units, civic spaces, retail, offices, schools, trails and parks, all within a walkable area. The property owners may choose whether to use the zone. The City Council action will become effective if approved by the voters.
Proposition 3 • Layton City Council approved an amendment to the General Plan allowing for adoption of a "Village Center Plan" code, which will provide for a mix of uses, including single-family and multi-family housing units, civic space, retail, offices, schools, parks and trails, all within a walkable area. The plan applies to 140 acres of private property located in the west part of Layton City. The City Council action will become effective if approved by the voters.